Above: A Star is Born: N7-200 on her very first ground run/taxy test 19 November 1962. This particular aircraft was to last the course, finally paying off just over 27 years later. She suffered an ignominious fate, however, being used for fire practice at NAS Nowra. (Photo Kim Dunstan)
N7-200 Aircraft History:
- First RAN Wessex to be flown. Test Flight Yeovil (UK) 06 Sep 62 by LCDR(P) John Salthouse. Shipped to NAS Nowra. Arrived with N7-201 on 11 Nov 62.
- First Flight in Australia 22 Nov 62 by LCDR John Simmonds, CO 725 Sqn.
- 11 March1963. Whilst returning from a “Fly Past” practice in Canberra, the Commanding Officer of 725 Sqdn and crew rescued the pilot of RAAF Sabre A94-931, (Group Captain Mather D.F.C) who had ejected from his Sabre after the engine failed near Lake Bathurst. The First Wessex rescue for 725 Sqdn.
- Used to pick up Engine of Skyhawk N13-155051 on 150 Foot strap 1979.
- Served with 816 Sqn (25/03/84).
- Boost Pump Failure while being flown by SubLt Croft, 25/03/84 returned to Nowra.
- Was aboard HMAS Tobruk in 1985. The embarkation was in support of the South East Asian Leaders Conference in Tuvalu.
- Withdrawn 31/12/89.
- Bomb dump at RANAS Nowra 1997.
- Destroyed Nowra fire ground 1998.
Above. Wessex N7-200 lowers a person on the winch during the recovery phase of Cyclone Tracy in Darwin, Dec 1974.
Four photos clockwise: Above – the Classic Wessex Shot: 810 leads an 8-ship formation in line astern during CT operation training (RAN image); Wessex 810 in transit during an ASW sortie (RAN image); Awaiting the fire ground: 810 first in and one of the first out (Jeff Chartier collection); 810 beating a hasty retreat after dropping a depth charge – 1968 HMAS Sydney (Jeff Chartier collection).