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Chris Thomas

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About Chris Thomas

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Hampshire coast
  • Interests
    Typhoons, Tempests, other RAF fighters to 1960ish, red wine, painting.

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  1. Date of manufacture of a Typhoon

    Hello Pierre. Your English is about on a par with my French, so its ok by me! I have never seen colour photos of the Typhoon cockpit, except for photos of Hendon's MN235 and Duxford's displayed cockpit section - both of which are restorations and must be treated with caution as sources. I have never found documentary evidence of the cockpit colours but, from various sources I have the opinion (not always shared by others) that the instrument panels were black, the seat and tubular structure were silver and initially the cockpit walls and inside of the doors were 'cockpit green'. In spring 1943 the cockpit walls above the seat level, and the inside of the doors were painted black to reduce reflections when night flying. The tubes remained silver. This scheme was kept when the sliding bubble canopy was introduced. Antoine A bit more good fortune. The OR101 does not give details of damage - merely 'Category Ac' which meant repair was beyond the unit's capacity but could be undertaken by a local RAF repair unit. The squadron Operations Record Book shows MN877 was flown on two attacks against gun positions on 18 July and does mention flak was encountered mostly 'light'. Both trips were flown by Wt Off Tony 'Tich' Hallett, an old friend, and I have a copy of his log which says "flak in port gun bay. Kite cat Ac". TP-Y was in fact his usual aircraft and he did not fly it again until 29 July, which fits nicely with the OR101 date. CT
  2. Date of manufacture of a Typhoon

    Yes, Tony, right up my street! Pierre, the amount of information on individual Typhoons varies indifferent periods and units, but in MN877's case you are lucky. The first date recorded is usually its delivery to the RAF, in this case it was to 51 MU RAF Lichfield on 7 June 1944. However, I have copy of Allan Smith 's logbook; he was between operational tours and was employed as a production test pilot at the Gloster factory where most Typhoons were built. He recorded MN877's first flight on 2 June 1944. It is next recorded with 198 Sqn on 29 June 1944 ( it would have gone from 51 MU to 84 GSU and then to the squadron) where it was coded TP-Y. From another form, OR 101, we know MN877 was damaged by flak on 18 July 1944 and went to 409 R&SU for repairs and was returned to 198 Sqn on 29 July 1944. It went missing along with its pilot, Sgt Chef F.Bonnet 19 August 1944 somewhere near Vimoutiers, at the height of the 'Falaise Gap' operations. i know a French group was trying to find the cash site. Do you know any more about it? Yes it had a 4- blader and the large 'Tempest' tailplane. CT
  3. 515 Squadron Mosquito D-day stripes

    The official order for removal of upper surface D-Day stripes was dated 7 July 1944. It is likely that some aircraft that were operating from French bases before that had the upper surface stripes removed but 515 Sqn would not have been in that category. Full stripes for your Mossie on 20 June then.
  4. Concerning Tempests

    Ah yes Troy, the wheels ... I'm afraid I do not have good information on these. The main wheels certainly had Typhoon hubs to start with - 5-spoke but I believe they had special thinner tyres, necessary due the limited depth of the wheel bay in the Tempest's slim wing. The hubs were changed during the JN series for a new 4-spoke design which remained for the rest of Tempest production. JN818 photographed at Langley just before delivery in mid-May 1944 had the 5-spoke, but JN875 at Newchurch in early July 1944 had 4-spoke. I guess they would have been easy to retrofit, but no evidence of that. Yes, there was a change of prop and spinner, from De Havilland to Rotol, but that was late in the Mk.V production run, so out of the reckoning in the Series 1/Series 2 issue. The exhaust fairing visible in your second photo above was only present on the earliest production aircraft. The four Tempests delivered to 486 Sqn in February 1944 (and later reallocated to 3 Sqn) had them but they are the last that appear in any photos. Presumably they were withdrawn from use in the spring of 1944, as they were on Typhoons, due to cooling issues. Chris
  5. Concerning Tempests

