Vickers Valetta
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02.12.2023 03:50

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02.12.2023 02:11

Canadair CL-41 "Tutor"

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Kawasaki C-2

30.11.2023 01:20

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29.11.2023 21:23

Curtiss Eagle

29.11.2023 17:07

Fairchild C-123 Provider

29.11.2023 00:58

28.11.2023 22:08

Tony L Walsh, e-mail, 29.08.2023 21:01

I was on a trip in 1952 with the Examining Wing whilst serving in the RAF stationed at CFS Little Rissington, I recall (I'm ninety now so bear with me☹️) I used to have the actual itinerary of the trip, it was about 15 weeks and we covered a lot of territory in that time , in some. places we had to stay in Hotels, Calcutta India was one such where we stayed at the Great Eastern Hotel, where I had my first ever taste of curry, loved it , I have some photographs of the Valetta which we flew in, I do remember that the
C.O. on that trip was Sqd Ldr Alistair Mackey. I wonder if there is anyone still around who were at CFS in that era.

Anonymous, 25.06.2023 21:53

Joe de Hoop 07973348968
Served in 3 Para '53 to '57 & I'm looking to buy a model Valetta - anyone know of a source - apart from the DIY plastic models !!
Many thanks & for the above reading

Diana Newson, e-mail, 27.10.2020 00:33

Hello Geoff, I think my father must have known yours and the name Milner rings a bell. Dad was Flt/Lt "Joe" Douglas and was in Changi 1958 to 1961, with about 8 months in Katunayake, Ceylon, (mid 1958 to April 1959) flying supplies to Gan during the building of the runway. When we returned to Singapore Dad used to fly the VIP Valetta all round the Far East. Dad died in 2007 aged 80.


David Nuttall, e-mail, 12.10.2017 11:51

I was permanent staff at Abingdon late 56 to 58. we jumped Valletta Hastings conversion to Yankee packet C119 Beverly and trial jumps at Abingdon not Weston in French (nord atlass for the ill fated Suez fiasco.Can anyone remember these times

Bill (Blue) Lomax, e-mail, 18.08.2017 11:47

John Lowe, 17.05.2017 Has it wrong the Valetta had only one port side exit and held 20 Para's 9,10,11,and 12 were sat over the Spar, Number's 13 to 20 missed out going over the Spar Blue Ex P.C.A.U. Staff and 1 Para

Richard Joyce, e-mail, 12.08.2017 22:39

First flight I ever took was from Abingdon in a Valetta I didn't land in it tho' ,landed at Weston on the green by parachute, ex 1 para.

james henderson, e-mail, 21.07.2017 15:11

I was national Service and sent to RAF Fayid (canal Zone)
I was made up to Corporal as I was in charge of Mail (Government, Diplomatic Troops}
December 1954 I had a terrific amount of Troops mail for UK.
Troops mail had priority over all other loads
I had to off load 6 passengers going home UK Christmas leave
to take them off because the plane would be overloaded
You can imagine the names I was called, Sorry boys--The mail has to go through Jim 2556756

John Lowe, e-mail, 17.05.2017 14:13

Hi,i did two parachute jumps from the valetta in June 1957on course 446 at Abingdon.If you were in the last three to jump in either stick you had to climb over the spar at the rear end.By the time you got over with all your equipment the man in front was going out of the exit.Ilater joined 1 Para.Happy exciting times John.

James Henderson, e-mail, 22.04.2017 23:49

For Changing (bloody predictive text) read Changi....

