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Geoffrey Sinclair

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  1. First unit issued to other than initial delivery to Maintenance Unit, also second unit if there was a quick reassignment, and when officially lost. Issue dates generally seem similar to other Hurricanes with nearby serials. Some of the entries are hard to read, so if people have better dates please post them. P3714, 253 Sqn 12 June 1940, 1 CRU?/4 MU 4? September 1940, later became mark II DR341, Russia P3715, 238 Sqn 18 June 1940, 19 MU 20 Jun 1940, 242 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 30 Jun 1943 P3716, 229 Sqn 4 June 1940, 15 MU 2 July 1940, SOC 1 Apr 1942 P3717, 238 Sqn 18 June 1940, 19 MU 20 June 1940, 253 Sqn 13 July 1940, later became mark II DR348, Russia P3737, 605 Sqn 3 July 1940, SOC 1 November 1940 P3738, RAF Station? ?llck 5 July 1940, 232 Sqn 21 July 1940, SOC 22 Sep 1940 P3739, Transferred from 22 to 5 MU 16 August 1940, 141 Sqn 20 August 1940, SOC 16 March 1942 P3755, 87 Sqn 25 June 1940, SOC 27 December 1940 P3757, 1 RCAF Sqn 26 June 1940 P3758, 73 Sqn 21 June 1940, SOC 2 September 1940. P3759, 245 Sqn 26 June 1940, became mark II DR349, Russia. P3760, CFF 11 June 1940, SOC 19 August 1940 P3761, 245 Sqn 26 June 1940, SOC 29 December 1941 P3767, 238 Sqn 11 July 1940, 263 Sqn 15 JUly 1940, SOC 1 April 1941 P3768, transferred from 20 to 47 MU 14 August 1940, Middle East, "Unknown Destination" 9 November 1940 P3770, 3 Sqn 11 July 1940, 504 Sqn 16 August 1940, SOC 11 September 1940. P3771, 3 Sqn 11 July 1940, Rolls Royce 20 July 1940, SOC 31 May 1943 P3772, 3 Sqn 12 July 1940, 504 Sqn 14 September 1940, SOC 27 May 1941 P3773, 3 Sqn 11 July 1940, no further information P3774, 3 Sqn 12 July 1940, 504 Sqn 14 September 1940, SOC 21 September 1940 P3854, 7 OTU 17 June 1940, 5 OTU 13 August 1940, SOC 22 May 1941 P3858, 1 RCAF Sqn 26 June 1940, SOC 18 September 1940 P3859, 1 RCAF Sqn 26 June 1940, SOC 19 September 1940 P3860, 607 Sqn 4 July 1940, SOC 8 October 1940 P3861, 249 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 5 March 1945 P3862, 249 Sqn 13 July 1940, CAT E 30 May 1944 P3863, 73 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC June 1944 P3864, 242 Sqn 13 July 1940, AMDP 19 August 1940, 242 Sqn 25 August 1940, SOC 17 January 1941 P3865, 73 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 23 September 1940 P3866, 249 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 12 May 1941 P3867, 302 Sqn 27 July 1940, SOC 4 March 1941 P3868, 249 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 13 September 1942 P3869, 1 RCAF Sqn 22 July 1940, SOC 31 August 1940 P3872, 1 RCAF Sqn 30 June 1940, SOC 2 November 1940 P3873, 1 RCAF Sqn 30 July 1940, SOC 10 October 1940 P3874, 1 RCAF Sqn 30 July 1940, SOC 2 September 1940 P3875, 111 Sqn 18 July 1940, SOC 2 September 1940 P3882, 151 Sqn 2 July 1940, SOC 30 September 1940 P3883, 1 RACF Sqn 11 July 1940, SOC 19 November 1940 P3884, 601 Sqn 12 July 1940, SOC 31 December 1946 P3885, 601 Sqn 12 July 1940, SOC 13 August 1940 P3886, 601 Sqn 12 July 1940, SOC 28 September 1944 P3887, 310 Sqn 19 July 1940, SOC 1 September 1940 P3888, 310 Sqn 19 July 1940, SOC 11 September 1940 P3889, 310 Sqn 19 July 1940, SOC 1 November 1940 P3890, 257 Sqn 9 August 1940, 303 Sqn 10 August 1940, SOC 8 September 1940 P3897, 1 Sqn 12 August 1940, SOC 11 September 1940 P8816, 501 Sqn 7 August 1940, SOC 26 November 1940 P8817, Transferred from 5 to 50? MU 22 August 1940, sold to South Africa the same day. P8818, 601 Sqn 25 July 1940, SOC 23 September 1940 R2680, 238 Sqn 7 August 1940, SOC 27 April 1943 R2681, 238 Sqn 8 August 1940, SOC 27 November 1944 V7200, 79 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 14? September? 1940? V7201, 46 Sqn 12 July 1940, CAT E 27 May 1944 V7202, 46 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 31 December 1940 V7203, 242 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 30 January 1941 V7204, 87 Sqn 13 July 1940, SOC 4 January 1941 V7205, 32 Sqn 24 July 1940, SOC 12 August 1940 V7206, 43 Sqn 23 July 1940, SOC 27 January 1941 V7207, 87 Sqn 13 July 1940, To FAA, Cat E 13 October 1944 V7208, 213 Sqn 23 July 1940, SOC 28 September 1944 V7209, 73 Sqn 23 July 1940, Robin Sites? (Ship name?) 8 April 1941 V7222, 111 Sqn 14 August 1940, 13 MU 27 August 1940 for repairs, SOC 22 November 1942 V7224, 213 Sqn 14 August 1940, CAT E 30 September 1943 V7225, 87 Sqn 14 August 1940, SOC 26 August 1941 V7226, 87? Sqn 12 Aug 1940, 213 Sqn same day, SOC 30 September 1940 V7227, 87 Sqn 13 August 1940, 213 Sqn 13 August 1940, SOC 22 August 1940 V7228, 87 Sqn 13 August 1940, 213 Sqn same day, SOC August 1940 V7229, 601 Sqn 9 July 1940, no loss date given V7230, 501 Sqn 3 August 1940, SOC 4 January 1941 V7231, 87 Sqn 29 July 1940, SOC 13 August 1940 V7232, 46 Sqn 29 July 1940, SOC 11 Oct 1940 V7233, 87 Sqn 29 July 1940, SOC 13 August 1940 V7234, 501 Sqn 3 August 1940, converted to Mark II DG617 V7235, 267 Sqn 9 August 1940, 303 Sqn 10 August 1940, SOC 31 May 1941 V7276, transferred from 5 to 47 MU 3 August 1940, South Africa 20 August 1940 V7281, transferred from 5 to 47 MU 7 August 1940, South Africa 20 August 1940 Early Hurricane contracts summary, when some orders were still being fulfilled, numbers ordered and built Requisition \ Contract \ Maker \ Order \ I \ II \ IIA \ IIB \ IIC \ Sea \ Notes 26/36 \ 527112/36 \ Hawker \ 580 \ 580 \ \ \ \ \ \ Includes 60 for other governments. Completed 8 Nov 1939 215/38 \ 966177/38 \ Hawker \ 20 \ 20 \ \ \ \ \ \ For Canada, originally part of contract 527112/36 