Ramp Watch

Page Eight

The photos on this page depict aircraft that shared ramp space with VR-24 aircraft at Port Lyautey in the early 1950s. They were contributed by Walt Smith, who served with the squadron as a Training Devices Technician (TD) from late 1951 through the Spring of 1953.

Anyone who has photos or information that he/she cares to share with "shipmates" and friends is encouraged to send them to Dick Prather, Webmaster/Editor of the VR-24 website.

(smith)

This Grumman Albatross, Buno 1020, was based at Port Lyautey in the early 1950's and used for rescue, as well as log-runs to Gibraltar and Tangiers.

(smith)

A rare photo of a JRF-6, Grumman Goose, on the ramp at Port Lyautey in 1952. According to Walt Smith, this aircraft and the Albatross shown at left were initially assigned to VR-24, and later transferred to NAF Port Lyautey. If this is correct, the number of aircraft types operated by the squadron will need to be revised upward.

(smith)

Eight P2V Neptunes appear marooned by a sizeable puddle of rain water at NAF Port Lyautey when this photo was taken, probably in early Spring, 1952. Their wingtank configurations identify these aircraft as early model Neptunes, most likely P2V-3s. On later models the tanks were mounted directly onto the tips of the wing rather than underneath. The slope of the aircraft noses is another indicator that these are early model P2Vs. The aircraft tail markings appear to be "HF" which, if correct, identifies these aircraft as VP-16 birds.

(smith)

An unusual photo of one of at least two P4M Martin Mercators that shared the limited ramp space at Port Lyautey with VR-24 in the 1952-53 timeframe. The aircraft tail marking (AG) does not match that of any known Patrol (VP) or other USN squadron at that time. Note the VR-24 R4D-8 and R5D in the background with "RD" and diagonal strip on their tails. According to Walt Smith, the SNJ shown here also belonged to VR-24 for a period of time before being transferred to the Naval Air Facility.

(smith)

The antenna array on this P4M identifies it as an ECM version used by the NAF Port Lyautey "Patrol Unit or Patrol Unit/Nav Com Unit 32G. The tail code (AG) on this aircraft and the P4M above, the nose of which is just visible in the left of this photo, appears to confirm the practice by this unit of displaying bogus tail markings and BUNOs, when any were used.

(smith)

A close-up of a P4M, which judging from the reflecting paint, was rather new at the time of this photo, between Dec 1951 and late Spring of 1953. The use of bogus markings, or lack of any, was intended to confuse the Soviets, over whose territority the Mercators often flew, and by whom they were sometimes attacked. The practice of using bogus tail codes and BUNOs apparently continued until the ECM detachment reformed as ECMRON Two in September 1955, at which time, the tail code "JQ" became permanent. .

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