James Henderson, e-mail, 22.04.2017 23:46

In 1963 I was flown from RAAF Butterworth, Malaysia to RAF Changing in Singapore.
The Captain was Flt Lt Luby......Altitude... 9,500 ft...., 22.02.2017 03:14

Stationed at RAF Abingdon Jan 1952/53, I recall doing guard duty on a Valetta that crashed at Cowley, Oxford during that period - I believe that one engine was shut down and a prop feather was carried out on the operating engine.
This incident does not appear in any of the accident reports for the Valetta aircraft - Can anyone else recall this ?

ian d forrest, e-mail, 29.03.2016 23:01

happy days these are memories never to be forgotten.

happy days never to be forgotten both in changi and in shawbury in the uk. still looking for some of my mates back in 55 to 57 asf

Ken Johnson, e-mail, 15.03.2016 14:23

I was stationed at RAF Abingdon Jan 1952 to July 1954. I remember on one occasion a Valetta (presumably of 24 Squadron) had difficulties on take-off and having to fly around the airfiel buring off fule before landing safely. Does anyone have any info on this - purely out of interest.

ANTHONY HICKMAN, e-mail, 18.01.2016 01:54


mick (taffy)Payne, e-mail, 03.01.2016 16:45

Nice to read all the comments on this site ,I`m ex 1para never used the Valetta but would like to build a model , iff there is anyone out there with a plan of about 50inch. span connact by e-mail . Many thanks.

DEREK MASON, e-mail, 20.10.2015 22:22

I was also at Dishforth along with George Langfield 1951/2.
A great station, terrific friends, very good officers.
We all had our trips to Malta and Tripoli as supernuminary crew and really enjoyed them. We did not travel in luxury and the health and safety brigade would nowadays have kittens but we knew our planes were properly serviced and would get us back home. Wish I had stayed in the R A F
Great job, wonderfull times what an experience.Regards to
George Langfield and anyone else who was there at that time.

Tommy Taylor, e-mail, 25.07.2015 23:38

My Dad , Tommy Taylor, was stationed on Valetta aircraft in Egypt .... end of WW2.

Les Harris, e-mail, 21.04.2014 11:13

Ref Valletta WJ494 -
I attended this crash. Details were printed in the Singapore Straits Times dated 23rd. February 1954 and further details are available from the Aviation Safety Network web site.

Trev Keene, e-mail, 01.04.2014 01:29

Mate of mine was in the RAF, Alan Gatford, now 79 years old worked on the flying pig. He emigrated to New Zealand at 72. Does anybody out there know him?

Barry Dawson, e-mail, 05.03.2014 13:04

I was in Air Traffic Control at Fayid (Suez Canal Zone) from 1951 to 1953. We had five squadrons of Valettas,70,78,114,204 and 216. Towards the end of my service, 114 Squadron became a V.I.P. carrier and moved to RAF Kabrit and 204 was disbanded but immediately re-formed as 84 Squadron.

Alan Stirrup, e-mail, 25.01.2014 19:32

My Father, Ronnie Stirrup, survived the wreck of WJ 494 on approach to Changi airport on 21 February 1954. The aircraft developed engine trouble whilst making its final approach, unfortunately the pilot "feathered" the wrong engine causingthe aircraft to lose height, clip trees and break up.

Would anybody know where I can obtain additional information regarding this accident, is it possible that the investigation report is still obtainable and who would I contact?

George Langfield, e-mail, 05.01.2014 21:25

After completing my square bashing at Padgate, I was transferred to Lyneham and given my dream job as an engine mechanic, I was only there few short weeks before, in 1951 - a crisis in Persia (now Iran) cropped up and I was transferred far away from my home in south Wales to Dishforth There I completed my training and was allocated to Valetta DSS (Daily Servicing Section)

I loved my job which entailed the daily servicing of the stations Vallettas Other duties involved refuelling, reoiling, marshalling and tyre and engine checking (mainly for oil leaks) at the end of the runway while they were doing circuits and bumps, As the airfield also flew Hastings, they transferred the Valettas night flying to nearby Rufforth, the first aircraft out took the tyre checkers out and the last one brought them back.

I was fortunate to go as a passenger on a training flight to Tripoli (Libya) in August 1952. Almost exactly a year before, on a similar flight - this time from Malta, One of our Valettas on its way back to Dishforth crashed at Lyneham killing all 10 on board.