195/38 \ B19773/39 \ Gloster \ 100 \ 100 \ \ \ \ \ \ Completed 9 Aug 1940 195/38 \ 962371/38 \ Gloster \ 500 \ 500 \ \ \ \ \ \ Completed 13 Jul 1940 195/38 \ 962371/38 \ Hawker \ 292 \ 292 \ \ \ \ \ \ Brooklands, completed 20 Jul 1940 195/38 \ 962371/38 \ Hawker \ 232 \ 232 \ \ \ \ \ \ Langley, completed 17 Jul 1940 56/38 \ 751458/38 \ Hawker \ 300 \ 300 \ \ \ \ \ \ Includes 12 for other governments. Completed 15 Feb 1940 239/38 \ 964753/38 \ CCF \ 40 \ 40 \ \ \ \ \ \ Completed 2 Aug 1940 5/E1/39 \ B85730/40 \ Gloster \ 1700 \ 1250 \ \ 33 \ 417 \ \ \ Ordered as 500 then an extra 1,200 7/E1/39 \ B62305/39 \ Hawker \ 3738 \ 500 \ \ 429 \ 1138 \ 1671 \ \ Original order for 2,679 a/c? 11/E1/40 \ B62305/39 \ Hawker \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ Aircraft counted In previous line, this order for 1,059 a/c? 4/E1/40 \ B158177/40 \ Gloster \ 450 \ \ \ \ 450 \ \ \ In summary card as 720 aircraft but 270 cancelled 8/E1/39 \ SB6648 \ CCF \ 560 \ 386 \ 174 \ \ \ \ \ 1/E1/41 \ SB6648? \ CCF \ 200 \ \ 150 \ \ \ \ 50 \ Some contract card summaries say order was 50 I and 150 II. 5/E1/40 \ B124304/40 \ Austin \ 300 \ \ \ \ 300 \ \ \ All \ All \ Totals \ 9012 \ 4200 \ 324 \ 462 \ 2305 \ 1671 \ 50 \ All \ All \ Hawker \ 5162 \ 1924 \ \ 429 \ 1138 \ 1671 \ \ Delivery logs totals are 1924 I, 418 IIA, 1768 IIB, 1008 IIC, 44 IID All \ All \ Gloster \ 2750 \ 1850 \ \ 33 \ 867 \ \ \ Delivery logs agree with contract card summary All \ All \ Austin \ 300 \ \ \ \ 300 \ \ \ Delivery logs agree with contract card summary All \ All \ CCF \ 800 \ 426 \ 324 \ \ \ \ 50 \ The data without column markers, Requisition Contract Maker Order I II IIA IIB IIC Sea Notes 26/36 527112/36 Hawker 580 580 Includes 60 for other governments. Completed 8 Nov 1939 215/38 966177/38 Hawker 20 20 For Canada, originally part of contract 527112/36 195/38 B19773/39 Gloster 100 100 Completed 9 Aug 1940 195/38 962371/38 Gloster 500 500 Completed 13 Jul 1940 195/38 962371/38 Hawker 292 292 Brooklands, completed 20 Jul 1940 195/38 962371/38 Hawker 232 232 Langley, completed 17 Jul 1940 56/38 751458/38 Hawker 300 300 Includes 12 for other governments. Completed 15 Feb 1940 239/38 964753/38 CCF 40 40 Completed 2 Aug 1940 5/E1/39 B85730/40 Gloster 1700 1250 33 417 Ordered as 500 then an extra 1,200 7/E1/39 B62305/39 Hawker 3738 500 429 1138 1671 Original order for 2,679 a/c? 11/E1/40 B62305/39 Hawker Aircraft counted In previous line, this order for 1,059 a/c? 4/E1/40 B158177/40 Gloster 450 450 In summary card as 720 aircraft but 270 cancelled 8/E1/39 SB6648 CCF 560 386 174 1/E1/41 SB6648? CCF 200 150 50 Some contract card summaries say order was 50 I and 150 II. 5/E1/40 B124304/40 Austin 300 300 All All Totals 9012 4200 324 462 2305 1671 50 All All Hawker 5162 1924 429 1138 1671 Delivery logs totals are 1924 I, 418 IIA, 1768 IIB, 1008 IIC, 44 IID All All Gloster 2750 1850 33 867 Delivery logs agree with contract card summary All All Austin 300 300 Delivery logs agree with contract card summary All All CCF 800 426 324 50 Geoffrey Sinclair
  2. Nachtjagd War Diaries by Theo Boiten gives full RAF aircraft details, but usually only the Luftwaffe pilot and unit, matching Bomber Command Losses to Luftwaffe kill claims. I do not know of any encounters between RAF bombers and Sturmstaffel aircraft. Forgot to originally add Jagdgeschwader 300 by Jean-Yves Lorant and Richard Goyat, two volumes, the first of which covers to September 1944. Geoffrey Sinclair
  3. Yes, P3886 was built with fabric wings. In theory N2426 was the last mark I rolled out of Hawker Brooklands with fabric wings, taken on charge 26 October 1939. Then came the emergency of mid 1940. So from early June 1940 and into July a number of Brooklands built Hurricanes are marked as having Fabric Wings in the RAF contract cards, namely P3714 to P3717, P3737 to P3739, P3755, P3757 to P3761, P3767, P3768, P3770 to P3774, P3854, P3858 to P3869, P3872 to P3875, P3882 to P3890, P3897, P8816 to P8818, R2680, R2681, V7200 to V7209, V7222, V7224 to V7235, V7276, V7281. P3886 arrived at 10 MU 24 June 1940, 601 Squadron 12 July 1940, 50 (MU?) 43 Group 9 December 1940, (unreadable) SAS 11 December 1940, 25 MU 23 December 1940, 1 Squadron 2 February 1941, 59 OTU 14 March 1941, Arrived India 19 April? 1944, SOC 25 September 1944. Battle of Britain Then and Now has P3886 damaged on 26 July 1940 with 601 squadron, due to engine trouble. Geoffrey Sinclair
  4. Thanks Ewen for the photographs, showing the Spitfire from Furious clearly survived the Indomitable experience. Then comes where it was unloaded. Assuming in Gibraltar it requires a serial that appears there without any details of the ship it was carried in. EN981 is marked as Malta 11 September 1942 in the Delivery Logs and lost 31 January 1943, while EN976, 978, 979 and 980 are marked Malta 12 June 1942, and their histories say they were shipped on Empire Shackleton and Guido. EN981 aircraft history says 38MU 23-5-42 82MU 7-7-42 Gibraltar 29-9-42 Destroyed in air raid SOC 31-1-43. The Spitfire shipment to Gibraltar marked as to/in A6017/SS612 is reported to have arrived 27 September and totals 19 aircraft, meaning EN981 is needed to match the reported September exports to the Mediterranean area. There is no mention of EN981 in the lists of Spitfires that served with the Malta based squadrons. As listed Furious loaded EP serial Spitfires in Britain, usually noted in the Delivery Logs dated early August 1942 So maybe EN981 was on Furious and then Indomitable but more likely on a merchant ship. No other obvious candidates either listed as to Gibraltar or to Malta.
