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Deck Landing Training  Continued


Barrier crashes

A steel cable barrier is raised two thirds of the way up the flight deck to catch any aircraft that fails to snag an arrestor wire. I t was necessary because aircraft were often parked on the forward end of the flight deck. Being caught by the barrier was a violent and destructive event.


  Catching the last or the Oh Jesus' wire is no guarantee as this Hellcat still enters the barrier while pulling out the no. 8 wire behind it.


  Having failed to snag a wire the aircraft is violently pulled up when the barrier engages the undercarriage, the nose strikes the deck and shatters the wooden propeller blades sending deadly splinters flying in all directions.


  Having brought the aircraft to a stop the barrier slips off the undercarriage as the aircraft is pitched forward onto its nose - the barrier dos not always let go so easily though and salvage parties have to clear the deck before the barrier can be rest and the deck  readied for the next aircraft to land on.


The flight deck party survey the aftermath - this Seafire will be out of action for months, its engine has been nearly ripped form its mountings and the nose is drooping at an odd angle.


  Barracuda II, LS691 of 768 Squadron, hitts the barrier and falls onto its nose on HMS Ravager, off the  Scottish east coast, 12 July 1944






Above & below: New Year's Eve 1943, Sub Lt. G.C. Morris flying Spitfire P8537 of 761 Squadron attempting land on HMS Ravager without a tail wheel. After striking the barrier the aircraft came to rest facing down the deck and suffered  distortion of the rear fuselage.


Above & Below: August 10th 1944, S/Lt. J.A. Marriott's aircraft, Spitfire Vb BL818 of 768 Squadron, clears both barriers and rolls of the front of the flight deck to finish up in the bow gun mounts




  April 4th 1945 S/Lt CR Thomas flying in Seafire LR817 ‘P5H’ of 887 Squadron, attempts to land on Ravager. He has caught the last wire while side-slipping to port; the aircraft collides with the barrier stanchion as it falls off the edge of the flight deck into the catwalk, still attached to the arrestor wire.



An unidentified Seafire ends up in the port catwalk after catching the last wire – both barriers are in the down position so the deck was clear. You can clearly see the double tramline of the barrier flat on the deck.


This unidentified Seafire has swung hard to port on take off and is about to ditch over the side just forward of the port 40mm Bofors mount.



  October 4th 1944 Sea Hurricane NF722 has bounced over the barriers and collided with Sea Hurricane NF728 coded 'KI-F' which was parked in the forward aircraft park. The force of the impact has caused both aircraft to bury their noses in the flight deck.


  Flight deck crews inspect the wrecks  prior to beginning the salvage operation


NF722 has been extricated from the tangle leaving NF728 sat in a precarious position. Note the port 40mm Bofors mount is under covers





Fulmar DR726 of 768 squadron, flown by S/Lt. I.C. Faulconer, after tangling with the barrier during a  night deck landing on February 23rd 1944



A close call


‡  This dramatic shot shows a Seafire breaking hard to port just before it crosses the round down in order to go around again.


Write offs


Above & Below: A Spitfire hangs precariously over the quarter deck having smashed into the round down and suffering major damage including having its engine ripped from its mountings. It was finally jettisoned overboard.




Aircraft handling



Seafire with its wings folded going down into the hanger


Hellcat FN371 'N' of 768 squadron coming up out of the hanger


A mixed bag of aircraft types on Ravager's flight deck alongside the jetty. Note both 'A' frame hoists are rigged on the aft end  of the flight deck - these were used to load stores and were capable of lifting aircraft to and from the jetty or a lighter alongside. 



Ferry duty


November 11th 1944 RAVAGER on passage from Norfolk Navy Yard to New York with a ferry load of Corsairs and Hellcats.




Image marked ‡ are from the private collection of Mrs Rona Holmes, Rona's father 

JX/62602H Able Seaman Gordon Christie served aboard HMS Ravager from December 1943 till January 1946


Unless stated otherwise all other images are from the Royal Navy Research Archive collection



Page last edited: 02 December 2018

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