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cherisy

734 Sqn FAA Whitley VII

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cherisy    4

Has anyone seen any photos of the Whitley VIIs used by 734 sqn FAA at Worthy Down in 1944?. There is apparently one knocking around somewhere . Id like to do my Airfix GRVII as one of the 16 used by 734 whilst at Worthy Down as flying classrooms. Im curious as to what colour scheme and markings they would have had. Thanks in advance

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Seahawk    1,168

Yes, there's a photo on p.40 of Theo Ballance's The Squadrons and Units of the Fleet Air Arm (Air Britain, 2016).  However it's a distant shot, "tantalising" as Ballance describes it.  All you can say is that it's a pair of Whitleys on an airfield with some other types.  We'll have to take Ballance's word for it that the airfield is Worthy Down, the date Aug 1944 and that the Whitleys are Mk VIIs of 734 Sq.  The accompanying writeup about the squadron lists Whitley VII LA794 as coded "W0Y" but offers no details on how the code was presented: I would surmise in yellow in a single block aft of the roundels but that is pure speculation.  The Air Britain serial listing for LA794 confirms it as a Mk.VII delivered between Nov and Dec 1942 and simply says "To Admiralty 2/2/44."

 

From the photo one Whitley appears to have a high fuselage colour demarcation, with the undersides and fins in black, the other a low fuselage colour demarcation.  Even at distance demarcations are visible in the upper surface colours, which suggests more Dark Earth/Dark Green than Temperate Sea Scheme.  

 

734 Sq had a short existence: the Whitleys were flying classrooms to teach Barracuda pilots Merlin engine handling techniques eg the effects of various boost and throttle settings.  It formed at Worthy Down on 14 Aug 1944, moved to Hinstock on 21 Aug 1945 and disbanded on 21 Feb 1946.

Edited by Seahawk

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tonyot    13,456

Didn`t they replace the Whitley`s with Lancaster`s? I had some pics of these Lanc`s but lost them when my last computer crashed!! 

Here is a link for more info;

http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/Article_Lancasters.htm#.WbnE-rJ97IU

 

Cheers

         Tony

 

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Seahawk    1,168

Only indirectly.  From the link you provide, the initial idea was to replace 734's Whitleys with Lancasters but instead 734 disbanded and the Lancasters went to 780 Sq which reformed at Hinstock a month later.  This time the idea was to use them for observer, rather than engine handling, training.

 

Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft 1939-45 lists a total of 16 Whitleys (1 B.V and 15 GR.VII) in FAA hands, but concrete information of only 8, all GR.VIIs, serving with 734 Sq.  These are Z9379 W0X, BD425 W0Z, BD429 also W0Z, BD430, BD431, BD565, EB393 and LA794 W0Y.  Both BD425 and BD429 are attested as retaining the W0Z code after leaving 734 Sq so it's apparently not an error.

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cherisy    4
10 hours ago, Seahawk said:

Only indirectly.  From the link you provide, the initial idea was to replace 734's Whitleys with Lancasters but instead 734 disbanded and the Lancasters went to 780 Sq which reformed at Hinstock a month later.  This time the idea was to use them for observer, rather than engine handling, training.

 

Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft 1939-45 lists a total of 16 Whitleys (1 B.V and 15 GR.VII) in FAA hands, but concrete information of only 8, all GR.VIIs, serving with 734 Sq.  These are Z9379 W0X, BD425 W0Z, BD429 also W0Z, BD430, BD431, BD565, EB393 and LA794 W0Y.  Both BD425 and BD429 are attested as retaining the W0Z code after leaving 734 Sq so it's apparently not an error.

Thats great Seahawk many thanks. I take it these were in the bomber command scheme and without the YAGI radar fitting.I work at Worthy Down and I am still trying imagine Whitlleys taking off from an "uphill" grass strip!

Edited by cherisy

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72nd SQN    4

Hey All - One other shot is in Sturtivant/Burrow Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-45, which shows a much clearer Whitley V on short finals landing at Worthy Down. Its a lower front 3/4 shot but looks to be in a DE/DG day scheme but possibly even TSS (although unlikely they could be bothered repainting). Hard to tell roundels/codes as you can't see them but definitely no aerials. This photo is also in the earlier 2nd version of Squadrons as well. Chrs Paul.

