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The model is a representation of a 98 Squadron RAF Mitchell II, FW262, coded VO-G. Its crew were involved in a raid over Stadtkyll on Christmas Day, 1944. The aircraft was piloted by Australian Ray Rogerson. The relevant ORB for 98 Squadron confirms the serial, the code and the events of that raid.

 

The Australian Press duly recorded some particular events of the raid and the following account appeared in a Western Australian daily newspaper on 7 January 1945.

 

“Pilot Officer Ray Rogerson had a thrilling experience on Christmas Day. He was piloting a Mitchell bomber in a raid against a German supply centre when a burst of Flak damaged the machine. Most of the instruments were shot away and the wings were holed but he carried on to his target. Returning, he found the bomb doors would not close and the wheels were out of order. He made a skilful emergency landing with all wheels up, then went with his crew to Christmas lunch”.

 

Not really. The bomb aimer who stands in front of another 98 Squadron B-25 in the photograph below had been killed by the Flak. Ray Rogerson recalls neither Christmas festivities nor lunch that day.

 

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In the photograph below, taken sometime in January 1945, The Rogerson crew, with replacement bomb aimer, is shown at Melsbroek.

 

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My thanks to 72 modeler who provided much advice and quite a few Italeri B-25J bits to enable a conversion from my Italeri B-25G kit to as-close-as-I could-get-without-going-mad representation of this particular Mitchell II.

 

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It is not a very good result but never mind. Even my attempts at applying a patched-over paint job were not that successful. Over six decades of making model aeroplanes never has there been such a battle between Man and Italeri. All in all, a bit of a pyrrhic victory.

 

 

In conversations and subsequent correspondence with Ray Rogerson in 1992, he made the following observation of war over Europe.

 

“Every day in the UK was like an adventure, so that when we returned to Australia the ordinary problems of life seemed so trivial that many of us could not readily adjust to ordinary life. Two aircrew friends of mine committed suicide and a number of others drank pretty heavily. A few died fairly early in life”.

 

Not the happiest of postings on this forum but I do like a contextual richness to my modelling endeavours.

 

Michael

 

 

Edited by Michael Enright

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Very cool work!

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A very nice model and a fitting tribute - well done Michael.

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Nice work, and thanks for sharing the background story.


Regards,

David

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Michael,

 

I'm glad I was able to help you in some small way on your Mitchell project; I think you did a great job- don't sell yourself short; pretty darned good coming out of retirement model, if I say so. You did a great job on the conversion, too; I knew you could pull it off. Thanks for sharing the story and photos of the aircraft and crew, especially during the Veterans Day week end; these young men were truly the best generation and it is our legacy to maintain and continue documenting their service and sacrifice by building and sharing our models. Good on yer, Doc! (OK, now that you're on a roll, what's your next project?) I have three tribute models in the queue to honor some great pilots whom I have had the honor to have met- one is an RAF Group Captain who flew everything from Tiger Moths to Lightnings!

Well done, sir!

Mike

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Michael, Mike and Alpha Delta put it very well.  Your model's a bit of a surprise to me: I never knew that the RAF flew Mitchells with the aft-mounted dorsal turret and beam gun bay windows, nice find!

 

Picking up from your posting of Roy Rogerson's comments I used to work (in the late seventies/early eighties) with a man who had a reputation for being a booze-sodden line-shooter.  It was only after he died from an alcohol-related illness that his line manager, who had to go to retrieve any work-related items from his flat, discovered that he'd been a Hurricane pilot who had seen first-hand what the Germans did to the French people who helped people like him who had been forced down in enemy territory.  

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1 hour ago, stever219 said:

Michael, Mike and Alpha Delta put it very well.  Your model's a bit of a surprise to me: I never knew that the RAF flew Mitchells with the aft-mounted dorsal turret and beam gun bay windows, nice find!

 

Picking up from your posting of Roy Rogerson's comments I used to work (in the late seventies/early eighties) with a man who had a reputation for being a booze-sodden line-shooter.  It was only after he died from an alcohol-related illness that his line manager, who had to go to retrieve any work-related items from his flat, discovered that he'd been a Hurricane pilot who had seen first-hand what the Germans did to the French people who helped people like him who had been forced down in enemy territory.  

