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

Out of Africa


While CO of 892 squadron, Sea Vixen Mk1s, and on board HMS Ark Royal I had to go back to the UK to pick up two “live” Firestreak  air-to-air missiles, why, I forget. My Observer on this occasion was Lt. “Kernel” Kitchen.  The ship was about 60 miles off the North African coast not far from Bone.  We were launched and climbed to 40,000 feet and settled down in a cruise climb. The magic of the trip was that there wasn’t one cloud in the sky. We had a beautiful panorama of the whole western Mediterranean Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Isles and the southern area of France. We continued over France, again with not a cloud, and across the English Channel. As it was RNAS Yeovilton’s Air Day I gave them an early call and I was slotted in to touch down between two events, so that we got a bit of publicity for 892 Sqn in particular and the FAA in general.

Needless to say, none of the media published the correct facts.

The journey, a distance of 880 miles, took 1 hour 54 minutes from launch to landing.  On July 1 we flew back to Gibraltar, carrying the two Firestreaks, a distance of 910 miles in 2 hours 2 minutes. We went direct, through Spanish air space, as I did not think they would notice us, it was siesta time.

personal statement of Cdr (F) David "Shorty" Hamilton RN.
October 10th 2013. 

Editors Note: Cdr (F) David "Shorty Hamilton is a major contributor to this web site. His contributions have been greatly valued because they can be considered as Level 1 documentary evidence.
Other links credited to him are listed below:

Early Deck Landing Trials
World First. Launch and Recovery during RAS. Gallery. 


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