Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

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Mad Dan
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Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Mad Dan »

Having had my interest stirred by a private message, I thought I'd put up a few examples of the Wessex in Royal Navy service, so here goes...

The first is indeed the first... This is XL727, the lead ship of a trio of pre-production examples of the HAS.1. It had definitely seen better days when I photographed it on a very gloomy day at Halton where it was being used as an instructional airframe. From the look of it, I doubt if it survived too much longer, but haven't tried to check on its ultimate fate.

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Another example of the HAS.1, albeit in much better condition. XP158 from the training unit at Culdrose took part in the show at Brawdy in August 1968. Sorry for the lack of unit data on this selection, but I haven't got time to check right now, so if anyone can add more info, feel free to do so...

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Also at Brawdy in August 1968, HU.5 XT474 in the original 'sand-and-spinach' colour scheme. I believe this example was assigned to 847 Squadron at Culdrose at that time.

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Yeovilton was another base that had a long association with the Wessex. Seen at the 1969 air day, this is HU.5 XS514 from HMS Bulwark, also in 'sand-and'spinach'.

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By 1973, the original colour scheme was little more than a memory, with the HU.5 fleet having changed to what was basically a dark green overall finish. The 1973 air tattoo at Greenham Common featured HU.5 XT475, also from 847 squadron (I think...) which by this time was based at Yeovilton.

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Ark Royal's SAR bird, XS880, in September 1970...

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Another SAR specialist, XM326 from Portland was a participant in the 1972 helicopter meet which took place at Lee-on-Solent (but you should have seen the German Navy Choctaws!!!).

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HU.5 XT476 was assigned to 846 Squadron when it appeared at a Middle Wallop show complete with missile armament. My knowledge of anti-armour missiles leaves a bit to be desired, but it looks as if this is carrying two different types - one of which might be an SS.11.

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An HU.5 in a very different and most attractive light green and white colour scheme, XT770 is seen at Yeovilton's air day in 1975. It was clearly being used as an 'Admiral's barge', but I can't recall which admiral... It definitely wasn't Horatio Nelson, that much I do know...

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Two years later, the airfield attack that invariably closed Yeovilton shows in fine style featured plenty of Wessex action. Here, five of them lift after probably inserting troops while four others lurk in the distance, awaiting their turn to appear before the crowd.

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A HAS.3 from Portland in the static display at Yeovilton in August 1979.

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By the time of the next show at Yeovilton in 1980, the Wessex was fast becoming even more drab, as evidenced by HU.5 XT453 in an overall grot scheme, with black Royal Navy titles and code letter, but lacking unit badges. A real contrast from how they started out...

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The Wessex HU.5 was still in evidence in the 1984 Yeovilton show, but was nearing the end of its operational career, with the Commando/Sea King having entered service as a replacement. HU.5 XT765 still looks pretty sprightly as it swoops in to deposit troops during the set piece - which yet again featured that ghastly pink smoke...

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The end of the road...but useful to the last. Quite a few examples of the Wessex probably wound up on fire dumps. HAS.3 XM927 at Shawbury in 1996 is typical and still displays evidence of service at Portland.

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The RAF also made extensive use of the Wessex and I'll close with just one from the junior service. This is XV732 of the Queen's Flight/32 Squadron at Northolt. If my memory isn't playing tricks, it was taken when the Wessex was retired from Royal duty in 1995.

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Riessen2
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Riessen2 »

Beautiful set of photos's 'Mad Dan'. Keep them coming and maybe I can jump in with one or two pics.

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Mad Dan
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Mad Dan »

No problem, Riessen2 - no problem at all...but remember we're talking Wessex here, not Choctaw. I'm saving those for another day!!!
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capercaillie
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by capercaillie »

Love the old Wessex, particularly fond of the HAS3s in the old scheme before they went grey :shock: Just wish I was a bit older to have seen some of the best years.

When you see all of the unmarked pooled aircraft nowadays in their monochrome schemes :sad: just makes you realise how varied not just for types, but types within types it was back then. Cheers for posting MD :clap:

Look forward to seeing some of the earlier tester schemes. :wink:

Former A&AEE HU5, can't remember its designation at the time, at Yeovilton in 1992
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RAF 2FTS HC2 from Shawbury at Yeovilton in 1993
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FAA Museum HU5 or is it HAR5?
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And you can't leave out the RAF rescue workhorse 22sqn HC2, at Finningley in 1991
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Riessen2
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Riessen2 »

XR517/N of 60 sqn at Twenthe in September 1994.
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XT672/X of 72 sqn at Abingdon in July 1967.
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XV728/W of 18 sqn at Odiham in May 1970.
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Enjoy them,
D. Lohuis

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capercaillie
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by capercaillie »

Thats a lovely shot of that old 72sqn bird :clap:
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Dollar99
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Dollar99 »

I remember a Queens Flt Wessex landing on my old primary school football pitch back in 1972 with a Royal visitor to our village. The previous year a Navy Wessex coded PT landed at my then school as part of a demo. I think that one was a mobile recruiting/demo aircraft but I never got a shot.

