On 3 December 1945, Lieutenant Commander Eric Melrose ‘Winkle’ Brown (later Captain) made the first carrier landings and take-offs with a jet aircraft in history, when he flew de Havilland Sea Vampire LZ551/G onto, and off, HMS Ocean. Considerable preparation was made for these flights, including the development of new deck-landing techniques. Arrester wire tests were made with the aircraft at Farnborough in October. Working up trials then took place with Brown and the batsman, Lieutenant Jim Pratt, at RNAS Ford.
By the beginning of December, Brown was ready to try for a carrier landing, and the conditions were good on the 3rd. it was planned that the landing speed would be 95mph, but after the first landing, a speed of 100mph was maintained because of the gusty conditions over the round down. Several landings and take-offs were made. On the fourth landing, the tail-down attitude and pitching of the carrier deck, led to the trailing edges of the aircraft’s flaps contacting the deck and shearing the hinges, but otherwise this very significant ‘first’ proceeded very smoothly.
The following photographs from the author’s collection were taken on this momentous day.