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detail is everything

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About detail is everything

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  • Birthday 05/29/1966

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    Bristol, UK
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    British Naval aviation

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  1. Emails received with thanks. Learning new things every day!
  2. When you say PM me, do you mean via here?

     

    I've sent you a mail, in case that is what you meant.

     

    Regards 

     

    Simon

     

    (Sorry if this isn't what you meant)

  3. I was in the FAA Museum at Yeovilton, the other day and I was looking at a little watercolour sketch by S/Lt (A) Val Bennett R.N.V.R. who served with 1770 NAS. He wasn't an official war artist, but he recorded his surroundings as he travelled in service. So a unique (often colour) record. This sketch was a view of a couple of Grumman Goose and several Supermarine Walrus, parked up on hard standing in what seems a busy squadron scene. I assume it is 749 NAS as this seems to be where the FAA Geese ended up. I can't find a copy of this sketch on the internet, but for those who want to have a look, (if I remember correctly) it is in Hall 2 in the war in the pacific exhibition to the left of the hall. What drew my attention was the bright yellow markings carried by the Geese on their otherwise TSS upper surfaces. The fuselage spine is panted yellow with a chevron running from the centre front of the fuselage backwards so making an arrow shape. two more parallel strips are either side, spaced equally along the span of each wing so the pattern looks like / / /\ \ \. l Questions that come to mind are; Why were they applied? i.e. were they to help calibration, orientation or visability Were these markings standard throughout the squadron? i.e. there is a well known photo of FP503 code W2W (see Air Britain - FAA Aircraft 1939-45), It doesn't clearly show the upper surface and I wonder if it would have had said markings. When were they introduced? the sketched Geese appear to show type C.1 national markings, whilst FP503 has the earlier type A.1 markings, so the markings might not have yet been applied when the photo was taken. Discuss....
  4. The following might be useful for other Marks of Harvard
  5. I tried ordering this from Amazon, but the order was at first delayed then cancelled. I see it advertised by various book sellers but not on MMP Books. Was the book ever published or has its publication been delayed or even cancelled? Don't want to waste my time ordering a book which isn't going to be published. Regards Simon
  6. Note that page 6 has a sequence of photos showing H land and page 7 of the photos show the source photos for those shown in post 18. They show a lot more detail, but do not provide any more clarification as to code presentation or serial number
  7. With regard to Merlin vs Chinnok, there is an interesting article at https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/osprey-vs-chinook-cost-vs-capabilities/. Whilst primarily looking at the troop transport role, it does also consider the carrier borne mid-air refuelling, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Airborne Early Warning roles. It concludes that where 24 V-22 Ospreys could be bought the UK could buy 48 Merlin HM.2s and 35 Lynx Wildcat helicopters which not only fulfil the same capabilities (except mid-air refuelling) but give a greater fleet size which in turn gives much more force flexibility. I also understand the CHF Merlin HC4s are going to play a role on the carriers, carrying out CSAR and utility roles, freeing up the HM2s for their intended Anti-Submarine Warfare and Airborne Early Warning roles.
  8. The clue was in the title! - clearly not good at searching for topics