However why post 9 Wessex pictures when you can post one pic of 9 Wessex?

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And this is a real oldie from a Portland open day

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iainpeden
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by iainpeden »

That very first picture - a silver Vulcan?! oops, wrong thread.
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by stickshaker »

1979 or 80 I think.

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SKYRAIDER
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by SKYRAIDER »

Love the wessex, what a fantastic collection of photos showing various marks and colour schemes, they do bring back memories of places such as portland, lee on solent and culdrose to name a few,
big thanks for showing all of these,
Rob

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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by eng3 »

Hope you don't mind a couple from me.

'Crab' rescue - zapped at Lossiemouth 1994.
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This one was there as well.
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Prince Charles' 1985 visit to Auchenharvie (Stevenston in Ayrshire).
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Heading away.
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Ben Montgomery
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Ben Montgomery »

Mad Dan wrote:The end of the road...but useful to the last. Quite a few examples of the Wessex probably wound up on fire dumps. HAS.3 XM927 at Shawbury in 1996 is typical and still displays evidence of service at Portland.

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There is stil the fuselage of an RN Wessex at Shawbury now, in dark grey and red colouring. It is way out on the far side of the airfield, but i cant see it on Google maps.

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Wrexham Mackem
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Wrexham Mackem »

What a lovely thread, the Wessex had bags of character. A small contribution from me:

1986, at the Fighter Meet:
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1985, picking up the Royal Marines para team at Church Fenton:
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1985 again, the old camo still soldiering on, at IAT:
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and note the odd spelling 'RESQUE' on this one at Farnborough in 1988:
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I regret I don't have many shots of the 2FTS machines from Shawbury, probably only a handful in my collection, yet used to see them often.
its time to kick the tyres and light the fires

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RobS
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by RobS »

Manston 1983, parked close to the fence!
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Rob

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AMB
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by AMB »

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Second prototype XL728 was upgraded from a HAS.1 to an HC.2 so became a Mk.1/2 hybrid with RAE seen here at Farnborough Sept 1972

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Another RAE Wessex was this HAS.1 XM330 seen leading the parade of fire vehicles at Farnborough September 1972 also.

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Rare shot of HC.2 XS678 in desert camo. on loan to the Sultan of Oman's Air Force at Salalah in May 1974.

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I took this from the right-hand seat of another Wessex HC.2 whilst flying with 28 Squadron in Hong Kong, June 1980

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A few months later and they decided that there were so many helicopters flying among the hills in Hong Kong that it was
becoming dangerous with a few near-misses, so they painted conspicuity white stripes on them.This is XT605 of 28 Sqn.
doing a resupply mission to the Army in September 1980.
Adrian

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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Blackbird »

One from RIAT 98 - 72 Sqn
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Century of Flight exhibition at RIAT 03
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Farnborough 82 (not the greatest quality image)
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Andy :smile:

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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Teamafcukyeah »

Some great shots there all.

Any of XS507? Ex Portland?

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Fanakit
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Fanakit »

Hello
Thanks all for your pics
as I'm a french spotter I've rarely seen the Wessex so I can show you only 2 :
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if you want the pics in highter res : http://fanakit.free.fr/westland_wessex/ ... essex.html
Ivan

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Nikon John
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Nikon John »

Just a few from Fairford 93

Originally shot on Nikon FA with K64.

XR529 -72 Sqd
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XR588 - 22 Sqd
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XV722 - 2ndFTS
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If the thread keeps going, I`ll dig further back.

Some great rarities here, thanks for sharing.

NJ
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hedgerowops
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by hedgerowops »

What a great thread some cracking shot's of the wessex i can look at these all night.
Chris :clap:

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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by SCARECROW 451 »

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Here's the one on Shawbury's dump now.

Sorry bout quality it was off my mobile

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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by IanH »

Eccles; you are a star. Great post again. Keep going mad. Best wishes, Ian

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MikeH
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by MikeH »

I've been a bit lazy in the scanning department lately but here's a couple of RAE jobs and a fairly recent one from Leuchars:-

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AMB
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by AMB »

This is a somewhat elusive Wessex HU.5, XT762 of RAE Bedford seen there on 6th October 1983.
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Does anyone know what the apparatus on the nose was used for?
Last edited by AMB on Sat 20 Dec 2008, 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Adrian

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Mad Dan
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Re: Wessii - is that the plural of Wessex?

Post by Mad Dan »

That's odd... I could've sworn Bedford's Wessex was XT762, which was an HU.5!

As for the appendage, I believe it may have something do with not having a sand wedge in the bag of clubs...

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