  5. The amended story. Operation Spotter/Quarter (the second being the RAF name) 16 Spitfires were loaded on the Cape Hawke which departed Britain 10 February, arriving Gibraltar 23 February. February 1942 exports of Spitfires to Mediterranean official total 16. HMS Eagle first fly off attempt sailed 27 February returning the next day due to defects in the Spitfire long range fuel tanks. One Spitfire may have been cannibalised for spares. Operation Spotter, HMS Eagle sailed on 6 March and the fly off was on the 7th. 15 Spitfires, all arrived. HMS Eagle returned to Gibraltar on the 8th. Spitfire serials, "Spotter", AB262, AB264, AB329 to AB338, AB341, AB343, AB344, AB346 (AB333 unserviceable, to operation Picket), total 15 Operation Picket/Scantling, 16 Spitfires were loaded on the Queen Victoria which departed Britain 4 March, arriving Gibraltar 14 March. March 1942 exports of Spitfires to Mediterranean official total 16. Operation Picket, which became Picket I when some of the navigation aircraft did not appear, HMS Eagle sailed on 20 March, probably with 16 Spitfires on board, and the fly off was on the 21st, 9 Spitfires, all arrived, the fleet returning to Gibraltar on the 23rd. Operation Picket II, HMS Eagle sailed on 27 March, 7 or 8 Spitfires on board, 7 were flown off on the 29th. This left 1 Spitfire in Gibraltar, being AB500, the only one of the Queen Victoria shipment that lasted past 9 May, the date of Operation Bowery, the next delivery of Spitfires to Malta from Gibraltar. Spitfire Serials, "Picket I", AB333, AB340, AB342, AB454, BP844, BP845, BP846, BP849, BP850, "Picket II" AB263, AB347, AB348, AB418, AB419, AB420, AB451. Picket I aircraft are those reported as being part of the operation and/or, or on Malta before Picket II on March 29. The Spitfires on USS Wasp during operations Calendar and Bowery. Operation Calendar, USS Wasp arrived at Glasgow on 10 April, loaded 52 Spitfires on 13 April and departed the UK on 14 April, flying 47 of them off on 20 April, returning 5 to Britain, arriving back at Scapa Flow on 26 April. Operation Bowery, USS Wasp arrived at Glasgow on 29 April, loaded 47 Spitfires and departed the UK on 3 May, flying them off on 9 May, recovering one, BR126, that had a problem and later flying it off to Gibraltar. In addition to the USS Wasp shipments 28 Spitfires loaded on Empire Heath and 4 on Guido sailed as part of convoy OG.82 on 8 April, arriving Gibraltar on 20 April. The April 1942 exports of Spitfires to Mediterranean official total is 79 (47+32). Another 32 Spitfires were on Empire Conrad which departed Milford Haven on 20 May, arriving Gibraltar on 27 May and 32 more on Hopetarn (ship name is given as Hopetown or Hope Farm in some of the aircraft histories), departing Liverpool 26 May, arriving Gibraltar 2 June. The May 1942 exports of Spitfires to the Mediterranean official total is 111 (47+32+32). HMS Eagle loaded 17 of the Spitfires at Gibraltar and joined Wasp on 8 May, all 17 arrived in Malta. Since this is an attempt to reconstruct the Operations Calendar and Wasp lists there is no guarantee it is complete, it requires correct interpretation of accurate documents, any contributions are welcome. There is a certain amount here of working backwards from the known solution. To find the candidates for Spitfires loaded onto USS Wasp all Malta Spitfires whose history does not mention a ship and a) reports being at RAF Abbotsinch or Renfrew before 30 April, or b) are on Malta by end June 1942, or c) have a delivery log entry of Malta in April or May 1942, or d) have loss dates before August 1942 or e) are mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year before August. Plus the following 3 Spitfires, BR122, FF 19-3-42 39MU 24-3-42 82MU 26-3-42 Takoradi 8-4-42 126S 'O' Abandoned over sea N of Malta 9-8-42 SOC 10-8-42 is included. Despite the reference to Takoradi, which is also in the Delivery Logs, it is first mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year on 15 June. Reported to have served with 126 and 601 Squadrons, so it is included here. BP978, has a problematic history in the online records, FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 47MU 17-4-42 Malta 7-5-42 SOC 16-5-42 Middle East 145S FAC2 17-12-42 Malta 1-8-43 Hit trees attacking MT Fier Albania 18-11-43. It is possible the details of BP977 at Malta have been added to BP978, which was then simply sent to the Middle East. BP978 is not in Spitfires Over Malta or Malta: The Spitfire Year, it is in Brian Cull’s book on 249 Squadron as T-O/GN-O, but this could be post 1942 service. It is included here. BP866, FF 27-2-42 AAEE 28-2-42 comparison trop trials AB320 with 90gal overload tank 29MU 15-3-42 Malta 1-5-43 185S Malta FAC2 18-3-44 SOC 28-4-45. It is first mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year on 17 October, which would indicate the 1-5-43 entry in the history is actually 1-5-42, it is reported to have served with 126, 185, 229 and 1435 squadrons and so is included here. Operation Calendar/Newman. Spitfires that were at Abbotsinch on or before 12 April or have loss dates before 9 May are considered to be Calendar aircraft BP874, BP954, BP955, BP956**, BP958 (Flew to North Africa), BP961**, BP962, BP963, BP964, BP965**, BP966*, BP967**, BP968, BP969, BP970, BP973, BP974, BP975, BP976, BP977**, BP979*, BR112*, BR116, BR117*, BR120, BR121**, BR123**, BR124, BR125, BR126, BR129, BR176, BR180, BR182**, BR183, BR184, BR187, BR188, BR190, BR192, BR194**, BR195*, BR196*, BR199, BR203*, BR204, BR226, BR227*, BR242* and BR246*, total 50. * Not mentioned before Operation Bowery, ** not mentioned in Malta the Spitfire Year, while BP956, BP967, BR123 and BR182 do not appear in the lists of Spitfires operated by the Malta based squadrons. The two additional Spitfires are BR127, mentioned in Malta the Spitfire Year as being on Wasp for Operation Calendar while BR185 is reported at Malta on 28 April, making a total of 52. The following 3 Spitfires are Calendar aircraft that returned, based on their histories of a trip to Abbotsinch that ended up in a UK Maintenance Unit after Wasp returned BP977 FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 39MU 25-4-42 Malta 8-6-42 601S FACB 26-6-42 Middle East 1-7-42 NWAfricanAF 1-11-43. This assumes the 39 MU date is out by a day or the Spitfire flown off Wasp before it docked, and it was then used on Operation Bowery. BR195 FF 26-3-42 8MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 6-4-42 ff Malta Scottish Aviation 2-5-42 82MU 1-10-42 Heribonaka 30-10-42 Takoradi 1-12-42 Middle East 31-12-42 NAfrica 30-11-43 MedAAF 30-6-45 to RHAF 27-9-45 BR246 FF 2-4-42 8MU 3-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 12-4-42 47MU 3-5-42 Empire Conrad 10-6-42 Malta 249S Engine cut on convoy patrol ditched off Malta 13-8-42 SOC 14-8-42 FH35.15 The other two returned Spitfires were BP965 which was lost on Operation Bowery and BR126 which landed back on USS Wasp on Operation Bowery. Operation Bowery/Oppidan (http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/020718g.pdf). The Spitfires on USS Wasp for Operation Bowery were BP866, BP965 (Lost on flight to Malta), BP971 (Lost on flight to Malta), BP972*, BP977*, BP978*, BP980, BP989, BP990, BP991, BP992, BP993, BR122, BR126 (Landed back on Wasp), BR128, BR130, BR131, BR133*, BR136, BR137, BR161*, BR229, BR244, BR248, BR251, BR282, BR283, BR285, BR290*, BR291, BR292, BR293, BR294, BR300*, BR301, BR303, BR306, BR344, BR345, BR346, BR347, BR348, BR349, BR350, BR352, BR353 and BR354*. *Not mentioned in Malta The Spitfire Year. One Spitfire crashed on take off but no information on the serial number except BR133 is also not mentioned in the lists of Spitfires that served with the Malta squadrons. So two lots of negative evidence. It is the only Spitfire not in one or both of the Spitfire Year and Malta squadrons serials list. Bowery, the Spitfires flown off HMS Eagle. These 17 come from the 32 Spitfires delivered on 20 April 1942 by Guido and Empire Heath to Gibraltar plus AB500 from the Queen Victoria. Six can be definitely confirmed by mentions in Malta the Spitfire Year, and/or their loss