by Robert Trowern


Nimrod XV255 at Boscombe Down in July 1990. [Photo: Ray Deacon]


In December 1974, I was the captain of Nimrod Mk1, XV255. At the time I was a Squadron Leader on No. 42 Sqn and with my crew were on a two month detachment based at Tengah, Singapore. We arrived at Darwin in the dark at, as far as my memory serves me, around 2300 local time on 26th December. We needed fuel to return to Tengah but that at Darwin was all contaminated. The obvious place for us to refuel to return to Singapore was Bali. Unfortunately we could not obtain permission to go there. Local information assured us fuel was available at Tindal, about 30 minutes to the south. We loaded our 38 UK civilians aboard and hopped down to Tindal, only to discover if we took fuel we'd take most of their stock and have to fuel over wing! Thus there was no alternative but to head east to RAAF Townsville. We arrived there at first light and were extremely well looked after. We arrived back at Tengah early evening local time on 27th December.

As far as my memory serves me, the Nimrod Mk1 was supposed to be capable of carrying 45 pax in the trooping role. Most of these folks would occupy seats added to the rear ordnance area of the aircraft. In this role the operating crew would be 6, not 10 or 11 as in the maritime role. We did have a few extra seats at Tengah which were put into the aircraft but not enough to fulfill the trooping role. We did only have a crew of 6 and were lucky in that the 38 pax consisted of 18 adults and 20 children. It may appear a strange distribution but it was Christmas and both children and relatives were out for the holiday period. Thus the youngest passenger was a babe in arms and the eldest a grandmother in her 70's.

Robert Trowern

Footnote: Nimrod XV255 was flown in to the City of Norwich Air Museum on 24 May 2010.




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