Correlation 892 Squadron to HMS Centaur. Last Commission. 1963/1965.
The following video clips are from the Archive of Lt (P) Nick Dunsford RN who has kindly authorised seavixen to display. Nick was a Sea Vixen pilot on this last Commission of Centaur. (more clips to follow)
HMS Centaur 892 Sqn Mk1 Sea Vixen Deck Ops 1964. Content shows prelaunch aircrew manning aircraft. Taxi on and loading to catapult. Catapult Launch. Three Sea Vixens flying over the ship in the slot for recovery. Three approaches and one wave off. One arrested landing and taxi to Fly1. Aircrew leaving the aircraft in Fly 1.
Content shows 892 Sqn aircrew disembarked relaxing between flights. The Air Station (Probably Tengah or Hal Far)
" I recognise Mike McCook- Weir, Neville Featherstone, Phil Searle, Mike Dykes and myself in the clip." (Personal testimony of Kevin Crumplin. 28 December 2013. Observer. 1960/1966 766 Sqn and 892 Sqn)
Re- embarking Landons plus a Gannet
892 Mk 1 Sea Vixen on the Catapult. Clearly visible the Flight Deck Crew attaching the wire launch strop and the firing crew in the pop up Howder.
The Last Commission
"This commission of HMS Centaur October 1963 to December 1964 gained worldwide fame from the Atlantic to the Pacific in that she was involved in the LAKONIA rescue, the Tanganyika and Radfan Uprisings and as the main deterrent to the Indonesian aggression"...from the Ships commissioning book
- 15th November 1963 HMS Centaur commissions at Portsmouth
- 16th to 28th November 1963 Sea Trials
- 21st December 1963 sail from Portsmouth
- Christmas 1963 at Lakonia
- 31st December transit Suez Canal
- 5th to 10th January 1964 Aden
- 10th to 19th January Workup off Aden
- 20th January 1964 embark 45 Commando
- 25th January 1964 landings by the Army and Royal Marines off Dar-es-Salaam. 892 Squadron cover the Tanganyika mutinies. Air Cover was required 400 miles inland
- 30th January to 3rd February 1964 Mombasa
- 12th February to 3rd March Singapore. 892 disembark to RAF Tengah
- 7th March 1964, Singapore display
- 13th to 16th March 1964 Subic Bay
- 16th to 25th March,1964 Workup off Subic Bay
- 27th March to 13th April 1964 Hong Kong
- 15th to 18th April 1964 ORI. (ex High Up)
- 19th April 1964 Pulau Tioman
- 25th to 26th April 1964 Pulau Tioman
- 20th April to 14th May 1964 Singapore
- 22nd to 23rd May 1964 Aden . 892 Sqn in Ground Attack Role (Radfan tribemen in revolt)
- 2nd to 16th July 1964 Madras
- 8th to 13th July 1964 Ex Buttercup
- 11th July 1964. Sea Vixen Lost. Both Crew Killed. ID 10.
- 15th to 24th July 1964 Singapore. (Singapore Riots and Curfews)
- 24th July to 6th August 1964 Ex Fotex
- 7th to 11th August 1964 Singapore
- 11th to 14th August 1964 Ex Jadex
- 15th August to 1st September 1964 Singapore
- 1st to 11th September 1964 patrol East Coast Malaysia. Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia. 892 at alert5 on the Catapult in great heat after Soekarno’s Indonesian paratroops land in Straits of Johor.
- 12th to 13th September 1964 Pulau Tioman
- "We envy HMS Victorious sailing to Fremantle Australia after a rugged 3 months alongside in Singapore" (from ships Commission Book)
- 14th to 17th September 1964 Singapore
- Japan visit cancelled
- 25th September to 12th October 1964 Hong Kong. 892 disembarks to Kai Tak for 19 days.
- 17th to 19th October 1964 Subic Bay Philippines
- 29th October to 2nd November 1964 Singapore. “HMS Victorious back in harbour Singapore and we cover for her patrol work with Indonesian confrontation”
- 2nd to 16th November 1964 Anti Invasion Patrol of Malaysia.
- 17th to 25th November 1964 Singapore
- 4th to 6th December 1964 Aden
- 13th December 1964 transit Suez Canal. Loitered a week for HMS Eagle to transit Suez Canal to hand over the station. 892 disembarkation to RNAS Yeovilton cancelled due fog at Yeovilton.
- 892 Squadron disembark in Bay of Biscay to RNAS Yeovilton one week later.
- 21st December 1964 arrive Portsmouth.
- Christmas 1964 in UK.
- 8th April 1965 sail from Portsmouth to Gibraltar
- 12th to 13th April 1965 Gibraltar
- 12th to 22nd April 1965 Workup off Gibraltar and Malta
- 23rd April to 5th May1965 Malta
- 892 Sqn disembark to RNAS Halfar. Probably the last Sqn to do so before the base closes.
- 6th to 10th May 1965 Naples. (892 Sqn not on board)
- 15th to 19th May Malta. HMS Eagle in Grand Harbour at the same time
- 24th to 28th May 1965 Istanbul
- 29th may 1965 Izmir
- 3rd to 10th June 1965 Ex Aigrette
- 6th June 1965 Palma Bay Balearics
- 11th to 26th June 1965 Gibraltar
- 5th to 19th July 1965 Gibraltar
- 892 Sqn disembark to RNAS Yeovilton and display for HMS Centaur at all the next port visits
- 20th to 25th July 1965 Lisbon
- 30th July to 5th August 1965 Belfast
- 6th to 12th August 1965 River Clyde, Scotland to prepare for Royal Review.
- 10th August 1965 Fleet Review by HM the Queen in the Royal Yacht Britannia
- 13th to 18th August 1965 Liverpool
- 20th August 1965 Arrive Portsmouth
- 27th September 1965 End of Commission and end of the service life for HMS Centaur.
- 892 Sqn disembarked to RAF Tengah (Singapore) 5 times, Hong Kong (Kai Tak) twice, Nairobi (Embakasi), Malta (RNAS Halfar), RAF North Front Gibraltar twice, and home base RNAS Yeovilton.
- From the Captains Log. "Since the 1st Commission in 1953, 42 Officers and men have died in the service of HMS Centaur to the Country."
Notes: (from 892 Sqn diaries)
"Disembarkation to shore airfields, while the ship is self maintaining (SMP) is one of the happier facts of squadron life enabling most of the aircrew and a sizeable proportion of the ratings to "get away from it all" and live a life of relative comfort. This period helps us keep in flying practice and get in some much needed maintenance free of ships routines and duties."
892 Sqn re-equip with the Mk2 Sea Vixen early 1966.
Any member holding any HMS Centaur Commissioning books prior to 1963 please contact sea vixen.