date. Almost all the delivery log entries have the date 4 April 1942, 18 of which say Takoradi, but both ships sailed to Gibraltar, loaded cargo from Spanish and/or Portuguese ports then returned to Britain in convoy. Given four of the six confirmed serials have Takoradi in their delivery log entries simply having Malta is not strong enough evidence. The list from Brian Cull, Spitfires over Malta has 15 entries, while missing 2 of the confirmed serials in Spitfire Year. So the working conclusion is the Cull list plus the 2 from Spitfire Year are most likely to be the correct serials. BP870, BP871*, BP872*, BP875, BP877*, BP878, BP950, BP951, BP952*, BP953, BP960, BR106, BR107*, BR108*, BR110, BR111 and BR169. (* in Spitfire Year on or before 17 May, while BR107 and BR169 are not in Cull.) Operation LB/Hansford, 17 Spitfires were loaded onto HMS Eagle at Gibraltar, the fleet sailing on 17 May with all 17 flown off on 19 May and all arriving. This meant all Spitfires shipped to Gibraltar to 17 May, plus the one that landed back on Wasp and transferred to Gibraltar, had been sent to Malta. Spitfire Serials, "LB", AB469, AB500, BP873, BP876, BP957, BR109, BR115, BR119, BR126, BR163, BR165, BR166, BR170, BR173, BR175, BR177 and BR179. Operation Style/? HMS Eagle loaded 31 Spitfires from Empire Conrad at Gibraltar and sailed on 2 June (the day Hopetarn arrived), all 31 flown off on the 3rd, 27 arrived at Malta. BR232, which was on Empire Conrad, was sent to the Middle East, being lost while with 601 Sqn on 6 July 1942, near El Daba, Egypt. Spitfire Serials, "Style", BR198, BR230, BR231, BR246, BR254, BR295, BR305, BR308*, BR311, BR312, BR313*, BR315, BR316, BR317, BR320, BR321, BR322*, BR355*, BR356, BR357, BR358, BR359, BR360, BR362, BR363, BR364, BR377, BR380, BR381, BR383 and BR384, *Shot down on flight to Malta Operation Salient/Maintop HMS Eagle loaded the 32 Spitfires from Hopetarn at Gibraltar and sailed on 8 June, all 32 flown off on the 9th, all arrived at Malta. Spitfire Serials, "Salient", AB464, AB465, BP860, BP861, BP867, BP868, BP869, BR233, BR323, BR324, BR325, BR327, BR328, BR365, BR366, BR367, BR368, BR379, BR382, BR385, BR387, BR388, BR459, BR460, BR461, BR463, BR464, BR465, BR562, BR564, BR565 and BR566 Convoy OG.85, departed Liverpool 13 June, arrived Gibraltar 25 June, included Empire Shackleton with 18 Spitfires, Guido with 12 Spitfires, Lublin with 2 Spitfires, total 32. Convoy OG.86 departed Liverpool 2 July, arrived Gibraltar 14 July, included Empire Darwin 22 Spitfire, Empire Kestrel 4 Spitfire, Empire Tern 6 Spitfires, total 32. The aircraft histories say 2 Spitfires on Empire Gem, but it was sunk in January off North America, they are assumed to be on Empire Tern. All up 64 Spitfires, but official exports for the month to the Mediterranean were 60, Empire Kestrel being officially loaded in July. A Special Erection Party was established at Gibraltar in July 1942 to assemble and test fly aircraft crated from Britain by sea for the reinforcement of Malta Operation Pinpoint/Colima HMS Eagle loaded the 32 Spitfires from OG.85 and sailed on 14 July, the day OG.86 arrived, flying off all 32 on 17 July, 31 arrived in Malta, the fleet returned to Gibraltar on the 16th. Spitfire Serials, "Pinpoint", AB520, AB531, AB532, AR464, AR489, BR373, BR374, BR375, BR376, EN829, EN954, EN955, EN968, EN972, EN973, EN976, EN978, EN979, EN980, EP117 (crashed on take off), EP122, EP131, EP132, EP135, EP136, EP137, EP138, EP139, EP140, EP190, EP196 and EP200. Malta The Spitfire Year reports EP200 present on Malta on 13 and 14 July as GL-T. Operation Insect/Knapsack HMS Eagle loaded 31 Spitfires from OG.86 and sailed on 20 July, flying off all 31 on 21 July, 30 arrived in Malta. EP195, shipped on Empire Kestrel, was reported to be still at Gibraltar on 31 December 1942, there is a report some Spitfires in OG.86 suffered damage in transit. Spitfire Serials, "Insect", AB377, AB526, AB536, BR378 (lost on take off, in Spitfire Year as EP378), EP187, EP189, EP194 (did not take off), EP197, EP201, EP203, EP205, EP207, EP209, EP255, EP257, EP259, EP260, EP290, EP297, EP305, EP306, EP313, EP316, EP330, EP331, EP336, EP338, EP339, EP341, EP343 and EP344. The Empire Clive with 32 Spitfires on board departed Milford Haven on 19 July and arrived Gibraltar on 3 August, official exports for the month to the Mediterranean were 36, the Empire Clive and Empire Kestrel. Operation Bellows/Grinnell, part of the Operation Pedestal Malta convoy. HMS Furious loaded 40 Spitfires in the UK, sailing on 4 August, one Spitfire, EP703, was flown off as a test leaving 39 on board. Official Spitfire exports to the Mediterranean for August were 39. HMS Furious joined convoy WS.21S on 7 August, 38 Spitfires were flown off on 11 August, 1 landed on HMS Indomitable (flight deck 15 feet longer than Wasp, ship 1 knot faster) reportedly slightly damaged (into barrier?), subsequent fate unclear (pushed over the side?), 37 arrived at Malta, Furious arrived at Gibraltar on 12 August, presumably unloading the unserviceable Spitfire there, later fate unclear ,the candidate for this is EP697 which does not appear to have served at Malta, Struck off Charge on 4 November, so before Operation Torch. HMS Indomitable was damaged by 2 hits and 3 near misses by 500 kg bombs on the 12th, whether the Spitfire survived is unclear and, if it did, where it was unloaded is also unclear, the reported pilot, Sgt. A.B. Stead flew a Spitfire to Malta as part of Operation Baritone. The selection of Spitfire serials for Operation Bellows uses RAF Delivery Log entries for Malta on 4 August 1942, and no mention of a ship name in the aircraft histories, which gives 35 serials, plus one where the date is 2 August and two where the loss date is 17 August, for a total of 38 out of the 40 loaded in Britain. Spitfire Serials, "Bellows", EP310, EP410, EP448, EP457*, EP459, EP467, EP471, EP472, EP517, EP519, EP521, EP541, EP546*, EP550, EP553, EP554, EP663, EP669, EP685, EP691, EP695, EP696, EP697, EP698, EP700, EP701, EP703 (flown off as test), EP706, EP708, EP709, EP711, EP712, EP714, EP716, EP717, EP718, EP722, EP727 plus 2 more currently unknown. *Reported in the RAF Delivery Logs as lost on 17 August 1942. Also EP561 and EP786 were at Abbotsinch on 31 July, to 82 MU 4 September and 82 MU 19 September respectively, and so could replace EP703 as the test aircraft. EP703 history: 38MU 27-7-42 RAF Abbotsinch 3-8-42 SEU FACB 19-9-42 Scottish Aviation 215MU 31-7-43 SS732 5-8-43 Casablanca 18-8-43 Middle East 31-1-45 SOC 16-1-46. Marked as Malta 4 August 1942 in RAF Delivery Logs. EP561 is Gibraltar 16 October 1942, EP786 in Middle East Takoradi 1 October 1942 in the Delivery Logs. Operation Baritone/Headlong HMS Furious loaded 31 Spitfires from Empire Clive and EP194 from Empire Darwin, Operation Insect, sailing on 16 August, flying the aircraft off on 17 August, 1 was lost on take off, 2 had to be abandoned and 1 did not take off due to an injured pilot, 28 arrived at Malta, the fleet returning to Gibraltar on the 18th. This means one of the Empire Clive shipment was left at Gibraltar and one was returned from Operation Baritone, these two being EP412 and EP551, neither of which have records of service with units at Malta. EP412 went into service with Gibraltar based 520 Squadron, EP551 is reported lost on operations 15 January 1943. Spitfire Serials, "Baritone", AR466, AR470, AR471, AR488, AR497, BR236, BR482, BR486, BR488, BR496, BR498, BR529, BR534, BR591, BS160, BS161, BS168, EP152 (Abandoned), EP186, EP188, EP194 (Lost on take off), EP199, EP329, EP332, EP340, EP345, EP412*, EP551*, EP573, EP606 (Abandoned), EP612, EP619 and EP621. * one of these did not sail on Furious and was returned to Gibraltar after its intended pilot was injured in the crash of EP194. Official Exports of Spitfires to the Mediterranean were 91 in September (28 on the Empire Cabot, 27 on the Empire Franklin, 16 on the Empire Heath, 19 to destination A6107 and 1 on SS612 (both A6107 and SS621 arriving Gibraltar 27 September 1942)) and 282 in October 1942. Operation Train: HMS Furious arrived in Gibraltar on 25 October to load 31 