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Fairey Gannet & a Cunning Plan

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Glenn Gilbertson:
Hope to keep it simple & on time with an ancient Frog Gannet & a Cunning Plan ...
RNLI 1 by Glenn Gilbertson, on Flickr

Will be wheels up, so have opened up the wing wheel wells in the correct place, more forward than indicated :
RNLI 2 by Glenn Gilbertson, on Flickr

Glenn Gilbertson:
A Cunning Plan
The scene:
The Cabinet Office, 10 Downing Street, April 1957.
Edmund Blackadder, the new Secretary of State for Defence: “ Prime Minister, our recent defence review has really upset our armed forces – no wonder my predecessor fell ill. The Admiralty have pointed out that disbanding the RNVR air squadrons and cancelling the (admittedly dangerously useless) Short Seamew has left us seriously short of patrol aircraft for our home waters. The RAF claim that their Shackletons can do the job, but with a crew of 10 they are unnecessarily resource-heavy for local ASR and fishery protection. The RAF and RN are always squabbling about who controls coastal aviation.”
Prime Minister: “Is fishery a problem, and haven’t we RAF & FAA helicopters for ASR?”
Blackadder: “The helicopters are slow, short-ranged and take ages to get going – it will be better in a few years if we can develop turbine-engined versions. The Admiralty are worried that the new, larger trawlers could mean over-fishing, requiring management. Who knows if the European Economic Community  that was formed last year might become a problematic competitor? We appreciate that defence manpower & spending must be curbed to prepare for a General Election, but we really need the patrols that have been carried out by the RNVR air wing. We have engaged a new firm of consultants, Baldrick Solutions, and their Mr Baldrick has proposed a Cunning Plan. “
Prime Minister:  “A Cunning Plan?”
Blackadder:  “Yes. Nobody likes paying taxes for defence, but everybody loves the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – entirely funded by voluntary donations.  HM Coast Guard is staffed by volunteers, and the organisation’s relationship to the government unclear – just the way we like it. We have plenty of low-houred Fairey Gannet anti-submarine aircraft, all long paid for, that  are being replaced by helicopters. SO, the Cunning Plan is to lend Gannets to the Coast Guard for a new air unit as spotter aircraft supporting the RNLI. The aircraft would be repainted in lifeboat colours and civil-registered in a new G-CG*** series, with a new HMCG roundel. Crews would be volunteers and on secondment from the armed forces. Apart from the repainting, no modification to the aircraft would be needed; the weapons bays can already carry dinghies and marker flares, and the radar operators could as easily hone their skills looking for disabled yachts  as submarine periscopes.  If hostile forces appeared then the unit could be immediately requisitioned, a lick of paint would change the roundels back to the standard British Red, White & Blue, the civilian registrations removed to reveal the military serials and fully trained crews would be in place. The Soviet spy trawlers that frequent our vicinity would know that these civil aircraft could be armed if necessary – the uncertainty being the essence of deterrence. The beauty of it is that it can all be presented as presented as a caring government turning swords into ploughshares.”
Prime Minister: “Can you believe this, Sir Humphrey? We cut down our navy, but don’t cut it; we would have a rescue and fishery protection unit that would and wouldn’t  be a strike force and the public would pay for it by  voluntary donations  to the RNLI – why don’t we go the whole way and set up a national lottery for the purpose, enough money is spent on horse race betting and football pools, better that it come our way. It sounds like a vote winner, even if it is all smoke and mirrors. Make up the appropriate orders in council, Sir Humphrey.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby, Permanent Cabinet Secretary:  “Yes, Prime Minister. Ascendit fumus et specula indeed. “

So it came to pass that HM Coast Guard formed an aviation unit, with Fairey Gannets AS.4s renamed as the Gannet ASR.8. The blue background to the Coast Guard was changed to red in the centre of the British roundel.133px-Cg557 by Glenn Gilbertson, on FlickrUKCG roundel3 by Glenn Gilbertson, on Flickr
 Flights of three aircraft were stationed at airfields (Naval where possible but RAF in the east of England) round the UK, and served for many years, saving many lives by their rapid response and good suitability for search.

Fairey Gannet ASR.8 CU-I, RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall  1960:
Ancient FROG 1/72 kit. Wheel wells opened & repositioned, the dreadful kit wheels replaced from the spares box & plastic card doors. Landing lights from Kristal Kleer sealed with Future. “Dishing” in the bomb bay doors carved out. Mainly home made decals but tail markings from Revell – all these proved fragile, while CU-1 under the wings came from a 0 year old “Yeoman” sheet which behaved perfectly. With hindsight it might have been better to have started with the newer Revell kit!
P1200852 by P1200853 by Glenn Gilbertson, on Flickr]Glenn Gilbertson[/url], on FlickrP1200854 by Glenn Gilbertson, on Flickr
P1200855 by Glenn Gilbertson, on Flickr
P1200856 by P1200857 by Glenn Gilbertson, on Flickrs://]Glenn Gilbertson[/url], on Flickr

LOVE it Glenn!  :thumbsup:

And the backstory's a belter too.  ;D

The Rat:
It was MADE to wear those colours!  :thumbsup:

That's a great idea - well done.  :thumbsup:


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