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Wessex HU.5 (XT765)

Wessex HU.5 (XT765)

Falklands War History

Westland Wessex XT765 was with 845 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton in March 1982.  As 845 squadron prepared to go to the South Atlantic XT765 was allocated to ‘B’ Flight along with XT468 and flown by a heavy-lift aircraft to Ascension Island to join the Royal Fleet Auxiliary supply ship Fort Austin. Whilst at Ascension both aircraft of ‘B’ Flight were equipped as gunships with AS.12 wire-guided missiles, 2 inch rocket pods and a 7.62 mm machine gun.  On the 23rd April ‘B’ Flight sailed south with Fort Austin entering the Falklands Islands Total Exclusion Zone (TEZ) on the 3rd May. XT765 was soon in action transferring survivors from the stricken HMS Sheffield to Fort Austin.   
After a period of deployments to other ships the ‘B’ Flight aircraft ended up on the container ship Atlantic Conveyor.  Both had lucky escapes as XT765 was sent to Stromness on the 21st May and XT468 was undertaking a test flight when the Atlantic Conveyor was lost to an Exocet missile on the 25th May.
Still in the gunship configuration XT765 disembarked from Stromness to Ajax Bay in support of 45 Commando. It then moved around a series of temporary airfields, called Forward Operating Bases (FOB) supporting ground troops, providing transport & communication and battle field support.  From the FOB at Port Stanley Racecourse XT765 flew onto HMS Hermes on the 3rd of July, the day the aircraft carrier departed for the UK.  Hermes arrived in Portsmouth on the 21st of July and the next day XT765 flew back to Yeovilton.

The Wessex HU.5 (XT765) was designed for commando assault duties from aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.  It also provided a very capable Search and Rescue (SAR) platform.  This aircraft first flew in December 1966 and joined 845 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton in May 1973.  After performing office guardian duties for 848 Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton it was transferred to the Fleet Air Arm Museum in 2011.

(Photo: Peter Manley)


Type: Commando transport and SAR

Crew: Pilot, co-pilot. Up to 16 passengers

Length: 48ft 1 1/2ins

Engine: 2 Rolls-Royce Bristol Gnome H-1200

Speed: 132mph

Dates Service: 1964 – March 1988

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  • Fairey Firefly TT4 (VH127) Fairey Firefly TT4 (VH127)
  • Vickers Supermarine Scimitar F1 Vickers Supermarine Scimitar F1
  • Hawker Sea Hawk Hawker Sea Hawk
  • Fairey Gannet AEW3 Fairey Gannet AEW3
  • Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2B Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2B
  • Hunting Jet Provost T3A (XN462) Hunting Jet Provost T3A (XN462)
  • Douglas Skyraider AEW1 (WT121) Douglas Skyraider AEW1 (WT121)
  • Blackburn NA39 (XK488) Blackburn NA39 (XK488)
  • Supermarine 510 (VV106) Supermarine 510 (VV106)
  • Westland Whirlwind HAR1 (XA864) Westland Whirlwind HAR1 (XA864)
  • Westland Gazelle HT2 (XW864) Westland Gazelle HT2 (XW864)
  • Hiller HTE2 (XB480) Hiller HTE2 (XB480)
  • Super Eagle Hang Glider (G-BGWZ) Super Eagle Hang Glider (G-BGWZ)
  • de Havilland Tiger Moth T2 (XL717) de Havilland Tiger Moth T2 (XL717)
  • Hawker Sea Hawk F1 (WF219) (tail section only) Hawker Sea Hawk F1 (WF219) (tail section only)
  • de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW1 (XJ481) de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW1 (XJ481)
  • Bell UH1H Iroquois (AE422) Bell UH1H Iroquois (AE422)
  • Fairey Barracuda II (DP872) Fairey Barracuda II (DP872)
  • Northrop Chukar (XW994) Northrop Chukar (XW994)
  • Westland Wasp HAS1 (XT778) Westland Wasp HAS1 (XT778)
  • Beech T34C Mentor (0729) Beech T34C Mentor (0729)
  • Gloster Meteor TT20 (WM292) Gloster Meteor TT20 (WM292)
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  • Westland Whirlwind HAS7 (XG594) Westland Whirlwind HAS7 (XG594)
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  • de Havilland Vampire T22 (XA129) de Havilland Vampire T22 (XA129)
  • Gloster Meteor T7 (WS103) Gloster Meteor T7 (WS103)
  • Percival Sea Prince T1 (WP313) Percival Sea Prince T1 (WP313)
  • Westland Wessex HU5 (XS508) Westland Wessex HU5 (XS508)
  • de Havilland Sea Venom FAW21 (WW138) de Havilland Sea Venom FAW21 (WW138)
  • Benson Gyrocopter (G-AZAZ) Benson Gyrocopter (G-AZAZ)
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  • Saro P531 (XN334) Saro P531 (XN334)
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  • Westland Whirlwind HAS7 (XL853) Westland Whirlwind HAS7 (XL853)
  • Saro P531 (XN332) Saro P531 (XN332)
  • Fairey Barracuda II (LS931) (items of wreckage) Fairey Barracuda II (LS931) (items of wreckage)
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