of them, sailing on 28 October, flying 29 of the Spitfires off on 29 October, all arrived at Malta. Direct flights between Gibraltar and Malta by Spitfire V fighters had already begun. The https://maltagc70.wordpress.com/ reports non carrier borne Spitfire fighter arrivals as 2 from Gibraltar 25 October, 5 from Gibraltar 6 November, 3 from Gibraltar 8 November, 2 from Gibraltar 13 November, 1 from Gibraltar 14 November, 2 from Gibraltar 20 November plus 1 from Algier-Bone 21 November and 1 from Benina 1 December. So as of the final third of November Middle East Spitfires were able to fly direct to Malta and by early 1943 the arrivals included some mark IX. Malta the Spitfire Year reports the 25 October Spitfires delivered were mark Vc, flown by Flt Lt John Henry Bateman Burgess and Flt Sgt L.G. Pow RCAF, 2 machine guns retained and 15 more were sent with EP724 lost 14 November, so a total of 17. The book A History of the Mediterranean Air War Volume 2 reports probably around 19 November, Squadron Leader Adrian Warburton flew a Spitfire fighter from Gibraltar to Malta, shooting down a Ju88 on the way. The British Aircraft Export Report says 15 Spitfire Fighters did the journey, all arriving, 2 in week ending 30 October, 10 in Week ending 6 November and 3 in week ending 20 November, total 15, not quite agreement with the daily reports from the Maltagc web site. It is possible Spitfire Year is counting the arrivals from North Africa. 15 is the total used here. Spitfire Serials, Operation Train (which seems to have the same name for both the RN and RAF) and the direct flights. Further research will be needed to separate the Spitfires that flew direct from those that came from HMS Furious along with the two that did not take off from Furious and were presumably returned to Gibraltar, plus confirm the ones selected here. Almost all of the November exports of Spitfires to Gibraltar had arrived before HMS Furious and the remainder had arrived before the carrier sailed. The selection criteria used here are as follows, being reported in Malta on 1 November of 1 December, lost on or around Malta to March 1943 and/or reports of service with several of the Malta based squadrons. Essentially the list is a best estimate. Reported as on Malta 1 November, AB535, AR551, AR556, AR559, AR560, AR565, AR595, EP433, EP473, EP520, EP567, EP622, EP652, EP720, EP721, EP728, EP790, EP791, EP818, EP835, EP842 and EP843 total 22. Reported as on Malta 1 December, EP404, EP436, EP444, EP658, EP833, EP834, EP844, EP915 and ER647, total 9. AR496 Malta 18 Dec AR561 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Malta 1435S Abandoned after bomb hung up 1m S of Kalafrana 30-1-43 SOC 1-2-43 FH75.30. EP460 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Malta Ran out of fuel and ditched off Malta 18-1-43 FH49.15, 229 Sqn EP557 Gibraltar 1-11-42 Abandoned on convoy patrol 13-12-42, 249 Sqn EP609 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Lost height on overshoot and crashed Hal Far C3 8-11-42 SOC 9-11-42, 185 Sqn EP641 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Missing from ground attack mission nr Scicli Sicily 15-2-43 SOC 17-2-43 FH77.20, 229 Sqn EP823 Lost off Malta 19 November, 185 Sqn EP828 Probable, given reported service with 126, 249 and 1435 Sqns, but no dates EP832 Crashed off Malta 23 Nov, 229 Sqn EP955 Missing off Malta 17 Oct, the month is clearly wrong, assumed Nov or Dec 42. 229 Sqn EP965 Gibraltar 1-11-42 241S Crashed Hal Far C3 25-3-43, 249, 601 Sqn, 241 Sqn Western Desert had Mark Vc from Feb 43. ER226 Gibraltar 1-11-42 C2 ops 12-11-42 NAfricanASC 31-10-43 Middle East 21-6-45 SOC 29-8-46, 229, 249, 601 Sqn ER641 Gibraltar 9-11-42 India 1-12-42 NWAfrica Missing from sweep over Sicily 28-2-43, 229 Sqn BS511, EN113 mark IX reported sent to Malta 14 Dec 1942. The PR Spitfires that served in the Middle East mostly to all ferried through Malta and some were sent to Malta from the Middle East. The following PR.IV are reported to have served with 69 Sqn, AB300, BP885, BP908, BP911, BP915, BR424, BR431, BR653, BR662, BR663, BS359 and BS367. In the Delivery Logs BS500 has Malta but no dates. And the following have Malta with dates in the period November 1942 to February 1943, BR656, EN153, BS495, AB310, BS359, BR647, BP905 and BS496. The following have Malta and Middle East mentioned in that order with dates of 6 and 7 November 1942, BR424, BS367, BS364, BR426, BR646 and BS358. H. M. SHIPS DAMAGED OR SUNK BY ENEMY ACTION 3rd. SEPT. 1939 to 2nd. SEPT. 1945 Published in 1952 as C.B.4273 (52), security level confidential. INDOMITABLE, 12th August 1942, D.N.C 4B/R123. Two Direct Hits and three Near Misses with 500 kgm delay action fuzed Bombs. Time out of action: 6 months INDOMITABLE was subjected to an attack by enemy aircraft while operating South West of Sicily at 20 knots. Hit No. 1 landed near the forward lift and perforated the upper gallery deck and exploded above the upper hangar deck. A hole 20 ft. by 12 ft. was blown in the upper gallery deck and one 20 ft. by 28 ft. in the upper hangar deck. Severe structural and splinter damage was caused between the flight and lower gallery decks and inboard to the middle line. The forward lift canted up 5 ft. on the starboard side. There was a minor fire in the hangar and the R.U. ammunition to 'A' 1 and 'A' 2 4.5 inch guns ignited. Hit No. 2 landed abaft the after lift, perforated the upper gallery deck, and exploded just above the upper hangar deck. The upper gallery for a width of 20 ft. and the upper hangar for 16 ft. were destroyed and a large hole was blown in the flight deck. The lower gallery deck and the lift structure sustained minor damage. A small fire was started near the torpedo body room but the warheads were undamaged. Near Miss No. 1 grazed the port pom-pom director and exploded 5 ft. from the hull at the upper hangar deck level. The side plating between the lower and upper gallery decks was destroyed. Structural and splinter damage extended for 52 ft. inboard. Near Miss No. 2 exploded 25 ft. underwater to port abreast C.2 O.F. tank. The ship's side was blown in over an area of 40 ft. by 20 ft. and minor internal damage was sustained. The wing compartments in the vicinity of the explosion were flooded causing a heel of 8 degrees to port. This was corrected by counter flooding. Near Miss No. 3 exploded underwater off the port quarter causing minor structural damage and a few splinter holes through the hull above the waterline. Fighting Efficiency - Seriously impaired, The forward lift, 'A' 1 and 'A' 2 4.5 inch mountings and 'B' director were out of action. The after lift was temporarily out of action. Geoffrey Sinclair
  6. Spitfire fighter serials in Malta the Spitfire Year, currently unmatched Help required to confirm correct serials. Date \ Serial \ Possible serial, pilot/sqn reported flying the aircraft on the date 24-Apr-42 \ BR975 \ BP975, "K" Flt Lt Barnham, 249 or 601 sqn 10-Jun-42 \ BR309 \ BR300, 249 Sqn "W", Wt Off Gray, aircraft crashed on landing 5-Jul-42 \ BP887 \ P O Halford, 185 Sqn (BP887 was a PR IV, BP877 reported lost 12 May) 6-Jul-42 \ BR845 \ BP845, F O McLeod (249 sqn?) 7-Jul-42 \ AB562 \ BR562? (1 mention on 7, 2 on 8 July) 7th P O Paul Brennan X-R, 8th P O Hesselyn X-R 7-Jul-42 \ BR378 \ Arrived with or lost on Insect, 21 July. Sdn Ldr Lucas, "V" 8-Jul-42 \ BR223 \ "S" P O McLean 20-Jul-42 \ BR389 \ BR380, 3, 4, 7, 185 Sqn Sgt Parker 21-Jul-42 \ EP378 \ BR378, Sgt L Evans, lost on take off from Eagle 23-Jul-42 \ BR135 \ BR130, 1, 3, 6, 7 (2 mentions on 25 July, 1 on 28), 25th 249 Sqn "Z" Sgt Beurling, 249 Sqn "Z" P.O Round, 28th "Z" P O McElroy 11-Oct-42 \ EN200 \ EP200, 126 Sqn? "Q" Flt Lt Bill Rolls 14-Oct-42 \ EP322 \ EP332, 1435 Sqn "A", Sgt Whitmore (126 Sqn V-A?) 17-Oct-42 \ BP866 \ BP860, 8, 9, P O Seed "Q" Geoffrey Sinclair
