Monday, September 05, 2011

Capt Fred Hefford OBE, DSC, AFC, RN(ret)

Captain Freddie Hefford volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm in 1944 under the "Y' Scheme, but three years passed before he eventually commenced flying training. After gaining his Pilots Wings in 1948 he was promoted to Commissioned Pilot and continued Naval Pilot Training (OFS l) ln766 Squadron at RNAS Lossiemouth and 737 Squadron (OFS 2) Eglington, Northern heland from where he completed Deck Landing Qualificaion, aboard HMS Illustrious.
He was appointed to 800 Squadron aboard HMS Triumph, to fly Seafire 47's, later, after converting to Seafury 10 & 11 he was appointed to join 804 Squadron,14th Carrier Air Group serving in HMS Glory. He successfully completed two operational tours in Korea with the Squadron, being mentioned in despatches and being awarded a Distinguished Service Cross. He was to Lieutenant and remained in the Squadron operating from HMS Theseus, Illustrious and Indomitable.
He was appointed to join 767 Squadron Landing Signals OfEcer (Batsman) School at RNAS Stretton, as a "Clockwork Mouse" ( A Pilot used for Training potential LSO's "Batsmen" for the Carriers). The Squadron aircraft complement represented all the then current operational aircraft in the Fleets inventory, and the Squadron pilots were expected to be fully qualified to Deck Land all types. This multi-type experience and a number of Test & Trials in which he was employed gave him a taste for Test Flying.

1954 - He became a Naval Candidate for Test Pilot Training at ETPS Farnborough.
1955 - January. He was selected for taining by the ETPS Board and joined 14 Course in February of that year. On completion of the Course he was appointed to RAE Farnborough as a Test Pilot in Structures and Mechanical Engineering Flight and also Naval Flight, where he served for 3 years before retuming to the R.N for normal operational flying.

He was CO. of 'C' Squadron, Naval Test Squadron at A&AEE Boscombe Down from May 1968 to June 1971. During the tour at Boscombe the Squadron completed some very interesting Buccaneer and Phantom F4J & K Trials, both ashore and afloat. Additionally, the proving and firing clearance of a manually guided Air to Surface Missile launched from a SeaVixen proved to be an interesting