My first ever flight was in a Valetta shortly after arriving at Dishforth, I didnt know at the time that it was being flight tested after its major service, it (seemed to) stand on its tail at takeoff, then, after tossing it around one prop was feathered, then shortly after the other was feathered and we landed on the one engine. Quite an experience for my first flight!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dishforth where I specialized in replacing bipod brackets (small brackets which held the exhaust pipes) on the Hercules engines; my least favourite job was replacing the wiring looms on their magnetos. my last job was replacing a Rotol airscrew. Then it was back to my office job in civvy street, Life has never been quite the same since..

Brian Heywood, e-mail, 21.02.2013 13:27

I was an engine mech on 216 squadron 53-55. we had eight Pigs to look after, my memories include getting back to Fayid to find that one wheel refused to lock down, and we all had to take turns to manually pump it down. We were lucky in those days to be able to fly in the co-pilots seat on a journey to places like Pakistan or Aden and looking back I wouldnt have missed it for the world

Doug Stephen, e-mail, 01.02.2013 13:00

I flew as a (first tour) Air Signaller on 52 Sqn at RAAF Butterworth Sept. 1963 to March 1966. 52 was the last Sqn operating the 'pig' in the transport role. We were heavily involved in Borneo during the 'confrontation' with Indonesia mostly supply dropping and short range transport. Happy days for a 20 year-old who was a real innocent abroad. The aircraft were by this time very tired and only the skill of the very experienced aircrew and groundcrew kept us all in one peice! My tour ended co-incidentally with the aircraft being scrapped but what fond memories.

John Waring, e-mail, 09.09.2012 14:32

I served in the 10th Hussars from 1955 to 1957.On several occasions I flew in a Valetta between Cyprus and Aqaba. Many of these flights were quite exciting with extreme turbulence over Sinai. On the 17th April 1952 I was in the advance party leaving Aqaba. We were basically divided into 2 on the basis of surnames. As my surname began with a "W" I was on the 2nd flight. We learned on our journey down to Aqaba from Ma'an that the first aircraft had gone down. We were given the chance to stand down but we all wanted to get back to the UK. The flight to Habbaniya was fairly rough. I often think of those I knew who perished.

Gordon Hopkins, e-mail, 02.07.2012 16:20

I was posted to 30 Sqdn at RAF Abingdon in Jan 1952
Several of the Valletas were in VIP configuration - On return from three months in the Canal Zone I once again joined 30 Sqdn for a short period which at that time had transferred to RAF Benson thus placing the VIP Valletas with the aircraft of the then Queen's flight. From my recollection, they were far more reliable that the Handley-Page Hastings of TCASF which we serviced at RAF Abingdon for the Para Training School,

ian austin, e-mail, 10.04.2012 07:58

I had reason to fly in "pig" in 1954/5 while serving with the RAF at Car Nicobar - very happy days. See photo's on Flickr. 4114681 cpl ian austin

John Lowe., e-mail, 15.01.2012 22:28

HI, I did my parachute jumps at Abbingdon early 1957.Idid two jumps from the Valletta i was 1st out on one and last on the other.The last three had to climb over the spar at the rear.leaving a large gap in the stick.

Frank Muirhead, e-mail, 09.01.2012 21:42

I was on Air Movements at Butterworth & Changi late 1955-56 and worked on the FETW Valettas and flown in them many times, I liked them, apart from the incline of the floor when loading heavy freight, same as the Hastings. I did do one trip to Saigon to change the load (FEAF Band) from a u/s aircraft to it's replacement. All the paperwork for the return flight I done as we flew back.

steve cook, e-mail, 14.11.2011 22:12

I did my sac trade test on a pig at kai Tak 1954 ish. As an airframe mech working on Venoms doing a test on a Valetta was a bit strange. They were a wonderful set of blokes in that hanger, always having a laugh.