  7. Correction to Operation Calendar report, BP965 is the fifth Spitfire to return to the UK on Wasp, since it is confirmed as being lost on Bowery. Operation Bowery, it is assumed the following Spitfires returned to UK in Wasp but then were used for Bowery. Wasp is reported as back at Scapa Flow on 26 April, to the Clyde on 29 April, no mention of where it unloaded non flyable Spitfires on return. BP965 FF 25-3-42 6MU 26-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta 29-4-42 CE ops 10-5-42 SOC 17-5-42 BR196 FF 27-3-42 39MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 ? Shot down in sea off Malta 12-5-42 SOC 15-5-42 BR242 FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 126S Shot down in sea off Malta 13-7-42 SOC 17-7-42 Bowery, the 47 Spitfires flown off USS Wasp. The list I have has only 44 candidates, including BP965 and BP971 which were lost en route to Malta This is a new situation and requires additional information to solve. Graham Boak's spreadsheet is a working paper, not the final list that was published in Cauchi, which I do not have. Essentially this is a call for more candidates, Spitfires with reports of being sent from the UK to, or being on, or being lost at Malta to 17 May 1942 but not on operations Quarter or Picket, or Empire Heath or Guido. The list, BP965, BP971, BP972, BP977, BP980, BP989, BP990, BP991, BP992, BP993, BR121, BR126, BR133, BR136, BR137, BR161, BR196, BR229, BR242, BR244, BR248, BR251, BR282, BR283, BR285, BR290, BR291, BR292, BR293, BR294, BR300, BR301, BR303, BR306, BR344, BR345, BR346, BR347, BR348, BR349, BR350, BR352, BR353 and BR354 Bowery, the Spitfires flown off HMS Eagle. These 17 come from the 31 Spitfires delivered on 20 April 1942 by Guido and Empire Heath to Gibraltar. Six can be definitely confirmed by mentions in Malta the Spitfire Year, and/or their loss date. Almost all the delivery log entries have the date 4 April 1942, 18 of which say Takoradi, but both ships sailed to Gibraltar, loaded cargo from Spanish and/or Portuguese ports then returned to Britain in convoy. Given four of the six confirmed serials have Takoradi in their delivery log entries simply having Malta is not strong enough evidence. The list from Brian Cull, Spitfires over Malta as 15 entries, while missing 2 of the confirmed serials in Spitfire Year. So the working conclusion is the Cull list plus the 2 from Spitfire Year are most likely to be the correct serials. BP870, BP871*, BP872*, BP875, BP877*, BP878, BP950, BP951, BP952*, BP953, BP960, BR106, BR107*, BR108*, BR110, BR111 and BR169. (* in Spitfire Year on or before 17 May, BR107 ad BR169 not in Cull.) This conclusion, the "missing" Spitfires from Wasp and the change to BP965 highlight the way the evidence is thinning out and there is a real question whether it is useful to continue the analysis. As any errors in the early shipments inevitably go through to the later ones. Administrivia This is here in case the discussion cannot proceed any further and/or if anyone in the future wants to try again. The RAF had its own code names for at least some of the operations to fly Spitfires to Malta from aircraft carriers, summary of operations, Operation Quarter, HMS Eagle, flying off date 7 March 1942, 15 Spitfires on board, 15 launched, 15 arrived, RAF operation Quarter, 15 arrived. Operation Picket I, HMS Eagle, flying off date 21 March 1942, 16 (17?) Spitfires on board, 9 launched, 9 arrived, RAF operation Scantling, details of arrival not in report. Operation Picket II, HMS Eagle, flying off date 29 March 1942, 7 (8?) Spitfires on board, 7 launched, 7 arrived, RAF operation Scantling, 7 arrived. Operation Calendar, USS Wasp, flying off date 20 April 1942, 52 Spitfires on board, 47 launched, 46 arrived. Operation Bowery, USS Wasp, flying off date 9 May 1942, 47 Spitfires on board, 47 launched, 43 arrived. Operation Bowery, HMS Eagle, flying off date 9 May 1942, 17 Spitfires on board, 17 launched, 17 arrived. Operation LB, HMS Eagle, flying off date 18 May 1942, 17 Spitfires on board, 17 launched, 17 arrived, RAF operation Hansford, 16 arrived. Operation Style, HMS Eagle, flying off date 3 June 1942, 31 Spitfires on board, 31 launched, 27 arrived Operation Salient, HMS Eagle, flying off date 9 June 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 32 launched, 32 arrived, RAF operation Maintop, 32 arrived. Operation Pinpoint, HMS Eagle, flying off date 15 July 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 31 launched, 31 arrived, RAF operation Colima, 31 arrived. Operation Insect, HMS Eagle, flying off date 21 July 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 31 launched, 30 arrived, RAF operation Knapsack, 28 arrived. Operation Bellows, HMS Furious, flying off date 12 August 1942, 39 Spitfires on board, 38 launched, 37 arrived, RAF operation Grinnell, 37 arrived. Operation Baritone, HMS Furious, flying off date 17 August 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 32? launched, 28 arrived, RAF operation Headlong, 28 arrived. Operation Train, HMS Furious, flying off date 29 October 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 29 launched, 29 arrived, RAF operation Train, 29 arrived. UK Archives files with relevant titles. ADM 223/338 Operation PINPOINT: aircraft to Malta ADM 223/339 Operation INSECT: aircraft to Malta ADM 223/544 Operation SPOTTER: reinforcement of Malta with Spitfires ADM 223/545 Operation PICKET (Phase 1): aircraft to Malta from HMS Eagle ADM 223/547 Operation PICKET (Phase 2): aircraft to Malta from HMS Argus ADM 223/549 Operation CALENDAR: transfer of Spitfires to Malta from USS Wasp ADM 223/552 Operation BOWERY: aircraft to Malta ADM 223/554 Operation LB: aircraft to Malta ADM 223/556 Operation STYLE: aircraft to Malta from HMS Eagle ADM 223/557 Operation SALIENT: aircraft to Malta from HMS Eagle ADM 223/559 Operation PEDESTAL: aircraft to Malta from HMS Furious ADM 223/560 Operation BELLOWS: aircraft to Malta from HMS Furious ADM 223/563 Operation BARITONE: aircraft to Malta ADM 223/566 Operation TRAIN: transfer of Spitfires to Malta from HMS Furious AIR 2/7698 Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence: Registered Files. Code B sequence (files registered 1936-1953). "Calendar": Spitfires for Malta flown off American carrier. ROYAL AIR FORCE: Malta Command (Code B, 67/18): Operations "Newman" and "Calendar": spitfires for Malta flown off American carrier. AIR 20/5461 Operation "Oppidan": Spitfire reinforcements for Malta AIR 20/5462 Operation "Grinnell": Spitfire reinforcements for Malta AIR 20/5543 Malta: weekly return of operational aircraft 01 July 1940 - 31 May 1942 AIR 22/213 State of aircraft: Malta AIR 22/213 State of aircraft: Malta. 01 February 1942 - 31 January 1944 AIR 23/5684 Super long-range Spitfire: reinforcements AIR 8/980 Aircraft reinforcements to Malta: use of U.S. Aircraft Carrier WASP CAB 79/19/24 1. HEADQUARTERS OF C-IN-C, PORTSMOUTH. 2. OPERATION "SCANTLING". 3. BOUNDARY BETWEEN INDIAN OCEAN AND PACIFIC... PREM 3/266/4 Flying in of Spitfires from USS Wasp and HMS Eagle PREM 3/267/2 Prime Minister's Office: Operational Correspondence and Papers. MALTA. Casualties: aircraft. Weekly summaries. Operation Oppidan may be part of Operation LB or Style and it is implied operation Newman would be Bowery or perhaps just the Eagle's part of it. Geoffrey Sinclair
  8. P3150 RAF Delivery Logs entry, Taken on Charge 22 June 1940, 5 MU 25 June 1940, 85 Squadron 5 July 1940, SOC 8 September 1940. P3150 was, in serial number order, the 421st Gloster built Hurricane, Official total Gloster Hurricane production was 304 to end May, 448 to end June 1940. V7420 was a Hawker Brooklands build, ToC 11 August 1940, 19 MU 17 August 1940, 43 Squadron 24 August 1940, SOC 6 September 1940. Geoffrey Sinclair
