Cliff Robinson Collection: Flying Fast Jets During The Cold War

Cliff Robinson RAF (1964-2003)

West Wales Veterans Archive
Audio interview held in July 2023 by Hannah Jones, Owen Dobson
Additional material collected in April 2024 by Jon Mcgee

Cliff Robinson served as a fast-jet Pilot in the Royal Air Force for much of the Cold War. Cliff joined the RAF on 14 Sept 1964, pursuing a very impressive career lasting almost four decades before retiring from the RAF on 14th Jan 2003.

Cliff’s collection of material includes a fascinating audio recording in which he describes his motivation for joining the RAF and becoming a pilot. He flew the contemporary fast jets of the time in RAF’s Strike Command primarily on Home Defence duties and was an instructor.
Cliff describes intercepting a Soviet TU-95 which had entered UK airspace, and then finding much to his surprise that the photos he had taken from the cockpit of his English Electric Lightning were used on the front over of the Radio Times in 1971. He speaks about the Gibraltar ‘issue’, and also his ejection from a Hawker Hunter which had suffered turbine failure at very low-level, crashing at Cwmystwyth, near Aberystwyth on 13th May 1982.

During his RAF career Cliff flew:
Training aircraft:
• De Havilland Chipmunk
• Scottish Aviation Bulldog
• Grob Tutor

Frontline aircraft:

• BAE Systems Hawk
• Hawker Hunter
• English Electric Lightning
• McDonnell Douglas Phantom
• Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet (French Air Force)

After retiring from the RAF, Cliff owned the Pembrokeshire Motor Museum near Haverfordwest between 2005-12 and is currently a volunteer at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.
Cliff’s audio recording is accompanied by photographs and a copy of the log-book page relating to the 1982 Hunter crash plus the front cover of the subsequent RAF aircraft accident investigation report. The collection also includes the front cover of the Radio referred to above from 20th July 1971.

Hugh Morgan
April 2024

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