8 Squadron Hunter Acquisition Project
10 April 2013
The Hunter Arrives
The Hunter has finally arrived outside No. 8 Squadron today. The Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transport Squadron (JARTS) dismantled and loaded the Hunter yesterday at RAF Barkston Heath in preparation for its delivery to the Squadron this morning. The JARTS team expects to have the Hunter fully installed as the new 8 Squadron gate guard by early evening today. Taking longer to arrive than expected is a result of the complexities of moving the old 23 Squadron Phantom gate guard, and preparing the site ready for the Hunter. It was great to see Barry Dobson, who has now left the RAF and was the driving force behind this project, there to witness the installation. The plan to complete the memorial and pathway around the Hunter can now begin.
Applications for personalised bricks, that will be used in a wall surrounding the Hunter, can still be made. For those who have recently applied and paid for a brick, thank you. Due to leave and deployments acknowledgement of receipt will be sent soon.
Barry Dobson's photographs below chronologically record today's events.
21 July 2012
Since moving to the old 23 Squadron building, the F4 Phantom 'gateguard' displayed
outside the Squadron has been in need of replacement with an aircraft relevant to our own heritage. With the disbandment of No. 4 Squadron last year and the impending closure of RAF Cottesmore, one of the station gate guardians, a Hawker Hunter F6A XE606, was put up for disposal. This was deemed to be an ideal and fitting replacement for the Phantom. Saving this historic aircraft from the scrapyard will help to preserve one of the few remaining Hunters for many years to come.
The aircraft has been repainted at RAF Barkston Heath, where it currently resides. It now replicates the airframe belonging to the Sqn Boss
whilst operating out of Aden and now sports the registration XE620. The Phantom has now been sold; therefore, in the near future we will proudly display XE620 outside the Squadron. The Squadron is eternally grateful to Gary Watson and Mick Coombes for painting, Terry Robins for engineering support and Ben Bennett for the cockpit restoration. Without their generous support this would not have been possible. Also, a well deserved thank you goes to FS Barry Dobson and his team for their efforts bringing this to fruition.
Updates for its impending move will appear here.