The Blackburn Buccaneer was originally designed in the 1950s for the Royal Navy and was to be operated from their aircraft carriers. It entered Royal Navy service in 1962 and was operated in the low-level anti-shipping role using conventional or nuclear weapons and later more advanced anti-shipping missiles.
When the Royal Navy retired the last of their large aircraft carriers in 1978, they began using the smaller V/STOL-capable Sea Harrier and passed the Buccaneer on to the Royal Air Force.
During the 1991 Gulf War, Buccaneers took part in combat operations alongside the Tornado. The Buccaneer carried a laser designator pod and would mark the target which would be attacked by a Tornado using laser-guided bombs. The Buccaneers flew 218 missions during the Gulf War, in which they designated targets for other aircraft, and also dropped 48 laser-guided bombs.
The Buccaneer was finally retired in 1994 and the Tornado took over the RAF's maritime strike role, using the Sea Eagle missile.
From the home of Cold War Jets aircraft, Bruntingthorpe, came the anniversary of the retirement of Royal Air Force Buccaneers. Twenty five years ago, Buccaneers were giving their final hurrah in Active Service and 25 years on the old girls are still performing.
Aircraft at the Bruntingthorpe Event:
|XS235||de Havilland Comet|
|WT333||English Electric Canberra|
|XM715||Handley Page Victor|
All these aircraft were laid out beautifully on the pan allowing photographers and enthusiasts alike the opportunity to get up close and personal with these beautiful pieces of History. These are opportunities that photographer's don't really get very often with active aircraft such as these, and is one of many reasons to recommend going to a Cold War Jets Open Day or an aviation event hosted at Bruntingthorpe.
However one run is never enough and I do wish they would do at least two or three, but as is the case money takes over and there simply isn't enough money to do as many runs as they want.
After the live runnings were completed the buses allowed us to go back to watch the engine shutdown.
Unfortunately I missed the bus first time round so I didn't see the engine shutdown and that was my only criticism of this event, was the lack of buses from the runway, which is no fault of TBAG, but that of Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome themselves.
What I found especially great about the event was the amount of veterans and how approachable they were, signing my prints and being really engaging and telling all sorts of stories. This was certainly the case at the end of the event where we had a talk from Keith Breadmore who was presenting a personal recollection of his time with 208 Squadron. His presentation was so insightful, with a touch of humour when talking about the first ever foreign participation at Red Flag.
With that all said and done, what a marvelous day, which was truly memorable, and certainly I can't recommend Bruntingthorpe and all the Cold War jets highly enough. If you ever get the opportunity to go to an event hosted by one of the groups then i recommend that you take it and i am sure you won't regret it.
Review and photographs by Cody Froggatt.