8 Squadron Galleries

4 - Aircraft

Other squadron galleries

Life on the line     


Crème de la Crème     


On the range     


On Ops     


At ease!     



8 Sqn Venoms parked on the unit's dispersal at the west end of Khormaksar during their final months of service (Roy Hollow)

Three 8 Sqn FGA.9s are depicted 'buzzing' the hilltop town of Al Qara in this fine painting by former Hunter pilot Mal Grosse (Mal Grosse)

The 8 Sqn Hunter line at Ksar in 1962 contains a mix of FGA.9s, FR.10s plus a T.7 and a couple of FGA.9s from 208 Sqn (Mac McLauchlan)

XE655-H, XG255-G, XG237-T, XF440-S, XE589-V, XE592-F, XE618-D, XG135-P, XF454-F, XF436-U, XF460-X, XL597-L, XE654-L, XF435-E, XF376-M

XK150-A, airborne over Kenya, on its way back from a detachment to Rhodesia in 1960 (unknown)

XE609-A at Khormaksar in September 1963, shortly after returning from refurbishment in the UK; the gleaming finish would soon fade (author)

XG169-B at Khormaksar in 1963 (author)

XE620-B being turned round while on the squadron detachment to Embakasi in August 1963 (author)

This was OC 8 Squadron, Sqn Ldr Tammy Syme's aircraft

Instead of having his initials on his Hunter tail fin, Tam Syme's aircraft, XE620, had the unit colours painted on the nosewheel door. (author)

The pilot listens for the Avpin to ignite on XG136-C as Herbie Nute casually leans on the drop tank, Thorn Hill, Rhodesia, early 1960 (Bill Horspole)

A year later and XG136-C stands blanked and locked on the Khormaksar pan (Des Meek)

XF421-C at Khormaksar in 1962 with 'Ginger' Rees cleaning the canopy prior to the aircraft being air-tested (author)

The aircraft is carrying the short-lived markings, with lower 'waist' line, that were applied to only a handful of F.4s, FGA.9s and a solitary T.7.

XE618-D about to taxi out at Sharjah in 1963, armed with four concrete-headed practice rockets and live gunpack (author)

With ladder still attached, XE654-E taxies onto the Transport Wing pan in 1961 prior to receiving attention from the MU (Keith Webster)

XJ687-E flying over Khartoum during a ferry flight to the UK, 06-12-62 (Mac McLauchlan)

XJ687-E is turned by the pilot while carrying out a compass swing at Bahrain in 1962 (author)

XF435-E heads a line-up line at Khormaksar in 1962 (author)

XE592-F in post refurbishment condition at Khormaksar in 1963 (author)

XE600-G at Khormaksar in May 1962. The aircraft crashed on 25 June 1962, killing the pilot Fg Off Webbon (author)

Following nose-wheel braking trials with Hawkers, XE600 was converted to F.56 standard for the Indian Air Force who rejected it and returned it to Hawkers who converted it to FGA.9 standard for the RAF.

XG255-G, with Bill Shephard at the controls, comes into land at Sharjah in 1963 (author)

With ladder and chocks safely stowed between it and XF421-C, XG255-G prepares to taxi out at Ksar in August 1963 (Robin Morrell)

XE655-H taxiing in at Khormaksar in 1962 (author)

XG154-H on the line at Khormaksar in 1963 (author)

This aircraft is currently on display in 8 Squadron markings at the RAF Museum, Hendon.

XG256-H awaits its acceptance flight test following refurbishment in the UK. Khormaksar, 1963 (author)

It is the summer of 1963 and following refurbishment in the UK, XE654-LJ was photographed having the MASB connected by an Armourer on the peri-track at Khormaksar, prior to a sortie on the range (author)

XF376-K on the line at Sharjah in 1963. (author)

XF440-L drops over the threshold at Sharjah in 1963 following an air-to-ground sortie on the Jeb-a-Jib range (author)

XE651-M heads the line at Muharraq in 1962 (author)

XF445-O sporting 8 Sqn markings after transfer from 208 Sqn. Khormaksar, 1963 (author)

XG135-P awaiting an air test at Bahrain in 1962. This aircraft was the prototype FGA.9 and was first flown in July 1959 (author)

XG135-P at 5 MU Kemble in 1966 is about to undergo a post refurbishment air test before passing through the paintshop (author)

XF376-Q taxies in at Kuwait New during the Iraq crisis of 1961. Interestingly, the aircraft carries both 8 and 208 Sqn markings (Author's collection)

XE649-S heads a line of three FGA.9s (including XE651-M and XK151-X) at Khormaksar in late November 1960 (Ron Dunn)

Photograph taken shortly before the Squadron departed for an exercise in the Gulf with 208 Squadron; a 230-gallon drop tank can be seen on a trolley prior to being fitted.

