"MORT'S BLUE HERONS COLLECTION" [page 1 of 2]
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"Derek Morter lives in France. He was a FRADU pilot from 1970-85, flying 5500 hours with the Unit.
He retired with a total of 9000hrs, 6500 of which were in Hunters. He was also founder/leader of the Blue Herons aerobatics team until its disbandment in 1980."


MEMBERS OF THE BLUE HERONS TEAM 1975-77
 
1.
[ Royal Navy]
2.
[ Royal Navy]
1. 1976. The team had gained 2nd place in the Shell UK trophy at the International Air Tattoo, Greenham Common.
Back row from left: - Pierre Cadoret (No.4) - Cdr. Dave Howard "Wings" H.M.S. Heron. - Gerry Gosnell (No.3)
Front row from left: - Godfrey Cornish-Underwood (No.2) - Derek Morter (No.1 and leader).
2. 1977. Winners of the Shell UK Oil Trophy awarded for the best overall performance at the silver Jubilee Air Tattoo, Greenham Common.
From left: - Brian Grant(No.3) - Godfrey Cornish-Underwood (No.2) - Captain H.J. Abrahams (RN O.C. H.M.S. Heron) - Derek Morter (No.1 and Leader) - Pierre Cadoret(No.4).

Through the years other members sometimes flying the No.2 or 4 slot were Martin Holloway, Mike Todd, Nigel Charles and Mike Sharp.


BLUE HERON PILOT CAUGHT ON THE JOB
 
3.
[ Richard Wilson]
4.
[ Richard Wilson]
3. Here is Martin Holloway waving in the office of GA.11 WV267 taxiing in to the FRADU apron space at Yeovilton. This GA.11 was one of the founder members of the Blue Herons aircraft, and it was used in most of the air displays over the short time the team existed.
4.Another shot of Martin coming down the ladder from the cockpit. Over the years this procedure became commonplace with the ground-crew falling further in love with the aircraft. There was rumoured to be a few tears shed when the final FRADU Hunters were retired from service in 1995.


PRACTICING THEIR FORMATIONS
 
5. 6.
5. The Blue Herons airborne practicing their formations. The team was not allocated any time at all to practice during the time they were together so any practices were done after the completion of all FRADU sorties. In this image the Hunters are in the box formation, making up the formation was PR.11 XF977 "865", and GA.11's WV382 "830"; WT804 "831"; and WT806 "838"
6.Another formation practice, this time in the "Swan" formation banking away.


THE BLUE HERONS IN FLIGHT
 
7. 8. 9.
7. Another shot of the Blue Herons in formation, this time at a display. The team gave a very good account of themselves wherever they appeared and the public loved them. The aircraft featured in this shot are WT804 "831" leading; WT806 "838" and XE682 "835" middle and WV267 "836" bringing up the rear of the formation.
8. Yet another shot of the Blue Herons in action at an airshow venue. The same aircraft in picture 7 make up the Swan formation, with WT804 at the front, WV267 in behind and XE682 and WT806 forming the wings.
9. A different set of Hunters make up the third Blue Herons shot. Pictured as they prepare to form up or break away are as follows: - leading WW654 "833"; WT806 "838"; XE682 "835" and finally WV267 "836" bringing up the rear. These Hunters were all eventually retired not long after the Blue Herons were disbanded and all but one survive today.


AIR-TO-AIR WITH THE BLUE HERONS
 
10.
[ Richard Wilson]
11.
[ Richard Wilson]
10. Looking up at the formation of Blue Herons Hunters. Closest to the camera is PR.11 XF977, a rare breed of Hunter.
11. The Blue Herons prepare to do a formation roll for the camera ship.


REVIEW OF THE FLEET FORMATION
 
12.
[ RNAS Yeovilton]
12. The Review of the Fleet in 1977 was to be the time when basically any Navy aircraft, fixed wing and rotary would make a appearance. Unfortunately this formation of 12 Hunters flying the "anchor" formation was never seen at the Review as all aircraft had to be cancelled due to awful weather. However this formation was repeated at the Yeovilton 1977 Airshow, made up by 7 GA.11's and 5 T.8C's.


HUNTER AND CANBERRA FORMATION
 
13.
13. A Canberra with a Hunter on either wing was a common sight around RNAS Yeovilton, but to see a Canberra T.22 in formation with two Hunters was a real treat. Here Canberra T.22 WH803 "856" is joined by GA.11's WT744 "868" and XE685 "861". The Canberra T.22's were retired not long after this photo was taken, and today none survive in complete condition.


A GA.11 AWAITS ITS NEXT SORTIE
 
14.
14. Hunter GA.11 XE707 pictured in the early 1980's in the dark sea grey scheme awaits quietly for her next sortie. This aircraft went on to fly with the fleet until 1994 when it was retired, put up for disposal, and sold to a private owner based in the USA. It did look better in extra dark sea grey and white if you ask me!


FRADU HUNTERS ROLL OVER CONCORDE
 
15.
15. An ultra-rare shot from Derek Morter's archives ... himself leading (in WW654 of course!) the Blue Herons in a roll over the RNAS Yeovilton Air Station. If you click on the image and get the enlarged version, you will clearly be able to see Concorde parked on the ramp below in the bottom right hand corner of the picture! Great shot to end the page.

[Page 2 of MORT's photos]

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NOTE: Derek Morter gave all images shown above to myself. If you wish to use these photos on another web-site you must first get his permission.

Mark Russell, 1998-2015