  9. The Spitfires on Wasp during operation Calendar. Wasp arrived at Glasgow on 10 April, loaded the Spitfires on 13 April and departed the UK for Calendar on 14 April, flying them off on 20 April and assumed to return to the UK on 26 or 27 April. Since this is an attempt to reconstruct the list there is no guarantee it is right, it requires correct interpretation of accurate documents, any contributions are welcome. The numbers are as follows, 52 Spitfires loaded, 47 flown off, 5 returned to Britain with Wasp. It is assumed there is a good chance extra Spitfires were made available to ensure Wasp sailed fully loaded. To find the candidates from the Malta Spitfires the ones flown to Malta in Operations Spotter and Pickett were removed. Then all Malta Spitfires whose history indicates being at RAF Abbotsinch before 13 April, or are mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year before 20 April or have loss or Malta report dates in the histories or Graham Boak's spreadsheet or Delivery Logs before 20 April were included. That comes to 56 Spitfires. One has been removed from the list, BP978, FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 47MU 17-4-42 Malta 7-5-42 SOC 16-5-42 Middle East 145S FAC2 17-12-42 Malta 1-8-43 Hit trees attacking MT Fier Albania 18-11-43. Note how the 47 MU date is after the departure of Wasp, but the Malta date requires it to be delivered during Operation Calendar. BP978 is not in Spitfires Over Malta or Malta: The Spitfire Year. In the Delivery Logs BP978 has 2 loss dates, 16 May 1942 and 19 Nov 1943. BP977 is a Malta Spitfire but has a blank delivery log entry, take out Malta 7-5-42 SOC 16-5-42 from the BP978 and put it against BP977 and the history of BP978 as a Middle East Spitfire is clear. The following 42 Spitfires are Calendar aircraft based on the date criteria mentioned, BP874, BP954, BP955, BP956, BP958, BP961, BP962, BP963, BP964, BP965, BP966, BP967, BP968, BP969, BP970, BP973, BP974, BP975, BP976, BP979, BR112, BR116, BR120, BR123, BR124, BR125, BR127, BR128, BR129, BR130, BR131, BR176, BR180, BR184, BR185, BR187, BR188, BR190, BR192, BR199, BR204 and BR226. The following 2 Spitfires are Calendar aircraft that returned, based on their histories of a trip to Abbotsinch that ended up in a UK Maintenance Unit after Wasp returned. BR195 FF 26-3-42 8MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 6-4-42 ff Malta Scottish Aviation 2-5-42 82MU 1-10-42 Heribonaka 30-10-42 Takoradi 1-12-42 Middle East 31-12-42 NAfrica 30-11-43 MedAAF 30-6-45 to RHAF 27-9-45 BR246 FF 2-4-42 8MU 3-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 12-4-42 47MU 3-5-42 Empire Conrad 10-6-42 Malta 249S Engine cut on convoy patrol ditched off Malta 13-8-42 SOC 14-8-42 FH35.15 BP977 went on operation Bowery, the next Wasp operation, it was a spare for the first one. FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 39MU 25-4-42 Malta 8-6-42 601S FACB 26-6-42 Middle East 1-7-42 NWAfricanAF 1-11-43. That leaves 10 Spitfires of which 8 were on Operation Calendar, including 3 that returned with Wasp, were repaired and took part in Bowery. The other 2 were sent as part of Bowery. Flown off, BR117 FF 20-3-42 6MU 23-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta 185S Shot down in sea off Malta 20-7-42 SOC 21-7-42 FH68.35 BR182 FF 19-3-42 39MU 23-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta SOC 29-6-42 BR183 FF 19-3-42 39MU 23-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta SOC Shot down in sea off Malta 11-10-42 BR194 FF 26-3-42 8MU 28-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 7-4-42 ff Malta 249S Bomb fell off and exploded on landing Takali 14-5-43 [Middle East 1-7-43]. Morgan and Shacklady history: Abbotsinch 7-4-42, ff Malta 249S crashed Takoradi May 1942, ME 1-7-43 [No indication there were Spitfire fighter bombers on Malta in May 1942] BR203 FF 29-3-42 39MU 1-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 185S CE ops 20-7-42 Shot down by Bf109s off Malta 23-7-42 FH29.30 BR227 FF 27-3-42 39MU 29-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 249S Shot down in sea off Malta 8-7-42 SOC 9-7-42 FH7.45 Returned to UK BR121 FF 20-3-42 6MU 25-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta SOC 29-6-42 BR126 FF 25-3-42 8MU 28-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 12-4-42 ff Malta 185S 8-6-42 CB ops 15-6-42 SOC 31-7-42 FH39.30 Bowery BR196 FF 27-3-42 39MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 ? Shot down in sea off Malta 12-5-42 SOC 15-5-42 BR242 FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 126S Shot down in sea off Malta 13-7-42 SOC 17-7-42 Note one of the flown off Spitfires should actually be a return, but no obvious way to decide, though the low flying hours on BR227 would make it a prime choice. The selection of these final 10 is from the Spitfires over Malta columns in Graham Boak's list, which lists the flown off group as operation Calendar, has blank entries for the returns and May 1942 and 5 June 1942 against the Bowery Spitfires. Geoffrey Sinclair
  10. I found a weekly report of aircraft movements to Malta and the Middle East, with a couple of weeks in March missing, it has from week ending 20 March 1942 to end 1942 35 PR Spitfires flew from Gibraltar to Malta, 2 of which failed to arrive. No information on how many stayed versus flew on to the Middle East. The report says there were quite a lot of aircraft staging at Malta during the year. Similarly in the week ending 30 October 1942 2 Spitfire fighters made the Gibraltar to Malta trip, 10 more in week ending 6 November and 3 more in week ending 20 November. No losses recorded. So all up 15 flew direct, again no information on how many stayed. So was incorrect when stating no fighters made the trip, I had not looked past the carrier deliveries. No mention of UK to Gibraltar flights by Spitfire fighters, while in the above time period 43 PR Spitfires made the journey, all arrived. Geoffrey Sinclair
  11. Reports of Spitfires flying direct from Gibraltar to Malta echo the section in Morgan and Shacklady about trials with a 170 gallon external and an additions 29 gallon rear fuselage fuel tank. The additional fuel weight meant "All extraneous equipment" was removed, which sounds like armament at least. Weight was 8,700 pounds presumably with both extra fuel tanks full. Morgan and Shacklady report 16 Spitfires were flown out as Operation Quarter, taking 5.5 hours to fly to Gibraltar. In addition 15 more Spitfires were shipped out on the Cape Hawk (note spelling) AB262, 264, 329-332, 334-338, 341, 343, 344 and 346. To be flown of an aircraft carrier, takeoff weight 7,420 pounds, flaps 25 degrees, 3,000 RPM, plus 12 pounds boost, take off run 650 feet. Eagle's flight deck is listed as 652 feet long. So we are left with either the take off run is incorrect or it is for still air. Next comes the fly off point was 500 miles from Malta, or about 5 degrees west, distance wise 500 miles is about the Spitfire V range on internal fuel, another 90 gallons external would go close to doubling what would be the economic cruise range, not doubt they flew faster. Shores talks about 660 mile flights. The reported Spitfire flights from Britain showed up problems with the fuel system, yet the book then talks about 2 batches of Spitfires both needing assembly, a Supermarine representative was sent out to help. The first fly off attempt on 22 February 1942 had only 3 aircraft with serviceable overload tanks, plus 2 more after 5 hours work. Operation postponed and another Supermarine representative sent, arriving 5 March. Delivery of the first 15 Spitfires listed above was made between 5 and 10 March. On 20 March the fleet sailed again to deliver AB461, 263, 340, 333, 348, 343, 347, 419, 458, 500, 418, 420 and BP844, 845, 850, 856 and 849, a total of 17 aircraft but AB343 is listed again. Checking the various other sources, the Delivery Log entries for AB262, 264, 329-338, 341, 343, 344 and 346, so 16 serials, all have "Quarter" in SS Cape Hawk (again note spelling) against their names. While the following serials all have "Scantling" in SS Queen Victoria in their delivery log entry, AB263, 327, 340, 342, 348, 418, 419, 420, 451, 454, 500, while BP844, 845, 846 849 and 850 have Malta 2.3.42,, total 16 aircraft. Its history says BP856 did not leave Britain while AB417, 418, 452, 460, 507, 511, 512, 514, 517, 525, 526, 531, 535, BP846, 847, 848, 850, (Possibly 851 "special commitment"), 853, 855, 856, 857, 860 to 865 have the word special (Merlin 46 instead of 45?) at the start of their online mini histories. Operation Spotter 7 March 1942, 16 on board, 15 sent. The Arnold Hague database has the ship name as Cape Hawke. Graham Boak list, AB262, 264, 329 to 338, 341, 343, 344 and 346 but AB333 did not take off. Morgan and Shacklady, AB262, 