  9. The subject of clear vision hoods on FAA Hellcats has been mentioned before (though I can't find the post in question. Luckily I record these things so they are not lost. The following are not my words but those who discussed the matter. NF.II Malcolm blown hoods The Malcolm blown hood appears to have been fitted to one or two Royal Navy Hellcat NF.II`s operating as night fighters with 892 NAS towards the end of WW2 and maybe on into 1946. As Blackburns were the allocated "sister" design company for Grumman in the UK, I would suggest they were the only source for modifications of this type to Grumman a/c. Specific FAA mods were done by the Blackburn team in the US, but as this is a British mod I would think it likely to have its genesis at Sherbourne in Elmet. Just a thought, but could it be that the blown hood was a straight replacement fit from UK sources for FAA a/c with damaged hoods so they were not necessarily fitted by serial block. Information, which came from an ex-employee of Malcolm, was that they were made by a team of six literally pulling the heated material over a mold, hence the fairly even bulging, since it had to be pulled off the mold (difficult with any undercut) when cool. Supermarine and Westland (at least) had their own canopy-making system, which involved air being blown in, from underneath, making complex bulges less difficult. I`ve seen a photo of a bubble canopied Hellcat before and I`ve also seen some others, one depicts a Hellcat NF.II fitted with the same canopy and a pair of 20mm cannons, coded `S' while it was hanging over the side of a carrier,...most likely HMS Ocean as the squadron which took the NF.II`s to sea was 892 NAS on this ship. It has zero length rocket rails, and 20mm cannon with a blown hood. Likely to be KD110, as according to Sturtivant this aircraft 'went over starboard side onto walkway' on 27.11.45. No other 892 squadron Hellcat accident description fits what can be seen in the photo. Could be coded 5-S or O5S, but it doesn`t appear to have the full 05+ codes yet and may not even have the earlier prefix `5' either, which made me think that this was during the work up period before embarking when only the single code letter `S' would be worn on the fuselage?. There also appears to be something which may be artwork,......looks like two figures which could be a man and a woman with a dress on and it is certainly in the right place as other Hellcat NF.II`s also carried artwork in this position. See the following post for a model of the aircraft in question
  10. I ask this question every now and then (see) In the hope that someone will one day give a definitive answer. I've looked at the Bentley drawings in MDF 25 from SAM Publications and STILL can't see the difference...
  11. 885 NAS had a mix of MK1bs and IIcs Because they didn't have folding wings they couldn't be struck down below and so they were permanently stored on deck on outriggers to give as much deck space as possible for operations. Because of this, they suffered from exposure to the weather. The engine panels and area around the cockpit would have suffered the most from pilot and mechanic activity. The codes seem to have been in the process of changing from just the aircraft letter identifier to the full ship, squadron, aircraft identifier, possibly in preparation for Torch, where there were a lot of ships and squadrons involved?
  12. Whilst I'm at it, I thought I'd bring up the question of Canadian manufactured Sea Hurricanes, how they were designated by the FAA, their noses and armament. The following is compiled from other posts and my own research. There are several questions contained within it. I apologize for the length of the post, but it is a rather complex subject. Canadian built machines Mk. I - Merlin II or III powered Hurricane Mk.Is. They were not re-designated as Mk. Xs when this designation was introduced. These used engines and Watts or De Havilland propellers imported from the UK. Mk. X – early (Merlin III? powered) Canadian built Hurricane Xs converted to Sea Hurricane standards were all initially classified either Mk.Ia or Mk.Ib by the RN depending on the accelerator/arrester fit. Some machines were re-fitted with Merlin XXs as part of their conversion in the UK and became MK. IIb or Mk. IIc according to weapon fit. Some later airframes may have retained their Merlin 28s when converted and also been referred to as Mk. IIs (batch 3 doesn’t fit this pattern though). Mk. XIs - similar to later Mk. Xs (manufactured with Merlin 28s and 8 gun wings) but with Canadian specific equipment for RCAF use only. Mk XII - these were a Canadian built MK IIs, armed with either 8/12 Mg's or 4 cannons, depending on whether they were rebuilds or new builds. The