Harriers based at the Airport Camp's hangars, 1980's
In 1975, Guatemala threatened invasion of Belize and after a short period of preparation 1 Squadron deployed 6 Harrier GR.1's called Operation NUCHA. The UK found itself with an unusual ally; Fidel Castro supported Belizean independence and condemned Guatemala, a strong ally of the USA. This placed the UK at odds with a US ally and in the same political boat as Cuba, hardly conducive to calling on the US for help. This manifested itself in a refusal of US basing support and so the Harriers had to be tanked across the Atlantic via Goose Bay and Bermuda.
The aircraft were based at the amusingly titled Belize International Airport but dispersed into three aircraft air hides and were the only combat aircraft in service that could use the short runway.
After a period of deterrent operations in conjunction with other forces (and a well-timed earthquake) the Guatemalan forces stood down, the Harriers were withdrawn but would eventually return as 1417 Flight.
Check out the umbrella over the cockpit!
Little noisy creatures. You saw them long before you heard the sound. By the time you heard the sound they were long gone.
They were sooooooo loud... they some times almost scared the -------- out of me, love it though.
I use to work at d old sewing factory near by so noisy then.
They were so noisy that the first time i saw one up close i was surprised at how small they really were. They used Kerosene as fuel.
When they flew over BMP back in the seventies it sounded like they were breaking up Belmopan.
Love the sound of those babies! Sounded like sweet victory over Guatemala! When they left, it was time to get scared...
hey were so noisy in flight that when i first got to see one up close i was amazed that they were so small.
BFB always displayed their tanks, artillery and aircraft (Puma and Gazelle chopers) @ the NATS in the 70's. They even did paratrooper displays.
Markus Bischof: Seeing them was the BEST! The puma landed regularly on St georges and the harriers flew by in formation. Too cool for a lil boy!
They used to always fly low infront of San Pedro along the reef.
Francis Paul Ripp: I saw a harrier fly about 10 feet off the water, just past the reef, upside down from journey's end to San Pedro, around 1986.
My memories of these are both vivid & horrific!! I was a tiny little kid & living about a mile from base.... I gotta tell you when those jets shot past nuh I felt I died of fright & came to life 3 times over in 2 seconds flat! Smh
John Roberts discusses a little known international incident that occurred when he was Rear Admiral of the famous HMS Ark Royal, where they had to steam across the atlantic to stop Guatemala from invading 'British Honduras', known today as Belize.