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Royal Air Force College

September 1963

Rear - Left to Right - Pete Thompson, JC Newland, Chris Saunby, Keith Jackson, Dave Donnelly

Dave Harlow, Duncan Swift, Derek North, Paul Cooper

Front - Left to Right - Les Quigley, Dave Foulger, Crag Carter, Brian Synott, Dick Shuster, 

John Liddell,  John Grimer


Can't understand why we weren't smiling - were we under orders from "Noddy"?

And why is the front row hanging on to their essentials??



Departed but not forgotten

Pete Thompson

Killed in an aircraft accident at Tengah on 12th September 1968 flying a Lightning with 74 Squadron


Paul Cooper

Killed in an aircraft accident at Wattisham on 16th February 1972 flying a Lightning with 29 Squadron.  

Dave Foulger, MBE


Died of Cancer in 2009

Dick Shuster, AFC

Died July 2019 of a heart attack whilst walking his dog near RAF Linton-on-Ouse

Derek North, DL

Died of heart failure Oct 2020



Some "C" Squadron activities during the early days

(Photos courtesy of Derek North)


Left - "The South Brick Lines" - Chris Saunby - gardening? and Duncan Swift - window cleaning prior to a C.O's inspection!   Note the hats - marking the last "gentleman" Entry at Cranwell - 89 being the last to have to wear one in civvies!

Below - Some of our sporting activities 

Top Left - Rugby - or is it ball watching?

Top Right - Knocker Cross Country - Pete Thompson showing his prowess!

Bottom Left - Practising Ballet Dancing - Dick Shuster & Snotty don golf clubs so that no one will spot them practising their ballet!

Bottom Right - Posing? - Quiggers in full flying kit heading for of his "QRA vehicle" - a very dodgy Fiat 600!    (Ron Forder & Quiggers slept/froze in that little car one night when it broke down - and to add to the "pleasure" were put on a charge for being AWOL for 7 hours!!)





Flight Lieutenant Richard Charles SHUSTER (608551),

Royal Air Force

 On 2nd August 1969 Flight Lieutenant Shuster was the  pilot of a Canberra aircraft of No 81 Squadron, engaged on a routine training flight from Darwin Australia.  He started a descent from 29,000 feet approximately 400 miles south of Darwin and almost immediately there was a loud bang and the cockpit filled with smoke.   Flight Lieutenant Shuster found that he had no elevator control and correctly diagnosed that the explosive unit, which normally severs the elevator control rod during an ejection sequence, had operated.   He ordered the navigator to his ejector seat, selected emergency oxygen and brought the aircraft under control using his tailplane incidence trim switch.   He then flew the aircraft towards Darwin, which was the nearest suitable airfield. Meanwhile the navigator examined Flight Lieutenant Shuster's ejection seat and confirmed that the sears and firing bandies were intact and had not been the cause of the control severance.   During the descent into Darwin Flight Lieutenant Shuster carried out checks to determine how the aircraft handled at low speed with the undercarriage down.   He discovered that there was slow response to the trim control, but by judicious use of engine power and trim he could hold reasonably accurate speeds.   Adjustments to the rate of descent could be achieved by airbrake selections, but he decided against the use of flaps since he had insufficient control to overcome the marked change of trim in the Canberra aircraft when the flaps are lowered.   A flapless landing was therefore inevitable. The weather at Darwin was good but the wind was gusting to 20 knots on the runway in use, which was not equipped with a barrier.   There was a barrier on the other end of the runway, but to take advantage of this Flight Lieutenant Shuster would have had to accept a tail-wind component on landing.   This could have complicated the landing problem as no flap was available. Flight Lieutenant Shuster therefore decided to land into wind and deny himself the possible use of the barrier.   Before starting a long gradual descent into Darwin Flight Lieutenant Shuster ordered the escape hatch to be jettisoned into the sea so that the navigator could eject quickly if control of the aircraft were lost.   The speed and the correct rate of descent were maintained by holding the power constant, making slight trim adjustments, and by constantly cycling the airbrakes.   The last part of the descent had to be made at higher speed than normal because of the crudeness of control;  thus the final problem was the possibility of the aircraft ballooning uncontrollably into the air after touchdown.   Flight Lieutenant Shuster was fully aware of this and as he trimmed to level out over the runway he throttled back, selected full air brake and opened his flare doors to destroy as much lift as possible, at the same time being ready to order his navigator to eject. As the result of his skill, forethought and perfect judgment the landing was made with no damage to the aircraft.   The incident reflects credit on both crew members but particularly on the pilot and captain, Flight Lieutenant Shuster.   He is relatively inexperienced, yet he made a very cool assessment of his problem and took firm control of his disabled aircraft which was particularly difficult to fly.   He would have been completely justified in abandoning an aircraft in such a dangerous state 400 miles from a suitable airfield.   It is to his infinite credit that he did not do 30 but nursed the disabled aircraft for an hour and landed it undamaged.   Because of his courage, determination and skill the reason why the explosive unit. had operated was quickly discovered and precautionary checks were able to be made on all Canberra aircraft.   Had the aircraft crashed or been abandoned it is doubtful whether the fault could ever have been positively identified.   This young pilot, at considerable personal risk saved an expensive aircraft and made a valuable contribution to flight safety.   He displayed gallantry, determination and coolness of the highest order in the face of danger. He demonstrated high ability, and a marked sense of responsibility in an extreme situation which reflects the greatest credit upon himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force.


"C" Squadron Survivors - RAF College Cranwell 2003

Rear - Left to Right - JC Newland, Chris Saunby, Keith Jackson, Dave Harlow, Derek North

Front - Left to Right - Les Quigley, Dave Foulger, Brian Synott, Dick Shuster, Ian Robertson

(These are the same positions we were in on our original photograph above - the gaps represent the missing chaps .......

Pete Thompson, & Paul Cooper (Either end at the rear) were both sadly both killed in flying accidents, 

Dave Donnelly (middle rear),   Duncan Swift (3rd in from right rear), Crag Carter (3rd from left front), John Liddell & John Grimer (1st & 2nd right front) - didn't make the reunion for other reasons.

[John Grimer left us very early (4 days?) and is replaced by Ian Robertson who joined us in 1964]



Around the College 2003

Above - Dick Shuster, Chris Saunby, Brian Synott, Ian Robertson & Derek North

Right - Ian Robertson, JC Newland, Derek North,

Dick Shuster, Dave Harlow, Brian Synott (hiding), 

Les Quigley, Chris Saunby


Paddy Pyper, Dave Foulger & Keith Jackson looking alcoholically relaxed

Derek North, Barry Chalkley & Ian Robertson -

the hair restorers doing funny things Ian! .....

............... No its not,  it's that Barry Chalkley from "A" Squadron trying to make a monkey (or is it a rabbit) out of his "C" Squadron colleague.  

Or are they field testing that new " Vi bugra" pill ? .....

We don't know what Bunny Chalkley's up to? But he's obviously enjoying it!

Bunny Robertson, however, looks to be straining a bit!!!

Still your OK now chaps -it's not against QR's any more!


89C Reunion 2005

Back - left to right - Dave Harlow, Derek North, JC Newland, Brian Synott, Duncan Swift

Front - Jerry Pook ("A" guest), Les Quigley, Dave Donnelly, Chris Saunby, Dick Shuster

89C Reunion 2011

JC Newland, Ian Robertson, Derek North, Dave Harlow, Les Quigley, Brian Synott

at the graves of an RAF crew 4.500 feet up in the French Pyrennees

Dick Shuster couldn't make it up the mountain because of his gout!  However, he had kept the local ladies entertained by providing wine from his stomach!