zhonghua, 20.06.2011 06:46

tanks and had also fround traces of water in the port engine filter. We did finally arrive back to Egypt in one piece!

ken wallace, e-mail, 26.02.2011 14:49

Ken Wallace. 26.2. 2011
I was a driver in ABU SUEIR,saw off the lads on that York, didnt think it would take off,then got the news it had gone down in Malta,on the 18th.then got a telegram my wife had given birth to a baby "CIRL"!!on the 17th, myself and two others were given a flight home in a valleta, it was supposed to be a training flight,all the other passengers were zobits.there were two windows missing,and when we landed in Marselle the runway was covered in Slushy snow, we took off,and encountered snow clouds over the Channel, as you now we were facing the tail plane, the pilot had to fly down through the cloud to get a fix,as I looked out my window ,Isaw "cloud, cloud, FENCE"!!! To this day,I thank God that I was in a Valleta,because there were no phone homes in those days,I was considered by everybody to have perished at Zurrieg, they even took my wifes headphones away in the hospital, "wemight have called you PIGS but on that day, Iowe my lfe to you"

Geoff Milner, e-mail, 16.12.2010 11:51


Brian Turner, e-mail, 01.12.2010 18:40

I served on Malta Comm Squadron, 1956 to 1958. We had a C1, VW831 and C2, VX574 which was the AOC's aircraft. We were a mixed squadron, having also two Pembrokes, three Beaufighters for target towing and three Meteors, 2 F8's and a T7. Happy times.

Colin Foster, e-mail, 26.07.2010 22:54

Air Movements Nicosia 55-57. Flew out to Mafraq to assist Glubb Pasha and Arab Legion to leave Jordan. Sat in co-pilots seat when pilot got up out of his seat and said, ' Look after it, I'm just going to the back' I didn't know about auto pilot. The signaller sat behind me and couldn't be bothered. Just the three of us in the aircraft. Never ever forgotten about it. I was 18 years of age.

DEREK SINDEN, e-mail, 03.07.2010 02:59

changi 1951 valetta took off stick pulled back parking lock came in ended up in the sea, next we had one with only one leg down ended on the grass not much damage but dropped getting it in to the hangar

Ray Jones, e-mail, 25.06.2010 16:46

In Jan 1957, I was stationed in Hong Kong, Brickhill 6 HAA Bty RA, 27 HAA Regiment RA and was posted to Singapore. I was to fly from Kai Tak to Changi on the Monday, on arrival at Kai Tak having boarded the sircraft we were told the cross wind was to strong for us to take off and we had to return to the Trainsit Camp in Kowloonm, the next day we did take off and flew to Saigon where we were refuelled and given a watery orange drink, after about 90 mins we took off to fly to Singapore, I will never forget the storm over Malaya as we progressed down the eastern coast, eventually landing in RAF Changi, quite and experience I can tell you. From what I recall there were about 13 pax on board mainly offers and their wives.

John Leaning, e-mail, 14.05.2010 22:07

I worked on Valetta's [Pigs] as Airframe Mech, on 114 Sqdn in Eqypt & Nicosia, 1955-1958.
I was the last airman to work on a Valetta,in Iraq in 1957, which crashed over Jordon with the loss of all 27 peaple on board.

Harry Walker, e-mail, 17.02.2010 23:32

I was on 32Fighter Squadron at Deversoir and later Kabrit,we used to use the Valettas from Fayid for flying to Cyprus for APC.In May 1954 we took 4 Vampires and a servicing team of 8 on a goodwill visit to the South African Airforce in Capetown,we the ground crews flew in Valetta No VX506 On the return journey we landed at Salisbury Rhodesia (as it was then), having taken off from there we had been flying for approximately an hour when the starboard engine backfired through the exhaust and the starboard wing stalled. Weamanaged to return to Salisburty on the good engine and landed rather heavily. The Rhodesian Air Force guys said that they would fix it for us, having done this they said that they had got two gallons of water out of the fuel tanks and had also fround traces of water in the port engine filter. We did finally arrive back to Egypt in one piece!

richard faulkner, e-mail, 19.12.2009 09:17

I was a radio operator in the jungle in Malaya 59-60. 1/3 rd East Anglian regiment IPOH Perak.
I used to talk to the Australian pilots during our airdrops. Their voice proceedure was non-existent.

