'Red Nose' bombing competition
The RAF got fully into the spirit of this year's Comic Relief appeal when the bombing range staff at RAF Wainfleet in Lincolnshire teamed up with Batemans, a local brewery, to sponsor an inter-Squadron bombing competition. Every strike Squadron in the RAF was invited to attend, operational circumstances permitting, with £50 as an 'entry fee', a crate of beer going to the most accurate unit! Fifteen Squadrons were booked to take part over the two days of the competition on the 11th and 12th of March, but the weather on the Friday severely hampered all best endeavours as low cloud and mist reduced visibility to less than four kilometres, the minimum distance to safely see the targets. This resulted in the non-attendance of several crews, including F15Es from Lakenheath, who would have been the sole 'international' participation.
Rules of the competition were straightforward, a scenario had been put together that the 'Wicked Wizard of the West' had set up headquarters at one of the target ships, protected by a SAM site at another target location. Intelligence sources suggested a 'cunning plan' to hack into the RAF pay & allowances computer had been devised by the wizard to steal all aircrew earnings, enabling him to retire in unadulterated luxury at nearby Skegness. The Air Board agreed to a massive air attack on the wizard's HQ, each aircraft carrying four bombs, two for each target.
Each bomb was scored in feet from the target and the Squadron with the lowest average score for at least sixteen bombs was the winner. Prizes were also awarded for the best crews. To raise more money for the event, spectators were encouraged to the beach in front of the range (at a safe distance, I hasten to add!) where a refreshments stall served hot-dogs as the jets blew seven bells out of the targets, a strange scenario indeed! £300 was raised from the interested spectators and in all over £1,000 raised by the event, a not insignificant contribution to the millions raised nationwide.
Individual winner was Sqn Ldr Craig of 54 Squadron with 10.5 points (callsign Blackcat 1).