On Tuesday 14 December Vivienne Baron, widow of our late Chairman, Group Captain David Baron OBE, her two daughters, grandchildren and other members of the family attended the Museum to inspect the work carried out by Museum engineers to repaint McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2 XV408 in the markings of No 6 Squadron. This aircraft was flown 19 times by David and as a tribute to his fine leadership of the Museum over 14 years the Trust Council agreed to the aircraft being repainted and marked as his allocated aircraft.
David first flew XV408 when he was on the very first Phantom course at the 228 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), Coningsby, Lincolnshire. Flying started at the OCU in January 1969, the same month XV408 was delivered, but fell behind schedule due to both the FGR2’s poor serviceability record and bad weather in Lincolnshire. At the end of February it was decided to deploy six aircraft to Valley, North Wales and David flew XV408, late one evening to Anglesey. He managed to land, put the aircraft to bed and get to the bar with ten minutes to spare before it closed!
At the end of the course David was one of the pilots chosen to form No 6 Squadron. Its ten Phantoms (later increased to twelve) became part of No 38 Air Support Command, tasked with ground attack and Army close support duties.
David later described the most notable occasion he flew XV408 as being when the RAF flew on 1 July 1969 24 aircraft over Caernarfon Castle for the Investiture of the Prince of Wales. Twelve Phantoms led the formation in three fours with David leading the starboard four-ship in XV408 with three fours of Lightnings behind.
The Museum plans to hold a memorial service to David at the Museum in the spring or early summer of next year.
Words: David Coxon
Photos: Pete Pitman