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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. Late car door Typhoon question.

    Tom, only the one photo known of F3-P JR249 and that does not show the relevant bit of canopy. Looking at photos of Typhoons in the same range ... JR237 patched, JR244 clear, JR253 patched, JR255 clear, JR294 patched, JR297 clear. So I think that gives you licence to choose what suits! Yes, the whip aerial was offset to starboard - just under 2mm in 1/48. Chris
  2. Late car door Typhoon question.

    Great to see someone modelling this version of the Typhoon, perhaps my favourite. Coincidentally Eduard have just released a kit of this version, but that doesn't help TBC. First point is is that everything aft of the head armour was removed except for the slanting support for the triangular crash pylon and the anchorage for the seat belts. From memory I don't think the latter is represented in the Hasegawa kit but it is, with PE in the Eduard version. Secondly, and this could be the get-out-jail-free card for TBC, there were two versions of the rear transparency. Some aircraft had a completely clear transparency, obviously produced for this version, but others utilised one adapted from an old transparency by closing the gap left by the mast and associated equipment with a simple metal(?) plate. I've not been able detect any pattern in this, both versions seem to be scattered throughout the production run. The snag is, this feature is difficult to see in many photos. So, TBC, do you have any particular Typhoons in mind? CT
  3. Hawker Sea Fury FB 11 canopy shape

    You are correct. And it is the weekend, here at least. CT
  4. Can anyone ID this Tempest F.6?

    Don't rush Neil; I'm afraid you won't find one! 6 and 8 Sqns yes, but not 249. I do have photos of a couple of other silver 249 F.6s with D type roundels but NX263/M has no badges and NX182/E has neither badges nor the split spinner scheme. NX281 has badge, split spinner plus 39 Sqn's badge on the fin (the previous owner) but no code! I'm afraid there is not a lot to go on in identifying the Tempest in the above photo. I have a scan of the original and I've been unable to find a serial in the shadows under the wing. It could be NX284/C, NX177/G, NX252/O or, as suggested NX232/S. There is a photo of the latter in its original DFS scheme with the single code letter in exactly the same position and style as what is evident in your photo; I would be tempted to go with that. One little bonus for marking aficionados - 249's ORB states that the inner surface of the u/c doors (both inner and outer) were decorated with red and white. In the above photo it seems the upper panel on the outer door is red with white below that. The marking on the inner door is less clear but another photo shows the front half of the inner surface was white and presumably the rear half was red. Rabbit Leader, feel free to drop me a PM. CT
  5. Date of manufacture of a Typhoon

    I wasn't too sure whether this referred to the yellow leading edge stripe - which sometimes extended between the the cannon - or the chord wise yellow wing bands that were introduced in September 1942. So,although I think Troy has provided the correct answer I'll answer both. The yellow wing bands, 12" wide, in line with the inner cannon were partly superceded by the black and white stripes under the wings, at the end of 1942, however they remained on the upper wing surfaces until February 1943. Then, following an incident when Fw190s with similar markings were encountered, they were deleted, but only in 11 Group. For some reason the order did not extend to 10 or 12 Groups were the bands were still seen on Typhoons until around July 1943. They were certainly not evident on JP496 at the end of 1943. Yellow leading edge stripes were required by Fighter command and were applied after delivery to units in that command. I don't have the original instruction but it would seem to be open to misinterpretation as much variation is evident on Typhoons in 1942/43. An instruction was given to the manufacturer in mid 1943 to apply the leading edge band before delivery but it took several months before the correct style became standard i.e. Starting at the inner cannon and running all the way to the wing tip lights. However a photo of JP496 R-D in late 1943 shows it still had stripes which started at the landing lights and extended to the wing tip lights. CT
  6. Is this Typhoon scheme legit?

    All I can add to the above thread is that I had a lengthy discussion with Arthur Bentley re the variation in De Havilland spinners on Typhoons. We came to the conclusion that it could be due to different sub-contractors or just the manufacturing process, a significant part of which was accomplished by hand. Anyone who doubts there were variations should view, if they have a copy available, Ron Pottinger's 'A View From the Office' p.115 where two photos of Typhoons at the top of the page, taken from similar angles, show obvious differences. CT
  7. Is this Typhoon scheme legit?

    Briefly, there at least 8 Typhoons marked ZY-Y. The ZY-Y on D-Day was indeed MN363, which had been with 247 Sqn at Hurn since April 1944; it was damaged on 8 June (so it never got to Coulombs) and went to Marshall of Cambridge for repair, which is probably where M.J.F.Bowyer probably recorded it and its markings (in AFM or Fighting colours if I remember). The profile by W.J.A.'Tony' Wood first appeared in Air International in June 1976. I believe Tony based his painting on MJFB's description. No photo has ever come to light. Contrary to Noelh's expectations photos of fully striped aircraft are quite rare, particularly Typhoons. They were rather busy at the time and security was tight. I have a particular interest in 247 Sqn and helped David Marchant locate photos for his Air-Britain history of the unit. Despite attending several reunions and corresponding extensively with vets, little came to light from that period (except that shot mentioned above in the Airfix mag supplement and those aircraft were 1/2 striped). As for the profile, it does look reasonably authentic. The only point to quibble with is that the only two photos of the RP Wing at Hurn with full stripes shows them with rectangular spaces left for the codes, not stripes applied right up to the letters. But that was just 2 aircraft out of about 60. The other thing that could vary was where the fuselage stripes were positioned. They should have been applied starting at the leading edge of the Sky band but sometimes they overlapped. If you are still keen on MN363 it was a 3-blader with the larger (Tempest) tailplane. The only 247 Sqn fully-striped photo features ZY-B MN317 and was one of the decal options in the original Hasegawa release. I won't bore you with details unless anyone requires them. CT
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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?
  14. Concerning Tempests

    It's not you I'm correcting Tim - it's Richard Franks! Chris
  15. 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
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