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Wing Commander Rex Sanders

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tm74sqn
Posts: 947
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:27 pm
Location: Oxfordshire

Wing Commander Rex Sanders

Post by tm74sqn » Fri May 26, 2017 10:58 am

Part of the obituary from today's Daily Telegraph, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2 ... -obituary/

Wing Commander Rex Sanders, who has died aged 94, was the lead navigator of a select nine-man RAF team that flew USAF reconnaissance aircraft on a series of top secret, and highly risky, spy flights deep into the Soviet Union in the early 1950s.

In August 1951, three RAF bomber crews flew to a USAF base in Louisiana to train on the North American RB-45C four-engine jet reconnaissance aircraft. The leader of the team was Squadron Leader John Crampton and Sanders was his navigator. The following February the crews were briefed on the operation code-named Ju-Jitsu.

Four RB-45Cs were flown to an RAF base in north Norfolk, where they were shorn of their USAF markings and repainted with RAF roundels (one aircraft was to act as a spare).

Went on to fly missions over East Germany etc - very risky.

RIP

Supra
Posts: 1325
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:01 pm

Re: Wing Commander Rex Sanders

Post by Supra » Fri May 26, 2017 11:38 am

Indeed, East Germany & beyond!! Another 'ordinary' chap following in the footsteps of 'the Boss' (Squadron Leader John Crampton, died 12 June 2010) Interesting story of brave & 'dirty deeds'!
Operation Ju-jitsu
The only other nation to use the RB-45C was the United Kingdom, where it was operated by an ad hoc unit of crews largely drawn from Nos. 35 and 115 squadrons. Whilst the USAF was prohibited by the President of the United States from overflying the Soviet Union unless under a state of war, US allies closer to the European theatre of war could. In the United Kingdom, whilst successive Labour governments had refused, the return of Winston Churchill and a Conservative administration to Downing Street brought a more co-operative atmosphere to joint intelligence initiatives.
As a result, under Operation Ju-jitsu, in July 1951 four aircraft were leased to Britain from the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing to form a Royal Air Force (RAF) Special Duties Flight commanded by Squadron Leader John Crampton. Stripped of all USAF markings and then applied with RAF markings, the four aircraft were attached to a USAF squadron based in RAF Sculthorpe, Norfolk in eastern England. The aircraft were tasked with flying deep-level reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union to gather electronic and photographic intelligence. The Special Duties Flight conducted missions during the period 1952–54.
On April 17, 1952, three aircraft were assigned to head for Kiev from Germany, scheduled to return to Sculthorpe ten hours later. Flying at 36,000 feet (11,000 m), Crampton's aircraft was tracked by ground radar and came under anti-aircraft fire. Applying full power, he immediately turned and headed for Germany, none too soon, as Soviet night fighters had been dispatched to hunt down his aircraft
For a photograph, see 'Item 185' on the link below.
http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthre ... read/page7
Credit to Keypublishing & Wiki.

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