aircraft chosen was XX894. (A Gulf war
veteran.) Painted in high gloss navy blue,
also in identical markings to those illustrated
on the Limited Edition Print (even down
to the code on the nose '020') she was
a credit to the lads in the paint shop.
Many a tear fell as the final 'Diamond
nine' flypast, of which '894' was a member,
took place at Lossiemouth during the 'FAREWELL
BUCCANEER' weekend held on the
26th-27th March 1994.
Flying over the once naval airfield in
those splendid Royal Navy colours, obviously
brought back many memories for the specially
invited guests, many of which had served
with the Navy and had travelled great
distances to see these venerable aircraft
fly for the last time.
The final flight of the 'Navy Jet' (as
it was, by now affectionately known),
was to become even more historic, as the
last man ever to fly XX894, was none other
than the 'Boss' himself, Wg Cdr Nigel
Huckins, the Officer Commanding 208 squadron.
The aircraft, callsign 'Blackburn Last
Of The Few', took-off from RAF Lossiemouth
at 0900 hrs on the 7th April 1994 lead
aircraft of four Buccaneers. All in-bound
to RAF St Athan in Wales.
Wg Cdr Huckins and Flt Lt JJ Parsons at
the helm of this very British jet, knowing
only to well they were taking the 'old
lady' on her last flight. A last flight
of many. After all....It was not so long
ago when XX894 thundered along the runway
at Muharraq, Bahrain, to make her contribution
in Operation Granby'. (An element of 'Desert
Storm.') A full war load slung beneath
her, ready to spike targets, not only
for the Tornado GR-1's but for herself.
Self designating a 1000 lb LGB (Laser
Guided Bomb) on at least one occasion.
approach to St Athan, wheels down lights
ablaze. 'The Navy Jet', first of the four
Buccaneers to land, touched down at 1020
hrs to a mass of press and a film crew,
all ready to record the historic moment.....
As history was made once more, the four
Buccaneers, XV352, XW527, XX899 and of
course XX894, on an incredibly wind swept
St Athan dispersal, taxied-in, lined-up
adjacent to one another and simultaneously
shut down their engines for the last time.
The ear-splitting thunder of the eight
Rolls Royce Spey Mk 101 Turbo fans reluctantly
winding down in harmony, ending with their
usual high pitched whine, will, I'm sure
remain with the eight aircrew, the numerous
ground crew and myself for many years
to come. As
the turbo fan blades came to their inevitable
stop. The aircrew posed for pictures,
and gave interviews to the local television
news team, to be shown later that evening.