XF440-S on the line at Khormaksar in 1963. (author)

XG237-T about to undergo an engine run at Khormaksar in 1963 (author)

With its still gleaming paintwork, XK151-X was only a few weeks in service when this view was taken at Thorn Hill, Rhodesia, in 1960 (Bill Horspole)

XK151-X flies 'round the island' before landing at Khormaksar in 1960. This was the last single-seat Hunter built for the RAF (unknown)

XG256-B, taxiing out at Bahrain in early 1968 (via 'Noddy' Hawkins).

Photograph probably taken during the first few months of 8 Sqn's tenure at Muharraq following the withdrawal from Aden in November 1967.

This superb view depicts the underside of FGA.9, XJ692-T, with rocket rails, pylons, drop tanks, cannon ports and air brake (via 'Noddy' Hawkins)

Bearing 8 and 43 Squadron markings, XG255-C is seen at Khormaksar towards the end of its RAF service in 1967. (Chris Bain)

When Chris departed Aden for the last time in September 1967, he flew this Hunter to Amman as it was donated, along with XG298 and XJ643, to the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

8 Sqn FGA.9, XJ692-T, displays the final 8/43 markings carried by the unit's aircraft before it left Ksar for Bahrain in August 1967 (Ken Simpson)


Seen shortly before being replaced by a Hunter FR.10, 8 Sqn Meteor FR.Mk.9, WH546, stands outside the 131 MU hangar in 1960 (author's collection)

Rectification work is in progress on XF436-U as it sits on the pan at Khormaksar in 1961 (Des Meek)

The camera and gun ports, and IFF blade aerial are clearly visible in this close-up view of the front fuselage of XF436-U (Des Meek)

XF436-U outside the Hunter maintenance hangar at Khormaksar in late 1962 following a wing change and repaint at 131 MU (author)

Interestingly, brown has been used for the camouflage scheme instead of green.

The underside of XE589-V as it pulls away from from a 37 Squadron Shackleton, 1962 (Sandy Burns)

Parked on the Hunter pan at Khormaksar in 1961, XE614-W awaits the attachment of a pair of 230-gallon drop tanks (Mac McLauchlan)

Despite the intense heat, XE599-X receives attention to its hydraulics outside the Hunter hangar at Khormaksar in 1962 (author)

XF460-X awaiting an engine run on the Hunter hardstanding at Khormaksar, 1962 (author)

Prototype FR.10, XF429-X and XF460-Y flying low over the Radfan in the autumn of 1967 (via 'Noddy' Hawkins)

A rare formation of all four FR.10s in early 1968; XF436-W, XF460-Y, XE614-Z and, filling in the box, XF429-X (via 'Noddy' Hawkins)

This photograph of FR.10, XE589-V, part of the Simon Morrison collection, depicts the aircraft in 8 Squadron markings plus white bands on the wings and rear fuselage. The bands were applied to XE589 to evaluate whether they would help to distinguish RAF Hunters from those of the Iraqi Air Force during the Kuwait crisis of 1961. As events transpired, XE589 was not flown up to Kuwait and the crisis was over by the time the experiment finished.


XL612-T in 8 Squadron markings at Khormaksar in 1967 (Author's collection)

XL612 was the last Hunter to operate with the RAF, being retired at Boscombe Down in August 2001.

XL565-Y, Kuwait, 1961 (Author's collection)

Having been defuelled, Ben Bennett adjusts the Smith Waymouth fuel zeroing adjusters on XL613-Z at Khormaksar in 1961 (Des Meek)

Ben's legs can be seen sticking out from the radio bay while the guy in the cockpit relays 'up a bit, down a bit' instructions. A fiddly, sweaty job!

The cartridge fires and XL613-Z starts up at Muharraq in late 1963, prior to escorting XJ684-L back to Khormaksar (author)

Go to gallery page:






Gallery selection