Not surprising- that generation didn't talk about what they did very much after they came home, and certainly weren't boastful about it. You certainly can't judge the book by its cover! I really feel it's up to my fellow serious modelers and enthusiasts to keep what they did alive and pass it along to the next generation, although there seem to be fewer of them, in my experience. I have a dear friend whose uncle flew Tomahawks, Hurricanes, and P-47's in the CBI, and neither of us can comprehend what it must have been like for a 19-year old to be throwing a 2,000hp fighter around the sky on a daily basis back then.

Mike

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3 hours ago, 72modeler said:

Michael,

 

I'm glad I was able to help you in some small way on your Mitchell project; I think you did a great job- don't sell yourself short; pretty darned good coming out of retirement model, if I say so. You did a great job on the conversion, too; I knew you could pull it off. Thanks for sharing the story and photos of the aircraft and crew, especially during the Veterans Day week end; these young men were truly the best generation and it is our legacy to maintain and continue documenting their service and sacrifice by building and sharing our models. Good on yer, Doc! (OK, now that you're on a roll, what's your next project?) I have three tribute models in the queue to honor some great pilots whom I have had the honor to have met- one is an RAF Group Captain who flew everything from Tiger Moths to Lightnings!

Well done, sir!

Mike

Thank you Mike,

 

That Mitchell looks better in the photographs than it does on the bookshelf. These aircrew were certainly of a quite different generation, one I see as somewhat removed from the next generation and the one after that. Perhaps the absence of television, iphones and social media have something to do with it.

 

I nevertheless heard many stories from these remarkable aircrew types of base conduct, mean spirited behaviour and downright bastardry. Even an uncle of mine, an Australian who was a rear gunner on Mark IV Stirlings in 295 and 570 Squadrons, could be included. He was nevertheless on the receiving end during training in England in 1944, when a senior British officer, having taken off his flight jacket after a training sortie, requested my uncle hold it for him and carry it back to the dispersal hut. Having thrust the jacket into his arms, my uncle promptly dropped it in the mud, walked over it and continued on his way: not the finest of examples of Anglo - Australian accord. That uncle, his brother (who was my father) and another uncle on my mother's side all served in the RAAF in one way or another. They were each remote and somewhat broken men with conditions that manifested in alcoholism, moodiness and sometimes quite unnecessary behaviour. I am convinced that War broke them in its own little ways.

 

All of these people, including Gerry Girardau (the Halifax build), Henry Hoysted (the Stirling build) and Ray Rogerson have died. I met and corresponded with over two hundred Australian aircrew who served in Europe and I do not know of any who are now alive.

 

But I digress.

 

Maybe Keith Parson's Lancaster, the Ventura of Stan Moss or Frederick Linacre's Typhoon. It's just that I cannot get my eyes off that Hasegawa set of boxes on the shelf: a B-24J, a B-26 and a couple of B-25Js...........

 

Michael

Edited by Michael Enright

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9 hours ago, stever219 said:

Michael, Mike and Alpha Delta put it very well.  Your model's a bit of a surprise to me: I never knew that the RAF flew Mitchells with the aft-mounted dorsal turret and beam gun bay windows, nice find!

 

Picking up from your posting of Roy Rogerson's comments I used to work (in the late seventies/early eighties) with a man who had a reputation for being a booze-sodden line-shooter.  It was only after he died from an alcohol-related illness that his line manager, who had to go to retrieve any work-related items from his flat, discovered that he'd been a Hurricane pilot who had seen first-hand what the Germans did to the French people who helped people like him who had been forced down in enemy territory.  

Thanks for the comments. That story does resonate. There seem to have been the loud and the quiet. Heaven only knows how much better they would have coped with War's foibles if mental health care was more advanced.

 

As for the uncommon waist window positioning on this particular Mitchell, I am not surprised that these are sometimes overlooked. Indeed, the contributions of 2nd TAF multi-engine operations as a whole are rather overlooked in the literature. The wonderful four volumes work of Shores and Thomas cover the single engine contributions in exquisite detail but sadly have precious little on say, the Mitchells and the Bostons. As far as I know, the best source that gets anywhere near to close on such things is Bowyer's 2 Group RAF: A Complete History, 1936-1945.

 

Michael

Edited by Michael Enright

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Love it,great job on the actual build and a good insight as to how those that flew them coped with life.

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