Fighter All Weather (FAW) of the Fleet Air Arm.

That of LAM Roger Bigdon. SAR Diver.
Accident ID 46.

Personal testimony submitted August 2009

I looked again at my notes on that sad night of 9 April 1968, when Lt HJ Williams (P) and Lt C Swann (O) were lost during a practice 'Gloworm' sortie in XS 579 of 899 Sqdn, on RFA RETAINER's splash target in the Java Sea.

I was 'Scrambled' as an SAR Diver at 2130 that night, aboard the first available Anti/Submarine Wessex Mk1 Helicopter of 820 Sqdn to transit to the ditching area, to do whatever I could, (there being no night role for SAR Divers at that time). The seaboat was already there and they had recovered whatever there was still on the surface. I was winched down into it (no mean feat by the helo crew at night) and returned to EAGLE aboard it."

RN SAR divers were a brave breed of men. They were trained to jump out of a helicoptor in the hover to assist the rescue of downed airmen following any catapult launch or deck landing mishap.

© Sea Vixen. All Rights Reserved. Site Designed and Hosted by HTL Group.