Harriers based at the Airport Camp's hangars, 1980's
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Monday August 29, 2016

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Harrier GR7 of IV (AC) sqn flying over the great Blue Hole in Belize.

Final official 1417 Flight photo before closing down the Harrier hides, RAF Belize 1993. I believe the full Harrier contingent at the time are in this shot - from both Charlie Delta and Foxy Golf hides, admin, blanket stackers. chef, the dog (front left), even the Air Commandant has turned out. I see John Findlayson 5th from right front seated. He brought out and took back one of the Harriers. Martin Baker in the plane. Photo by Robert Brown.

Harriers giving us ground support over Sibun jungle. Photo courtesy John William Boston.

Flying over the Maya mountain, Belize. From the pilot - "flying along side heli, 180 knots. Flaps down nozzle down because not enough air speed to get wind lift." Photo credit Robbie Robson.

Two photos above and below are one of a few Harriers that were damage during exercise while stationed here in Belize, damages cause by a condor that flew into it, late 1979.

RAF photo of a Puma helicopter shadowing a Harrier flying over Belize, they spooked us all, everyone running out their doors to see them. This was early 90s. Photo courtesy of of Jonathan Herod.

Here is a picture of the Harrier that crashed into the Belize River in 1981 shortly after take off due to loss of flight controls. The pilot ejected (LT. Jack Mardon), no fatalities, the tail section was in the river, SGT Hall (far right in the picture) went in the river wearing sub aqua kit and attached a rope to the tail section so it could be lifted out the river using a Puma helicopter. Photo courtesy of of Orlando Torres.

The very last group of RAF Belize outside the Williamson before the drawdown in 1993.

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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!

Vidal Paz: 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

Above and below, Sight seeing in a Harrier.. Photo credit Graeme Finlayson.

There appeared to have been some deep secrets and quiet diplomacy going on during the Anglo Guatemalan Claim in the 70s between the British Crown and the government of Belize. It was a period of great tension for the people of Belize who appeared to have been locked out of the information war that was going on around the bordering crisis between Belize and Guatemala. The Anglo Guatemalan claim had become Belize's Cold War. (Photo & news extract through the courtesy of the Belize Amandala newspaper)

The bank of the Belize River what was left of the Harrier, the pilot “banged” out after losing engine power coming out of the hover. The pilot was picked up by a Puma Helicopter, it too then had to ditch as it caught its rotor blades in the overhanging trees by the crash site, as one of the guys commented, lots of poo’d pants that day. The third photo shows they found the main wheel of the crashed harrier floating downstream. RAF Belize. This photo and the next two are from this crash.

This photo and the two below: Two fat Alberts (C-130 or Charlie 1-30's.) as they were called bringing replacement Harrier, the Fuselage in one, wings & fin in another, again sadly the process was repeated a few weeks later when they lost another Harrier, this time the pilot went down with the aircraft whilst on the ranges up country. RAF Belize.

RAF Belize Puma & Harriers flying over Belize, 1986. No. 1563 Flight RAF was an independent flight of British Royal Air force(RAF). 1563 Flight operated Westland Puma HC.1 helicopters on tactical support missions for locally garrisoned British Army Unit, as well as Belize Defense Force units in Belize, from 1975 to around 1993. Photo courtesy: Martin Sampson.

Saving British Honduras - A Legacy Interviews Story

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.

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