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Artefact of the Month

“Sorry Boss – This Was One We Could Not Fix”

On 10 June 1980, Wing Commander David Baron (The Museum’s present Chairman) took command of No 14 Squadron at RAF Bruggen, Germany, then operating the Jaguar GR1 in the Strike/Attack role. He chose Jaguar XX760 to carry his name and the squadron commander’s pennant on the left hand side of the fuselage. Its Bruggen insignia was ‘AA’.

Over two years later, on Friday 10 September 1982, David led a squadron detachment to RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland for utra low-level training in preparation for the unit’s participation in Ex Red Flag in Nevada. Three days later, a 6-ship sortie was mounted with Bruggen’s Wing Weapons Officer, Flight Lieutenant Steve Griggs, in the lead flying XX760. Twenty minutes after take-off he suffered a major fuselage fire, duly confirmed by other members of the formation, and was forced to eject, after which the aircraft buried itself in an upland peat bog. It proved impossible to recover much of the wreckage owing to its isolation and depth below the surface.

A week or two before relinquishing command of No 14 Squadron in June 1983, David was taken by surprise at a squadron ‘beer-fest’ when presented with a small part of XX760. His ground crew explained that they had searched through the few bits of debris recovered in the hope of finding the piece with his name and pennant but to no avail; he would have to make do with the tail’s ‘AA’ insignia.

 JAGUAR XX760’s TAIL ‘AA’ INSIGNIA MOUNTED ON A WOODEN PLAQUE IS DISPLAYED IN THE MUSEUM’S MERSTON HALL

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