Sea Hurricane conversions were classified as Mk.IIs by the RN. Mk.XIIa - with 8 guns (re-engined and re-built Mk. Xs) Mk.XIIb - with 12 guns (initial new builds) Mk.XIIc - with four cannon (later new builds?) The Mk. X, XI and XII designations were used to identify Hurricanes manufactured in Canada. References state that these were manufactured with American manufactured Packard Merlin single-stage, two-speed 28/29 (Merlin XX equivalent) engines. The Royal Navy didn’t differentiate between Canadian and British manufactured machines, referring to them as Mk. Is or Mk. IIs according to whether they had Merlin IIIs or Merlin XXs (or 28/29s if they were retained?). This is not surprising since I imagine operationally, there wouldn't have been fundamental differences between Canadian and UK built machines, especially when UK Merlin engines were fitted. Operationally it would make no difference – the Merlin 28/29s were effectively Merlin XXs and hence "Mk.IIs" for all intents and purposes. It would have complicated the supply chain but this would also be true of the airframes, as you can guarantee Hawker and Canadian parts were generally not interchangeable. As long as they were restricted to a few escort carriers this could be managed. I would regard re-engineing as an unnecessary complication and delay. Some references, for example the Airfile publication on Operation Torch, and the Aviation Workshop book on the Hurricane, refer to Sea Hurricane Mk. Xs and XIIs being used during operation Torch, but I don’t think these were designations recognized by the Royal Navy? Perhaps the last of the Canadian manufactured machines kept their Merlin 28/29s and they kept their Canadian designations accordingly? The first production batch of Canadian Hurricanes (P5170 – P5209) were 40 Merlin II or III powered Hurricane Mk.Is. They were not re-designated as Mk. Xs when this designation was introduced. These used engines and Watts or De Havilland propellers imported from the UK. According to sources (see below) The completed airframes were exported to the UK in between march and November 1940 and six airframes (P5180, P5182, P5187, P5203 and P5206) were subsequently operated by the Royal Navy. P5187 as a Sea Hurricane Mk. Ia and the rest as Sea Hurricane Mk. Ibs. Designation for the next Canadian production batch was then switched to the Mk X. Canadian built Hurricane Xs converted to Sea Hurricane standards were often classified either Mk.Ia or Mk.Ib by the RN depending on the accelerator/arrester fit. Those which were re-engined with merlin XXs were classified as Mk. IIs. This is where the confusion starts…. Most references state that Mk. Xs were manufactured with the single-stage, two-speed Merlin 28. This means that they would have had to have the Mk.II 4" nose extension required to accommodate the single-stage, two-speed Merlin. In which case why did the Royal Navy classify these long nosed airframes as Mk. Is when they classified other long nosed (Merlin XX powered) airframes Mk.IIs? Long and short nosed Sea Hurricane Mk. Is? On the face of it, the Sea Hurricane Mk. I designation did not relate to the engine and therefore in theory you could have had both long and short nosed Mk. Is. The only engine which seems to prompt a Mk. II designation was the Merlin XX. But is that really the case? It is conceivable that all Sea Hurricanes sourced from Mk. X airframes did have the Mk. II extended nose. On carriers, where parts storage was limited, you would have thought they would have used the same DH Hurricane prop/spinners used by their short nosed companions, rather than the Rotol set-up usually seen on Mk. IIs? The oil spill ring was on all versions from the Mk.II onwards, but it can also be seen on late Mk.Is. It was certainly on some Sea Hurricane Mk.Is during Pedestal, so this isn’t necessarily an identification clue either. So (unless the Mk. Xs had the later articulated tailwheel) you would be relying on spotting the subtle 4” differences in the nose panels between the cockpit and the exhaust stack to spot the long nosed machines. However, photographic evidence tends to discount long nosed Mk. Is (see below). Long and short nosed Mk. Xs? It is claimed in another posting that the first production batch of Mk. Xs were in fact built with Merlin IIIs and that Hurricane XIIas were all