WONZ 276 – Wings Over Britain: Ross Boyens

Guest:  Flight Lieutenant Alan Ross Boyens, RAF (Retired)

Hosts: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 27th of June 2023

Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes, 30 seconds

In this episode Dave Homewood talks with Ross Boyens, a New Zealander who joined the Royal Air Force in 1972. Following his initial officer training at Wigram with the RNZAF, he then went off to Britain for his RAF pilot training. Ross ended up flying Hawker Harrier jump jets, and had just left a Harrier squadron to become an instructor when the Falklands War began. He was called back into No. 1 Squadron RAF and was tasked to ferry a Harrier down to the ship Atlantic Conveyer, and then began operations.

Ross talks about his part in the later battles for the war, and operating the Harrier in the extreme conditions of the South Atlantic.

As well as the Harrier operations, Alan talks about his two years with the RAF’s Red Arrows aerobatic team, and his postwar career flying Boeing 747s for Cathay Pacific, and a private jet for a Middle East shiek. He also talks about being shot down buy his own round, and having to eject.

NB: The pilot that Ross was trying to recall the name of, and thought might have been Robin Taylor, was in fact Alan Curtis. who had previously served with the RNZAF.
NBB: The aircraft Sir Ken Hayr was following was a Sea Vixen, rather than a Meteor, when he was sadly killed.

The New Zealanders who’ve served in the Red Arrows include:
Ray Hanna
Ian Dick
Euan Perreaux (Killed in Red Arrows collision, 20 January 1971)
Ross Boyens
Andrew “Boomer” Keith
Simon “Kermit” Rea
James McMillan

This episode also includes a short promotion from Mel Salisbury of Aviation Tours NZ, who are a supporter and sponsor of the Wings Over Britain series.

Thanks also to Kieran Lear for his help in making this episode.

Note: The music in this episode is I Vow To Thee My Country by Gustav Holst.

Ross Boyens at home on the 27th of June 2023. (Dave Homewood photo)
Harriers refuel from a Victor tanker on the way to the Falkland Islands (Ross Boyens collection)
Refuelling the Atlantic Conveyer (Ross Boyens collection)
Harriers onboard the Atlantic Conveyer (Ross Boyens collection)
RAF and RN Harriers aboard HMS Hermes. (Ross Boyens collection)
A Harrier going off the ramp. (Ross Boyens collection)
In Ross’s logbook from his ejection. (Ross Boyens collection)
Ross’s father Rex in WWII and Rex’s medals.
Red Arrows team
Red Arrows team
Memories.(Dave Homewood)

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