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StevieD

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Everything posted by StevieD

  1. I’m looking for a display case for a 1/48 WW2 fighter. Ideally something around 210mm x 210mm. Looking on Hannants there doesn’t seem to be anything. Can anybody point me in the right direction? Thanks.
  2. Sgt Meryn Sprague. 11 September 1940 602 ORB Scant detail throughout. Every day ‘Duty’ is recorded as ‘Patrol’ with no indication of whether combat took place. Aircraft serial and pilot are recorded as well as ‘Time Up’ and ‘Time Down.’ The ‘Remarks’ section is always blank. 602 ORB - September 11. Eight spitfires are recorded under a Patrol where ‘Time Up’ is 15.45. ‘Time Down’ for seven of these is between 16.30 and 16.40. The other Spitfire, (N3282 Sgt. Sprague) is 16.10 as ‘Time Down.’ Reading just the ORB you would assume Sprague returned early due to engine problems or similar - obviously that wasn’t the case. 602 combat report. 11 September Compiled from pilot reports by OH Cranbrook Intelligence Officer. Eight Spitfires of 602 to patrol at 19,000ft. Combat took place at 16.10 about 5 miles off Selsey Bill. 20-30 Do17 and 20-30 Me100 were sighted 3000ft below. 213 Squadron Hurricanes were to engage the bombers, 602 the fighters. “Blue 1 and Blue 2, Green 2 and Red Section in line astern dived to attack Me110s which had formed a defensive circle. Green 1 was suspicious that Me109s might be present so flew a full circle of the e/a at 19,000ft and was shortly attacked by 109s and compelled to dive to 8,000ft to escape.” The report then gives extracts from combat reports of different pilots. It concludes: “7 Spitfires landed Westhampnett by 16.35 hours. OWN LOSSES – S/P Sprague missing.” The ORB ‘Time Down’ for Sprague of 1610 makes no mention that he came down in the channel. The last mention of Sprague is as ‘Green 2’ in the line astern attack. Given that Green 1 (McDowall) pulled out of the attack, could it be that Sprague followed him and was caught by the 109s McDowall had to dive to escape? No one will ever know. The Battle of Britain (like most battles) is told through the leaders, aces, medals, big engagements. Yet the great majority of the battle was made up of events like this. Young men thrown into combat, whose luck ran out in weeks or even days, who simply disappeared unknown and unrecorded in our history books. Their contribution and courage were no less than that of the greatest of aces. With the ORB and combat reports not giving individual aircraft letters, and thanks to your efforts, I’ll go with ‘LO P’ as Mervyn Sprague’s aircraft on September 11. Once complete one of the local pubs or the café will display ‘The Alberts Spitfire’ as part of our history. Thank you.
  3. Many thanks for all your help with this! I’ve dug around in the National Archives and come up with 602 ORB and combat reports. More of that later. I came across Mervyn Sprague after being asked to write the history of the area where I live. This small community - the Alberts - is made up of 400 workers’ cottages in Richmond Upon Thames. Built in the 1870s they were home to families who built and serviced the villas and big houses that now surround them. I was fortunate to be given oral histories recorded in 1980 from residents in their eighties whose memories of day-to-day life, go back well before WW1. Fascinating listening. The ‘big houses’ they worked on are mentioned, but only one ‘well-off’ family is named. The Spragues were remembered with affection by several residents. They lived at 43 Kings Road, Richmond a few hundred yards away from me. Colonel Sprague served in the Field Artillery in the First War. His wife was a respected local councillor, ‘a lovely woman’ one resident recalled. Their only son Mervyn was born in 1910. After school he joined his father’s accountancy firm and served in the RAF 'F' Reserve from 13th May 1935 until 14th May 1938 when he joined the RAFVR. He was called to full time service at the outbreak of war and in in June 1940 was posted to 602 Squadron at Drem. On August 12 the Squadron moved south to relieve a battered 145 Squadron at Westhampnett. On September 9, war came to the Alberts. At 4am bombs fell across Richmond Hill (possibly from a bomber that strayed too far west of London). Incendiaries fell on 2 houses in the next street, the fire gutting both. At 6pm the same day one resident coming home from work looked up to see “our fighters coming down on the Jerries!” Moments later he was blown off his feet as a stick of bombs destroyed several big houses. The whistles of ARP wardens were heard as they raced through streets on bicycles shouting “You must leave immediately and as you are!” With UXBs in the area, residents were evacuated, unable to return for days. One house that took a direct hit and later demolished was 43 Kings Rd. The Colonel and his wife weren’t at home but worse was to follow. Just two day later their son was posted ‘missing in action’ after combat over the Channel. Mollie Sprague - his wife of just 4 months -didn’t give up hope. After all, her husband had bailed out on August 25 and was picked up by a Walrus. She rented a caravan near Westhampnett and visited the airfield every day. On October 10, the body of Sgt Mervyn Sprague came ashore on a Brighton beach. He’s buried in St Andrew's churchyard, Tangmere. I’ll post my findings from ORB and combat reports from September 11 about Sgt Sprague’s last flight later when I’ve been through them properly.
