“I was a student pilot on the Royal Naval Buccaneer Operational Conversion Squadron completing my 4th Famil sortie when, on returning to the circuit to land, the undercarriage would not lock down properly. Despite my many different attempts to rectify the situation all were unsuccessful and I was subsequently ordered to climb to 10,000ft and carry out a pre-meditated ejection over the sea. It was not a pleasant situation knowing that one was going to have to pull the ‘black and yellow’ handle and hope that all went well!! However, I had every faith in Martin-Baker and had little doubt that things would ‘work as advertised’. This indeed turned out to be the case and I lived to tell the tale.
The first photograph was taken approx. 6 months later, of the said ejection seat which had been dragged up by a local fishing boat, myself and the crew.
My second ejection was at the complete opposite end of the scale from the first! In a few words, when ‘tensioned up’ on the port catapult of HMS Hermes and with the engines at full power the hold-back unit broke and released the aircraft prior to the catapult firing. Needless to say there was no way a fully laden Buccaneer was going to get airborne in approx 108ft of runway!! So, there was no other alternative than to trust Martin-Baker once again. Thank goodness we just had the new Mk6MSA (zero/zero) seats fitted otherwise I’m sure that I would not be here to tell of these two escapes.
The second is a photograph of a Buccaneer ‘tensioned up’ on the catapult of HMS Hermes.
My very sincere thanks go to everyone at Martin-Baker (past and present) for producing an extraordinarily great piece of equipment. I shall forever be indebted to you all for looking after me on both occasions.”