rebuilt aircraft that started out as Merlin III powered RCAF Hurricane Xs or Sea Hurricane conversions of, which were rebuilt to XII standard with Packard Merlin 28s and associated longer noses, but retained the eight gun wings for their lifetime. I assume that early Mk. X Sea Hurricane conversions were therefore delivered to the RN with the Merlin IIIs and short noses they were originally manufactured with, hence the Mk.I classification. If they were delivered with the long nose and then fitted with Merlin IIIs during the Sea Hurricane conversion process, you would have thought they would have retained the long nose (is that possible?) to help address the aft C of G issue? It is fairly easy to fit a Merlin III into a "Mk.II" airframe - it was done on/for HMS Indomitable after the ship retained one RAF Hurricane Mk.IIb whose engine went sick on a Java delivery. (or should that be Sumatra?). The aircraft simply becomes a rather heavy Mk.I. As stated above, the first production batch of Canadian Hurricanes were 40 Merlin II or III powered Hurricane Mk.Is, fitted with engines imported from the UK. They were not referred to as Mk. Xs. Designation for the second Canadian production batch was then switched to the Mk X (Mks. X upwards were allocated to Canadian built machines). I believe that that designation related to the country of manufacture and not necessarily the engine they were built with? First production batch of Mk. Xs Looking at Francis Mason’s book on the Hurricane and the Hurricane production details therein, then cross referencing with Sturtivant’s Air Britain book on FAA aircraft 1939-45, I note the following; Production of the first Mk. X batch was split into three parts. Jackson says the first two parts of the first Mk. X production batch were built as Mk. Is with Merlin 28s and 8 gun wings. Some being subsequently re-fitted with Merlin XXs in the UK and re-designated Mk. IIs. The third part was built as Mk. IIbs with Merlin 28s and mostly shipped to Russia. Part 1 All of the first part (AE958 – AE977) were shipped to the UK in June 1940 before being converted into Sea Hurricane Mk. Ibs in 1941. Four airframes were lost en route and four were initially delivered to 401 sqdn in Sept 1940 before (according to Sturtivant) also being converted to Sea Hurricanes Mk. Ibs in 1941. Part 2 The second part (AF945 - AG344) were shipped to the UK in August 1940. 21 of the first 22 were converted to into Sea Hurricane Mk. Ibs in 1941. The exception was AF961 which was fitted with cannons and used by 43 sqdn RAF. Sturtivant concurs with this, although a couple of airframes (AF958 and AF975) are described as Hurricane Is rather than Sea Hurricanes, despite being delivered to the Royal Navy. Of the remaining airframes from this part, some were converted to Hurricane Mk. IIbs by 13MU Henlow through the fitting of Merlin XXs and some of these (AG292, AG332, AG334, AG335 and AG340) were used by the Royal Navy. AG292, AG334 and AG340 were later converted to Mk. IIcs. Those not converted to either Sea Hurricane Mk. Ibs or Hurricane Mk. IIs , remained classified as Mk. Xs but many had 12 gun or 4 cannon wings fitted. Part 3 The third part (AG665 – AG684) were shipped to the UK in 1941 as Mk. IIb equivalents. The first six frames stayed in the UK, the rest were shipped to Russia. Of those that stayed in the UK, three airframes (AG666, AG667 and AG669) were used by the Royal Navy. Two (AG666 and AG667) were subsequently converted to Mk. IIcs in 1942. Sturtivant refers to the aircraft as Hurricane Mk. IIs and concurs with Jackson. No mention of fitting Merlin XXs is made but that isn’t to say it didn’t happen as per previous UK Mk. X to Mk. II conversions. Discussion Building Hurricanes as Mk. Is but with single-stage, two-speed Merlin 28s, seems to be a contradiction. This would suggest that the first part and at least some of the second part were built and exported as Mk. Is with Merlin IIIs (perhaps those engines leftover from those imported for the first Canadian production batch of hurricane Mk. Is?). Photos of Sea Hurricane Mk. Ibs in the AE958 –AF982 serial range confirm that there were no substantive differences in appearance between them and other UK built Sea Hurricane Mk. Ibs. There are photos of such airframes (AF974 7●D, AF955 7●E and AE966 7●F) taken during or around the