  4. Hello I’m thinking of having a crack at a Spitfire whose pilot lived just up my street. On September 11, 1940 Flight Sergeant Mervyn Sprague of 602 Squadron was flying Spitfire N3282 when he was shot down and killed over the Channel. 602 is LO but I can’t find the individual code letter for this Spitfire. Any help greatly appreciated.
  5. He sounds a lot like my dad - who was Polish. He didn't give much away but always remembered the women. I dropped into the Orchard a few years ago. All signs of the Poles had gone. Shame.
  6. Good idea! It's at the bottom of the page on the right http://www.kartonowki.pl/modele-galeria/model/4256,curtiss-p-40n-warhawk-75fs-23fg-usaaf-flying-tigers
  7. Yes I thought it might be tricky. There is a photo of 188 (on a Polish site I can't read) that looks to me like an N with the squared off rear canopy. As far as I know there are no decals for Sad Sack which is why went for 188.
  8. I know he didn’t have an assigned P40 but after looking at photos and conflicting profiles I’m ready to get cracking on the Special Hobby P40N. This is my best guess for the one Urbanowicz flew... Tail code – white ‘188’ OD/ Neutral Grey. Disruptive green patches on the tail (and possibly wings?) Insignia with white bar - no red or blue outline. White spinner with OD band at rear. Shark mouth and eyes. Any other opinion or info on this aircraft? Would this carry US ARMY under the wings? Many thanks.
  9. Thanks for your efforts on this. Yes, it could be something caught in the tram wires but odd it’s so ‘plane shaped.’ My only other thoughts (and with reference to the early days of aviation) is to do with the Fitzwilliams at nearby Wentworth Woodhouse. The Earl was the richest man in Britain and an early air enthusiast. It’s believed he held the country's first ‘air meet’ only a few years after the Wright Brothers flight. As the estate is at most five miles from Worsbrough, I wondered whether there was a connection. Smedley, the photographer, was a young miner who joined the Army Medical Corps in WW1. So it may be this is post war. I suppose we’ll never know…. Thanks for your interest!
  10. I've tried to enlarge the plane but the image degrades so much it doesn't tell you any more
  11. Hello. I'm usually in WW2 so this is my first time here. This is a bit of a long shot. Below is a photograph from my village in South Yorkshire. It's not dated but I could be WW1 or a few years after. Can anyone identify the aircraft? Poor resolution I know but any ideas would be welcome. Many thanks.
  12. Many thanks. I always pick a tricky one. Think I’ll go with Denys Gillam’s QJ W. On 15 August Gillam was credited with a Ju 88 shot down five miles off Flamborough Head.
  13. On this day Sgt James Hopewell was credited with Ju88a1 4D+DR that came down north of Bridlington. 616 codes were QJ at the time but does anyone know the individual code letter for his Spitfire? Many thanks in advance.