Larry Broadhurst, e-mail, 06.12.2009 18:17

During my tenure with 30 Squadron at RAF Dishforth 1955-1959 we had the two VIP Valetta's which were for the personal use of Sir Winston Churchill.
30 Squadron maintained and operated both of these aircraft.
Once a month the whole squadron, from the CO down, spent a whole day cleaning the aircraft, and using WADPOL to polish the entire surface skin of these aircraft. They were kept in ammaculate condition, at that time I was an SAC Air Wireless Mechanic.

Tim Underhill, e-mail, 27.06.2009 16:35

My memory of the Valetta, yes "pig", was flying from Singapore to Hong Kong in 1955. From our stern-facing seats daylight could be seen between joins in the fuselage. The first leg was to RAF Labuan (a small island off the coast of British North Borneo. The second leg was to Clarke field Air Base in the Philipines (a little America with huge bombers with rearwards-facing propellors lined up nose-to-tail ready to scramble). The third and final leg was to the 'original' RAF Kai Tak/Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong. I was not to fly in a comparable aircraft until my parachute training on Hastings from RAF Abingdon in 1966!

john oliver, e-mail, 28.03.2009 19:30

i knew this aircraft well we maintained the way station at car nicobar in 1953 they came through with suplies evry 2 or 3 days. bases were ceylon malaya etc

David Owen, e-mail, 27.03.2009 18:25

I worked on 'pigs',C1 and T4, on what was known as 1 Squadron at 228 OCU leeming. The T4 was uses as a flying classroom for AI17 training, and they pursued the C1s(Hotly is too strong a word) about the Yorkshire skies. Closely supervised by 'Teepol Tom' Pearson, we kept the noble beasts flying. The Pigs were featured on a cartoon Christmas card,as I remember.

Ken Nutter, e-mail, 20.03.2009 19:16

I was a Gen Instruement mech on these aircraft 1955 -1957 in Abu-suer Eqypt and RAF Nicosia 114 Sgdn. they did have their problems but were a work horse during the Suez crisis. We did para drops of french troops and equipment Landies and small field guns, they were also sent in to pick up bodies the stench was awful.We lost one on take-off tyre burst but crew OK. We also did a lot of leaflet dropping during the IOKA period as well as Air Sea Rescue flights carrying survival kit on the bomb racks " yes they had them". Our other Squadron neighbours were 82 Valettas and 92 Hastings. Whilst I was there Markious was removed from the Island he walked past within 6 feet of us. " Damn it should have got an autograph".

Russell Fenwick, e-mail, 11.02.2009 16:30

The "pig" only had doors on the port side, the fuselage would not have been able to support doors on either side. In fact flying too often without the doors closed, caused undue stresses to the frame. I worked on the "pigs" in Egypt and Aden 1955- 57

Brian Gaunt, e-mail, 13.08.2008 02:34

Hi Philip,
The Valetta had a door on the port side of the fuselage only.I recall seeing Valettas at RAF Leeming in 1957/58 when I was a National Service airframe mechanic serving with No33 Squadron which was equipped with Meteor Mk 14 night fighters.I remember flying down to RAF Waterbeach in a Valetta with other ground crew on detachment from RAF Leeming.We used to refer to the Valettas by their nickname'Pigs'which was quite appropriate with their portly appearance.This was especially so with regard to the Valetta T4 with its long radar nose.

philip pratley, e-mail, 09.03.2008 23:03

i cannot remember...did this aircraft have doors on both sides? main freight door plus passenger on port side and paratroop door on starboard?

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