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Seahawk    1,168

Very well found!  Certainly no aerials under the wings: spine not visible.  No markings whatsoever visible.  It has dark upper surfaces with no visible camouflage pattern and light undersides.  The upper/lower camo demarcation sweeps down from the leading edge of the wing to follow a low demarcation around the nose.  That low demarcation seems to rule out the EDSG/DSG/white scheme.  The light undersides seem to rule out a standard Bomber Command scheme.  That would incline me to think of a Temperate Sea Scheme (EDSG/DSG/Sky with low demarcation) but I can't for the life of me recall ever having seen a Whitley in such a scheme.  And I don't think the FAA, at that stage of the war, would bother repainting an ancient relic ekeing out her days as a flying classroom into "proper" FAA colours.  Would be interested in what others think.

 

BTW on page 47 of the Air Britain Whitley File there is a photo of LA794 (which went on to become 734 Sq's W0Y) during its previous life as a trials aircraft with Armstrong Whitworth: it is in the late Coastal Command scheme (all white with EDSG only on surfaces visible from directly above).  She has a full aerial suite.  I doubt if she was repainted before going to 734 Sq but fitting her out as an engine handling classroom may well have encompassed removing the aerials.

 

734 may not have had many Whitleys but it seems they were in at least 3 schemes!

 

PS See this thread for discussion of Whitley VIIs apparently delivered in Bomber Command finish, as per one of the aircraft in the photo I mentioned in post 2:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235023294-whitley-question/&tab=comments#comment-2757095

 

Edited by Seahawk
Now! With added link!

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cherisy    4
11 hours ago, 72nd SQN said:

Hey All - One other shot is in Sturtivant/Burrow Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-45, which shows a much clearer Whitley V on short finals landing at Worthy Down. Its a lower front 3/4 shot but looks to be in a DE/DG day scheme but possibly even TSS (although unlikely they could be bothered repainting). Hard to tell roundels/codes as you can't see them but definitely no aerials. This photo is also in the earlier 2nd version of Squadrons as well. Chrs Paul.

Is they any chance of doing a screen shot of the photo as I cant get hold of the book. This is all great stuff, many thanks

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cherisy    4
4 hours ago, Seahawk said:

Very well found!  Certainly no aerials under the wings: spine not visible.  No markings whatsoever visible.  It has dark upper surfaces with no visible camouflage pattern and light undersides.  The upper/lower camo demarcation sweeps down from the leading edge of the wing to follow a low demarcation around the nose.  That low demarcation seems to rule out the EDSG/DSG/white scheme.  The light undersides seem to rule out a standard Bomber Command scheme.  That would incline me to think of a Temperate Sea Scheme (EDSG/DSG/Sky with low demarcation) but I can't for the life of me recall ever having seen a Whitley in such a scheme.  And I don't think the FAA, at that stage of the war, would bother repainting an ancient relic ekeing out her days as a flying classroom into "proper" FAA colours.  Would be interested in what others think.

 

BTW on page 47 of the Air Britain Whitley File there is a photo of LA794 (which went on to become 734 Sq's W0Y) during its previous life as a trials aircraft with Armstrong Whitworth: it is in the late Coastal Command scheme (all white with EDSG only on surfaces visible from directly above).  She has a full aerial suite.  I doubt if she was repainted before going to 734 Sq but fitting her out as an engine handling classroom may well have encompassed removing the aerials.

 

734 may not have had many Whitleys but it seems they were in at least 3 schemes!

 

PS See this thread for discussion of Whitley VIIs apparently delivered in Bomber Command finish, as per one of the aircraft in the photo I mentioned in post 2.

Curiouser and curiouser. Thanks SeaHawk. Is there any chance of uploading a shot of the photo as I cant get hold of the book?

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Seahawk    1,168

If I had to hazard a guess at the identity of the 734 Sq Whitley in Bomber Command style camouflage (see post 2), out of all the 734 Sq Whitleys identified by Sturtivant (see post 5) I would plump for BD565.  It was part of the same batch of 20 aircraft as BD622 which we know (see photo in link in post 7) was a GR.VII in BC camouflage.  In fact owing to a blackout block in the serial allocation it's actually just 12 airframes away from it.  (BD561-BD625: 20 Whitley VIIs delivered in July 1942.)

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