  14. Does anyone know of photographic evidence of the kit subject R4+LK ? One profile I’ve seen (I know don’t trust a profile) shows this in a possible scheme of splinter RLM 70 Schwarzgrun/RLM 71 Dunkelgrun on the upper surfaces. Wouldn’t mind a bash at that if it could have been a possibility. Many thanks
  15. That is truly world-beating rivet action!
  16. Which do you reckon was the most heavily riveted Airfix kit? The one that sticks in my mind is the P40 Kittyhawk. Even as a kid I knew there was something wrong there...
  17. Wow! Many thanks for this. I will have to go back to the museum and photograph this. all I can say -relying on memory - is that DO BERLIN looked like it was un-retouched. Also the 'puss in boots' character - again as far as I remember - is wearing a Polish beret. (My father was in II Polish Corp and I have photographs of him in a similar beret.)
  18. Thanks for that! Yes the 301 Squadron site shows nothing, although one Wellington carries a witch that looks like it may be from the same artist. Regarding 'Berlin', the nose art at Hendon reads DO BERLIN without the 'a.' Maybe the crew were getting anglicised. Strangely the Model Makers Decal sheet has TO BERLIN
  19. At Hendon last year I came across a piece of nose art on a wall. Alongside a polish chequerboard is a ‘puss in boots’ character brandishing a sword while riding a bomb with the inscription 'Do Berlin!’ It had no explanatory caption. Despite much searching I couldn’t find a photo of any aircraft carrying this nose art. Then I came across a Model Makers Wellington decal sheet that shows the aircraft as 301 Squadron GR-O serial Z1259. This Wellington was flown by F/O Mieczysław Stachiewicz who sadly died of Coronovirus this April at the grand old age of 102. Questions… 1. I’ve seen a photo of GR-O (Hemswell 1942) but not from the side that carried the nose art as described above. Does anyone have photographic evidence of the nose art on the aircraft? 2. I was thinking of modelling this using the Airfix kit but GR -O was a Mk IV. I think that would mean finding a couple of Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines, but are there any other differences? Many thanks if you can help with this.
  20. Ground crew on Polish squadrons were Polish as they all come across at the same time. Took then a while to adapt to English technical manuals etc but as far as I know 303s would have been Polish
  21. This must have been covered before but I was wondering about the red diagonal fuselage band on at least two of 303s Hurricanes in 1940. RF-J (V6665) and RF-A (P3120) Theory 1 – this was a squadron/section leader marking carried over from Poland. Theory 2 – This was an experimental ID marking requested by the British. (Think someone has documentation to back this up) If a non -specific order was given to put a red band around the fuselage I suppose the ground crew would have carried it out in the same style as they had done in Poland. But bearing in mind the high-viz Luftwaffe yellow ID why choose red? Doesn’t stand out too well I’d have thought. And did this experiment lead to the sky band of December 1940?
  22. Yes, I did wonder if it was reversed in France as a sign Poland wasn’t free. It was the variation in Britain that confused me. I suppose there were a lot more things to worry about at the time but I know there’s a Polish tendency to be accurate about these things – my father was Polish! As JWM shows most were correct orientation but even within squadrons you can’t be sure - Tadeusz Schiele’s Spitfire V of 308 has ‘French style.’ I’m just finishing 307 Defiant EW H. Not finding any actual photos I followed the instructions on the Model Maker Decals, then realised this was ‘French style’ when all other 307 Defiants are correct. No doubt ‘H’ was as well but I can’t be sure. Many thanks for your help and best to rely on photos I suppose.
  23. The Polish chequerboard. In 1939 the red square is always at top left. In Morane/ Caudron photos from 1940 the red square is top right. In Britain it varies. Is there a correct orientation for the chequerboard? I’d imagine it should be as 1939 but why did it change in France? Many thanks
  24. Thanks for that! I've just found photos of the G-2. I know you can't trust a profile but there are just to many North African 109s with that yellow recognition marking for it to have been a repeated mistake.
  25. Yes white nose tail wing tips and fuselage band. But lots of profiles and decal sheets show a yellow lower nose. Haven't found any colour desert shots - well at least ones not colourised.
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