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Controller's Story of the Comet Interception by 4 Sqn - 3rd July 1956 from Ken Senar

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesKen Senar had been a Sabre pilot on 93 Squadron at Jever, serving alongside 4 Squadron during the previous year before he lost his aircrew category due to migraine.   When Ken read the story of the Comet interception in the 4 Squadron Operations Record Book F540, he sent me the following:

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes"The event appears on page 190 of my life story - "I'll Call You Pod".   [Click to see.]   I didn't know it was 4 Squadron I had under control, only being told by the Chief Controller the aircraft type, working VHF Channel, and call sign.

My Fighter Controller's Log Book entry states:

DATE:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes3 / 7 / 56
TYPE OF EXERCISE:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesEscort
TYPE OF AIRCRAFT AND NUMBERS:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes4 X Hunter
DAY OR NIGHT:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesDay
TIME UNDER CONTROL:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes21 Mins
ALTITUDE x 1000:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes38
SUCC.:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesNil. (Not applicable to this mission)
TYPES OF RUN AND RESULTS:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesEscort duty on Comet. London/Moscow
REMARKS: 1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesDiverted to Wunstorf on 'C' 111.62. (may be 111.42, entry indistinct)
CHIEF CONTROLLER'S INITIALS:1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesRY. (Flt, Lt. Ron Young who was standing in for Flt. Lt. Billing, the usual 'B' Flight
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesCommander,who was away at the time)

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesIf I remember correctly, the Comet was a little behind schedule and my Hunters were getting anxious about fuel, hence the diversion to Wunstorf.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesMy log book, but not ICYP, also records my having had, on 29th July, 1956, a pair of Hunters under control at 42,000ft with which I intercepted, using a head-on quarter attack, a Comet II returning from Moscow to London. This was classed as a very good interception. I had the Hunters under control for 52 minutes - an exceptionally long time.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesIn both instances I clearly recall the Comets being escorted by Migs to/from the East/West border.   They, and my aircraft, came within 20 miles of that border and, according to radio calls could see the Migs.   I could certainly see their plots on my radar.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesTo intercept the Westbound Comet I had to patrol my aircraft up and down the frontier until the Comet crossed over.   I could see the Comet and its escort heading west in the East Zone and it was up to me to time the location of my aircraft to be at the predicted crossing point at the right height and time.   Unless I've missed it in one of the Jever Squadron 540s my aircraft must have come from another base.   [Web master points out that 29Jul56 was a Sunday and since 4 Sqn were not on Battle Flight they were not flying on that date.   93 Sqn left for Sylt on that date.   I have not transcribed the F540s for 98 or 118 Sqns yet - so one of them may have been on Battle Flight duty.]

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe reasons for the Comets being escorted by fully armed 'battle flight' was, I suppose, to 'Show the Flag' because the Russians would be watching us and, importantly, in an emergency, to protect the Comet and take issue with the Migs had they misbehaved.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI was extremely fortunate to be given these tasks because I had only completed serving my probationary period as a Fighter Controller on the 21st of June, just a few days before!

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe radars I would have used may have been a Type 15 and, more probably a Type 14 Lower and a Type 14 Upper.   Heights were obtained from a Type 13.   I remember the response from the Comet being so huge on the Type 15 that the plot formed a full circle on the PPI screen, making it virtually useless for control purposes.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAs far as I can recollect I think these flights were the only two at the time.   I never heard of any more, although I may not have been told."
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