    Hello Jure Yes, I think you are looking at the right thing. It does not show up too well but you may find it on other photos - for example on Beamont's R-B JN751. It shows up particularly well on Sqn Cdr Iremonger's SA-F JN762 (in my Osprey 'Tempest Sqns' p.17 or the IWM shot of 'Lefty' Whitman climbing out of JF-X JN735 (in Osprey Typhoon & Tempest Aces p.54) Just had a look at Arthur's plans and can't find a note there. Can't lay my hands on the introductory notes so that is probably where he mentioned the Typhoon centre sections. He certainly did have access to Hawker drawings which is why his plans are head and shoulders above the rest. He even has that small blip on the wing root fairing on his scrap side view of the V Series 1. Mason's book came out about 6 weeks after mine. Bad timing for both of us! Mason's book is better on the development side as he had access to Hawker material. Even so there are some weird errors - like the Typhoon NF with radar in the LR tank? Nooo... 16-rocket Typhoons on operations? Nooo... A new version of T&TS has been proposed several times but come to nought. Publishing this sort of book is difficult in this internet age. The library has sold a copy of my book!! No wonder my Public Lending Rights payments have slumped.
  6. Concerning Tempests

    Tempest V Series 1 and 2 First let me say that difference between Series 1 and Series 2 Tempests is not entirely clear to me. The terms seem only to appear in Hawker records; I have yet to find an RAF record that mentions them, let alone defines them. Records of individual airframe status no longer survive so photographs (frustratingly few) provide the most reliable record, supplemented by official correspondence which states intent rather than the actual event. By definition ‘Series 1’ Tempest Vs were the first production aircraft and somewhere in the the first batch (100 aircraft JN729-773, JN792-822, JN854-877) the Series 2 appeared (or after the first 100 some would have us believe). There were a number of changes in this period and I feel that the difference between Series 1 and Series 2 would have been defined by more than the replacement of long-barrelled cannon with the shorter variant (as usually cited). The first 50 Tempest Vs (presumably JN729 to JN773 and JN792-796) were built using the centre-sections from a cancelled Typhoon contract. This is the box-like structure, made from steel tubes, that sits between the wings. The Typhoon centre-section was very similar to the Tempest version but because of the latter’s slimmer wings, the wing root fairing would not quite fit over the Typhoon version. This resulted in a small blister over the offending structure which is evident in photos, often with much of the paint rubbed off by fitters’ feet. One can be clearly seen in the photo of JF-L or J (which may be JN768) in June Miljevic's link. I rather suspected that this feature might have been associated with the ‘fishplates’ discussed in the above posts. However I was a bit surprised that when I examined relevant photos closely and the fishplates were evident well beyond the first 50 Tempests, almost to the end of the JN-series. Latest airframe identified so far is JN862 (85th). First confirmed without the plates is JN875 (98th). The longer-barrelled cannon (Hispano Mk II) was replaced much earlier than sometimes claimed – some sources indicate all the JN series were Series 1 with the long cannon. The latest airframe I’ve been able to identify with the protruding cannon is JN767 (39th). There is a photo of JN801 (55th) in full stripes at Newchurch in late June/early July 1944, which is the earliest found with the short-barrelled Hispano Mk V. Some sources state that the shorter cannon was retrofitted to some of the earlier airframes but I have not found any evidence to support this. Finally we have a set of internal changes that cannot be determined from photos, namely the fittings required for the carriage of long-range tanks (LRT), bombs or RP (unless the aircraft in question is actually carrying one of these devices). Also in this category is the equipment with spring-tab ailerons. However, it is known from Air Staff correspondence that LR tank capability was expected from the 51st production aircraft (JN797) with bomb carriage fittings from the 151st aircraft and RP fittings from the 351st, i.e. bombs and RP were not available until the 51st and 251st EJ-serialled Tempest Vs entered service. This was no handicap as bombs were not used until April 1945 and RP not until the last quarter of 1945. There was no possibility of the LRT (and possibly the bomb/RP) mods being retrofitted owing to the limited access in the Tempest’s thin wing. The arrival of the much-vaunted spring tab ailerons remains obscure (to me any way). So exactly which of these features heralded the change from Series 1 to Series 2 I don’t know for certain but the ‘pukka’ Tempest centre section, the short cannon and LRT capability all seem to arrive after the 50th aircraft which might well be changeover point?
  7. Concerning Tempests

    It's not you I'm correcting Tim - it's Richard Franks! Chris
  8. Concerning Tempests

