This SCMP report on RAF Vampire jet-fighters being delivered to Hong Kong quotes them staging at numerous places for fuel and rest where transiting British military aircraft would certainly not be welcome today.
Among the many pictures on Gwulo attributed to 367 Association archives there are probably images of the first RAF Vampires to join 28 Squadron at Kai Tak.
Not to be confused with the Vampire flight piloted by Squadron Leader Francis that overshot Hong Kong and landed at in China at Bias Bay in 1949.
This ‘First Flight’ reported in the South China Morning Post of 24 January 1951 was a delivery flight much later featured by a participant pilot’s description in the October 1995 edition of the UK magazine ‘Aeroplane Monthly’ under the title ‘Vampire Ferry Flight.’ No Far East transit related photographs accompany the article for some reason.
It would appear that this stage of the trip was not straightforward; four RAF Vampires departed from RAF Station Seletar at Singapore escorted by a Mosquito Mk.34. One heavily fuel-loaded Vampire was damaged during the initial take-off and returned to the base to be exchanged for a similar standby aircraft. Two hours into the resumed flight to Saigon another Vampire developed a defect and returned to Singapore. The next day now down to three on their way to Tourane in Vietnam, another reported trouble and belly-landed on Tourane’s runway.
The remaining two Vampires departed for Hong Kong still escorted by the Mosquito. Nearing Hong Kong, the escorting crew appeared to have mis-identified Canton in the distance for Hong Kong. Meanwhile the Vampire crews guessing a mistake broke off and landed safely at Kai Tak where they were the first jets to join 28 Squadron. The errant Mosquito escort landed shortly after.