G-AGRG

Tudor G-AGRG

Avro 688 Tudor 1  –  c/n 1255

With Air Charter from Aug 1954 to Jan 1959

Given Names – ‘El Alamein’ and ‘Nimbus’

Avro Tudor, Romeo Golf began her service history as a Ministry of Supply owned aircraft and spent the first three years of her career transporting troops and V.I.Ps on behalf of the British Government. In March 1948, Avro stripped her of all unnecessary equipment including internal fixtures and fittings, the pressurisation system and a whole host other superfluous items, before dispatching her to the Ministry of Civil Aviation as a Tudor I freighter. By June 1948, RG had been selected to assist fellow Tudors RH and RJ on the Berlin Airlift flying under B.O.A.C’s banner, although it would appear that this never happened and by late September, RG was instead operating for B.S.A.A as a crew trainer where she would remain under lease until June 1949. The aircraft was then sent to Tarrant Rushton (along with several other Tudors) where she would be put into storage.

In fact, Romeo Golf and her stable mates would remain grounded for almost three years and by the autumn of 1952, all of the MoS/MoCA Tudors had been put up for disposal. Aviation Traders, who was at the time looking for a York replacement, snapped up 10 Tudors and 88 Merlin engines and by the end of the year, work had begun on servicing these aircraft in an attempt to restore them to an airworthy condition so that they could carry out their ferry flights to Southend. Romeo Golf was eventually delivered to Aviation Traders at Southend during October 1953 although she would remain on the ground until it was her turn to undergo several weeks of overhaul work which at the same time included preparations for her new Certificate of Airworthiness.

Her first proving flight finally came on February 14th when she flew between Stansted and Hamburg in Air Charter colours with the cabin having been fitted out in a rearward facing, 42 seat, two compartment configuration. She was then advertised as being available for charter work, both from Stansted and Hamburg and a small number of trips were made during this time, including a demonstration flight for the press that was sent up as part of the investigation into the uncontrolled dive incident that had involved G-AGRI during March of that year. A rumoured flight to Saigon was believed to have taken place too and she allegedly remained stationed there for a short while, carrying out relief work in the region. Finally, like all of the company’s Tudors, she would be unceremoniously transferred to Air Charter in August of that year.

Operations continued on and off until October 29th 1954 when the aircraft returned to Southend and remained idle there for several months. Her restoration wouldn’t occur until mid-1955, when finally she was pulled into the ATEL hangar to receive the Tudor 4B Super Trader upgrade (See ‘Engineering’ – ‘ATEL’ – ‘Tudor’ for more details) which primarily involved a lengthening of the forward fuselage, the fitting of twin, rear cargo doors and a number of other modifications to bring her up to specification. Eventually on January 21st 1956, she was dispatched to Stansted as the last of the Super Traders, ACL now having a total of 6 such aircraft in their fleet. From this point on, Romeo Golf would mostly operate freight runs between Hamburg and Berlin and flights to and from the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

During 1955, ACL’s Tudor fleet had begun operating secret military flights to Adelaide carrying missile parts for Britain’s nuclear deterrent which was at the time, undergoing testing at the Woomera Test Range in Australia and with her return to service, RG would also undertake such flights. Also, with her now being a Super Trader, it is likely that these operations made up the bulk of her work during the years that followed. By the beginning of 1959, only four Tudors remained in operation with Air Charter, although two of these would eventually meet their end in fiery crashes. In the case of Romeo Golf, she was destroyed by fire on January 27th after inadvertently swinging off of the runway during a strong crosswind while taking off at Brindisi, Italy, having stopped over for fuel on her way to Australia. Out of a crew of six, the accident would tragically claim two lives.

Many thanks to Chris Garton and Peter Clark for help with providing suggestions for edits to this page.

 

History of G-AGRG

9/45 to 9/53

Ministry of Supply/Civil Aviation

10/53 to 8/54

Aviation Traders Ltd

8/54 to 1/59

Air Charter Ltd

Fate

Destroyed by fire during take off at Brindisi, Italy 27/1/59

 

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