time of operation Pedestal. The Squadron/Signal book ‘Fleet Air Arm’ by Ron Mackay has several large photos of Pedestal deck scenes. Graham Boak has studied Pedestal Sea Hurricanes in detail, publishing an article in Scale Aircraft Modelling January 2000 and submitting posts on this forum. He sees only short noses, De Havilland props and 8 gun wings. It might be that all the airframes from the first two parts were manufactured with Merlin IIIs, but that would mean that there were both short nose (parts 1 and 2) and long nose (part3 onwards) Mk.Xs. It has been said in other posts that there were in deed short and long nosed Mk. Xs. Those second part airframes converted in the UK to Mk. IIbs had Merlin XXs fitted so if they were exported as short nose Mk. Xs, they would have needed more than just an engine change. Alternatively they could have started fitting Merlin 28s in long nosed airframes post AF982 (during production of part 2). Photos of unconverted Mk.Xs in the AG101 – AG280 serial range would help confirm if they were exported with short or long noses. Looking at the Air Britain RN Hurricane records, the first of the airframes from the second part to be classified as a Hurricane Mk. II is AG292. This and several of the subsequent part 2 airframes and three from the third part (AG666, AG667 and AG669)) are classified as Hurricane Mk. IIbs even though they were operated by Royal Navy squadrons. This is not unusual since many of the subsequent (UK built) Mk. II airframes used by the RN are referred to by Sturtivant as Hurricanes, rather than Sea Hurricanes. Second production batch of Mk. Xs The two Royal Navy operated airframes (AM277 and AM288) from the second production batch of of Mk. Xs (AM270 – AM369) continue this pattern, being referred to as Hurricane Mk. IIbs. Jackson states that this batch was shipped to the UK in 1941 with Merlin 28s and 8 gun wings before being converted to Hurricane Mk. IIbs by 13MU Henlow in November 1941 through the fitting of Merlin XXs and 12 gun wings. Third production batch of Mk. Xs Interestingly, the three Royal Navy operated airframes (BW841, BW855 and BW856) from the third production batch of Mk. Xs (BW835 – BW884) are referred to by Sturtivant as Sea Hurricane Mk. Ias (BW841, BW855) and a Mk. Ib . Again, these were apparently manufactured with Merlin 28s and 8 gun wings. Most were shipped to Russia with others kept for RCAF service. Perhaps they ‘missed the boat to Russia’ and were impressed into training service by the Royal Navy? But why the short nose Mk. I designation if they were fitted with Merlin 28s? Did Sturtivant or the Royal Navy get it wrong, or were they imported with Merlin IIIs as per early production airframes? Jackson offers no airframe histories for this batch. No mention made of the fitting of Merlin XXs (or Merlin IIIs) in the UK, but that isn’t to say it didn’t happen as per previous UK conversions. Perhaps they retained their Packard Merlin 28s, thus attracting the Mk. I designation. Photos of other airframes from this batch would confirm whether they were built with Merlin IIIs (unless they were subsequently re-built as XIIas as suggested in other posts). First production batch of Mk. XIs (and fourth production batch of Mk. Xs?) References refer to Mk. XIs as similar to Mk. Xs (manufactured with Merlin 28s and 8 gun wings) but with Canadian specific equipment for RCAF use only. However Jackson states that the majority of the batch (BW885 – BX134) were shipped to the UK and onwards to Russia, although a few were retained for RAF use. Another sources states that a batch of fifty (Mk. XIs) were mixed in with Mk IIs (Mk. Xs?) on UK contracts. The latter scenario would seem to resolve the contradiction. Jackson gives airframe histories for three airframes (all RAF) only. Sturtivant identifies 8 Airframes from this batch which were operated by the Royal Navy ( BW886, BW900, BW911, BW921, BW929, BW991, BX126 and BX133). These are described as Sea Hurricane Mk. IIb (BW929, BW991, BX126 and BX133) and Mk. IIcs. No mention of the fitting of Merlin XXs, but that isn’t to say it didn’t happen as per previous UK Mk. II conversions. First production batch of Mk. XIIs (and second production batch of Mk. XIs Serials given are JS219-JS371 and JS374-JS468, no indication is given re the split between Mk. XIs and Mk. XIIs (perhaps first lot Mk. Xs and second lot Mk. XIIs?). Some were manufactured with Merlin 28s (Mk. XIs) and some with Merlin 29s (Mk. XIIs). What’s more, 185 were manufactured with 12 gun wings (Mk. XIbs and Mk. XIIbs) and 63 with four cannon wings (XIIcs). Again, no indication as to which airframes received which wings. Many shipped to Russia but some were retained. Sturtivant lists the following airframes as Sea Hurricane Mk. IIbs. JS265, JS272, JS274, JS297, JS314, JS320, JS324, JS328, JS331, JS336, JS348, JS356, JS357. All but JS314 were converted to Mk. IIcs soon after transfer to the Admaralty in August/September 1942. Other airframes are noted as Sea Hurricane Mk. IIcs from the start (JS222, JS225, JS226, JS231 – JS233, JS235, JS241, JS248, JS253, JS260, JS261, JS269, JS270, JS272, JS273, JS280, JS292, JS304, JS310, JS318, JS319, JS327, JS332, JS333, JS335, JS339, JS345, JS346, JS351, and JS353 – JS355). No mention of the fitting of Merlin XXs on arrival, but that isn’t to say it didn’t happen as per previous UK conversions. Conclusion So in conclusion, the first one and a half (possibly two) parts of first Mk. X production batch was delivered with Merlin IIIs and 8 gun wings. Subsequent airframes from the first and second production batches were delivered to the UK with Merlin 28s and 8 gun wings where many were converted to Hurricane Mk. IIbs through the fitting of Merlin XXs and, in some cases, 12 gun wings. Many were later converted to Mk. IIcs with cannon wings. The third production batch of Mk. Xs don’t fit the pattern since the three Royal Navy operated airframes are referred to as Mk. Is. It might be that; the Sturtivant references are wrong, they were fitted with Merlin IIIs or they were fitted with Merlin 28s and not re-fitted with Merlin XXs and the Royal Navy regarded these as Mk. Is, despite the longer nose. Subsequent Royal navy operated airframes from production batches of Mk. X, XI and XIIs are referred to as Sea Hurricane Mk. IIs by Sturtivant, although it is not noted whether they retained their Packard Merlin 28/29s or were re-fitted with Merlin XXs, once they arrived in the UK. For operation Torch, references tend to refer to cannon armed versions as Mk. Xs and 12 gun versions as Mk. XIIs, but it clearly isn’t that simple since all three versions were probably present with differing armament. This engine confusion surrounding Mk. X production is also why there is so much confusion as to what is a Hurricane XIIa and a Hurricane XII. XIIs were all new built aircraft (originally called Hurricane IIB(Can)) in the 5*** serial range. They had 12 gun or four cannon wings and were powered by Packard Merlin 29s. The Hurricane XIIa were all rebuilt aircraft that started out as Merlin III powered RCAF Hurricane Xs or Sea Hurricane conversions of and were rebuilt to XII standard with Packard Merlin 28s and associated longer noses, but retained the eight gun wings for their lifetime.
  13. Is the following an explanation of the mythical 4-cannon SH on Pedestal ? I quote... It is fairly easy to fit a Merlin III into a "Mk.II" airframe - it was done on/for HMS Indomitable after the ship retained one Hurricane Mk.IIb whose engine went sick on a Java delivery. (or should that be Sumatra?). The aircraft simply becomes a rather heavy Mk.I. This was an RAF Hurricane Mk.IIb (BD771) that went serviceable during a reinforcement mission to the Far East in 1942 and while the others took off, this one remained in the hangar of HMS Indomitable and was converted by the Fleet Air Arm lads of 880 NAS into a Sea Hurricane to fly alongside the Sea Hurricane MkIb`s (some say that the work was carried on aboard ship and others say that this occurred in Aden, I`d go for the former and that it was completed by the time the carrier reached Aden). It retained its RAF Dark Earth, Dark Green and Sky Blue camouflage (which stands out against the others with their Temperate Sea Scheme) and it also retained its Vokes filter but it had Fleet Air Arm codes 7-Z added in Medium Sea Grey plus a Sky spinner and rear fuselage band (maybe yellow wing leading edges too?) and served with 880 NAS. It moved on to 759 NAS at Yeovilton as a fighter trainer during February 1943 but was written off in November 1943. For Pedestal it had the yellow fin too.
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