    This is incorrect. The fishplates were present on production Tempest at least up to JN862; they had gone by JN875. This is based on close examination of original photos. The plates are difficult to see because the larger Tempest tailplane pushed the 'Sky band' further forward than on the original Typhoons, which makes the plates more difficult to see on Tempests. On the Tempest the only the front tip of the plates just overlap the rear of the band. it is correct however that there was no direct relationship between the fishplates and the longer-barrelled cannon. The difference between Series 1 and Series 2 Tempest Vs are more complex than usually presented. I will post a summary of what I know when I have more time, soon after the weekend. Chris
  9. Hawker Typhoon Pulverizer II- markings query

    The 'no yellow leading edged in 2nd TAF' theory is a complete myth. All 2nd TAF fighters had them.
  10. Hawker Typhoon Pulverizer II- markings query

    The decals in the Airfix 1/24 kit are for Pulverizer IV which carried the 1945 2nd TAF markings as you describe. Pulverizer II was in use up to the end of 1944 and photos confirm it had stripes under the rear fuselage. Underwing stripes were removed in August/September 1944. It also had personal markings - a bomblog and in latter days, a Vargas girl. I think aftermarket decals are available. Black spinner. What is more difficult to determine is whether or not it had the under fuselage tropical filter. I think probably not but I will check next week.
  11. Looking for someone with experience with ORB entries.

    There is a possible simple answer to the omission of the crash from the Form 541 (presumably although you do not name it as such. This document was officially for the recording of operational flights only; if the accident occurred, for example, on an air test or a training flight, there would be no requirement to record it on the 541. Some squadrons did (incorrectly) record all flights on the 541, but they were the exception rather than the rule.
  12. Fighter escort op Jericho

    All 174's Typhoons were cardoor. JP535 (A), JP541 (Y) had aerial masts as in the illustration of XP-A above (which is mine by the way). JP671 (R), JP793, JR133, JR303 (C), JR308 and JR310 all had whip aerials on the fuselage. There are decals for JP671 in the 1/24 Airfix cardoor Typhoon kit. Unfortunately, 198's ORB does not record serials or codes at that period. They were operating a mix of cardoor and sliding hood Typhoons at the time. Note that all Typhoons had had their under wing identity stripes removed 11 days earlier.
  13. Spitfire Vb W3828 Question

    I have just checked 266's ORB and unfortunately W3828 was not Sqn Ldr C.L.Green's usual aircraft. Had it been so I would have placed good money on it having been 'UO-G' as Green's aircraft throughout 1942/3 when he continued as CO of 266 was always 'G'. His regular aircraft in late 1941 was W3837 (presumed UO-G) but for some reason he was flying W3828 when he shared in the destruction of the Do 217. He had been in W3837 when he damaged a 109 on 13 Oct 41. W3828 seems to have been used by a number of different Sgt pilots so no clues there I'm afraid. CT
  14. Another old Frog build

    Oh yesss .... like meeting an old friend you haven't seen for years. I was very excited when this kit appeared in 1959 as it meant I could stop trying to hollow out the radiator fairing of the balsa Typhoon I was trying to build, using a broken razor blade. The kit had some flaws - an elongated and blunt spinner, fat rear fuselage, thick fin and an undercarriage crude by todays standard (although it was superior to that on Airfix's first Typhoon which appeared about the same time). But it had some 'advanced' features too - exhaust stubs that protruded through a slot in the fuselage shell, a rather elegant propeller with a separate spinner and, for the time, a thin canopy. If I remember correctly it had markings inscribed on the plastic to aid decal placement; mmm ... Decal research was not too advanced in those days. Codes were FD-N, which seem to have been scrambled from an early IPMS mag that featured a photo of an 'F' coded Typhoon alleged to be of 416 Sqn, whose unit codes were known to be 'DN'. A unit that only flew Spits during the war and its immediate aftermath. So its a pleasure to see this beautifully painted model in authentic markings, with little attempt to correct the intrinsic flaws. It looks so much better than the ones I made! It is also a relief to see a 198 Sqn Typhoon, especially TP-V MN526, depicted without the usual red codes - which I believe never existed. I wish Edgar was still here to argue about it. Thank you Lowbrow CT
  15. Confused About Yellow Leading Edge Stripes

    It is not colourised. This image is taken from an original Imperial War Museum colour transparency. CT
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