264, 329 to 332, 334 to 338, 341, 343, 344 and 346 Delivery Logs, AB262, 264, 329 to 338, 341, 343, 344 and 346. So everyone agrees. Given AB333 did not take off. Note AB343 is in both Morgan and Shacklady lists. Queen Victoria probably arrived at Gibraltar on 12 March. Operations Picket I and II, 21 and 29 March 1942, 16 aircraft sent, with AB333 trying again after not taking off on Operation Spotter, which means 1 Spitfire was left at Gibraltar, while no further sea shipments of Spitfires had arrived. GB list, AB263, 333, 340, 342, 347, 348, 418, 419, 420, 454, 500, PB844, 845, 846, 849, 850 M+S list, AB263, 333, 340, 347, 348, 418, 419, 420, 458, 461, 500, and BP844, 845, 849, 850 and 856. DL list, AB263, 327, 340, 342, 348, 418, 419, 420, 451, 454, 500, while BP844, 845, 846, 849 and 850 So remembering 1 had to be left in Gibraltar for some reason, In all three lists, AB263, 333, 340, 348, 418, 419, 420, 500, BP844, 845, 849, 850 and 856, total 13. The Morgan and Shacklady list unique serials, AB458 became a mark IX, to Gibraltar in March 1943, AB461 and AB856 never left Britain. It is quite possible 458 is really 454, 461 is 451 and 856 is 846. Now to the differences between Graham's list and the Delivery Logs, AB327, AB347 and AB451. The delivery log entry for AB327 is quite a sight, firstly the original entry "Scantling" in SS Queen Victoria, is ruled through with an entry above it Tarkoradi by <ship name> 25? April 1942 also ruled through and a second "Scantling" SS Queen Victoria has been added The aircraft history says lost in Egypt 22 July 1942, which agrees with Shores et. al. A History of the Mediterranean Air War. So it would seem, unless the Spitfire was on flown to Egypt from Malta, that any references to it being on Queen Victoria and at Gibraltar and Malta are most likely incorrect. That is the Takoradi Delivery Log entry is the correct one and the second Scantling entry should have been for AB347, not AB327. The delivery log entry for AB347 simply says Malta 1 April 1942, Malta the Spitfire year has it present in Malta on 12 April, so it would have been on Queen Victoria, and flown in during operation Picket. Which means AB451 was the Spitfire left in Gibraltar as the simplest explanation, but it is reported lost in an air raid at Malta in April 1942. There is only one Spitfire from operation Pickett that survived past 9 May 1942, when Eagle flew off 17 Spitfires from Gibraltar, and that was AB500, it is reported as having a flying accident on 17 April 1942 with 185 Squadron, is there any definite date for when 185 Squadron started operating Spitfires? I thought is was after 20 April, Operation Calendar. So using loss dates AB451 was on operation Picket, AB500 on Operation Bowery or later. Malta the Spitfire Year makes no mention of AB451, which would be possible if it was lost on the ground soon after arrival, and takes until 7 July to mention AB500. However AB500 is reported as present at Malta on 29 March and AB451 has no such entry, leaving AB451 to be lost in April 1942 presumably at Gibraltar. Straightforward, isn't it? Geoffrey Sinclair
  12. Surely not.... :-). It is all hand written, left to right, essentially in 2 lines, with the date above the "name", except for the SOC entry. So the second date could be 1943 and the third 1944, or 1942 and 1943 but it is Malta then NWA. And AR466 has A6107 10 Jul 42, Malta 3 Aug 42.
  13. I have not yet looked into the PR.IV movements, they flew out, long term there is the need to see how they were counted as exports and there also must be the chance some staged through Malta for the Middle East. The various export reports in the archives have exports to the Mediterranean February 1942 to February 1943, to the Middle East February 1942 to April 1943, North Africa October 1942 to April 1943, Mediterranean Air Command May to December 1943, the Mediterranean Allied Air Force from January 1944 to December 1945. There is a chance Spitfires moving overseas as parts of units were not counted as exports. And unfortunately the SSxxx codes, usually R.xxx I think, are not given in the ship movement cards, which can be sort of viewed online at the UK archives (watermarks over them). The ship cards for Australian ports have been made available for copying at http://www.navy.gov.au/media-room/publications/wwii-merchant-ship-movement-records-australia and they can fill in gaps for those shipments. Then comes cross referencing with the data at www.convoyweb.org.uk Interesting, the few identified Spitfires I have for Baritone are from the Gibraltar pool, delivered by Empire Clive and Empire Darwin. Lots of the Spitfires for Wasp have Abbotsinch and Renfrew in their histories, a good clue given where they are and where Wasp was to load Spitfires. It helps explain a smaller cluster of Spitfires at Abbotsinch in late July 1942. Delivery log entry for AR464:- A6107 8 Jun 42, Malta 1 Aug 43 (Yes 43), NWA 1 May 43, SOC 1 Jan 47, which is an administrative catch up date. A quick look at that page shows AR466, AR470 and AR471 are all part of A6107 but dated July. Geoffrey Sinclair
  14. Thanks for the web site, I am actually working off Andrew Pentland's web site, which is the source of allspitfirepilots data. The shipments do show a build up of Spitfires at Gibraltar from September 1942 onwards. And a new ship name match, the Fordsdale becomes the Fondadab in the aircraft histories. Malta Spitfire Vs - 1942, Their Colours and Markings by Brian Cauchi. Unfortunately even when the libraries open again it looks like I will have to cross a large body of water to see a copy. Agreed no list will be perfect (the spark for this investigation was a report one Spitfire for the RAAF was offloaded in New York after taking damage crossing the Atlantic, so what happened to it? EE736 became A58-131, arriving 3 months after the rest of the Spitfires shipped on Empire Strength, then converted to components, the delay does not seem to be noted or explained in the histories) So in compiling the Malta Spitfires list in the book did you look at the ships they were reported as being transported in and any associated dates? Since that is the way I have created the list of possibles, apart from mentions of Malta in 1942. Worth comparing lists? There are lots of records with ship name but not date and the other way around. The Spitfires on Empire Heath have Takoradi mentioned but in fact it only went to Gibraltar. Interesting the report Furious did a direct delivery, which one? If operation train in October that simplifies things. Since it eliminates from consideration all September Spitfire shipments to Gibraltar. I believe the Spitfires that flew direct from Gibraltar to Malta were all the PR types, mostly mark IV. And as far as I know used the standard 90 gallon tanks for the trip as they had a lot more internal fuel than the mark V. Geoffrey Sinclair
  15. Does anyone know of or have access to a good list of the serial numbers of the Spitfires flown off carriers to Malta March to October 1942? Malta: The Spitfire Year by Shores, Cull and Malizia, gives quite a few but of course it is a history, not an aircraft count. While the USS Wasp took Spitfires direct from Britain the RN carriers relied upon a pool of Spitfires stationed at Gibraltar and there is a nice relationship between shipments to Gibraltar and Malta. So Cape Hawke delivers 16 Spitfires on 22 February, operation Spotter flies 15 of them to Malta on 7 March. Queen Victoria, 16 or 17 Spitfires on 12 March, operations Picket I and II fly 16 Spitfires to Malta in the second half of March. USS Wasp (Operation Calendar) flies 47 Spitfires to Malta but is reported to have 52 on board, probably the other 5 were offloaded at Gibraltar. Same day the Guido and the Empire Heath deliver around 42 (Possibly more, including some on unnamed ships) Spitfires to Gibraltar. Wasp returns with 47 Spitfires for Operation Bowery. The 17 Spitfires on HMS Eagle on Operation Bowery and the 17 for Operation LB in early May come from the Gibraltar Spitfires. (BR126, the Spitfire that landed back on Wasp on operation Bowery was sent on Operation LB) And so on, at least 80 Spitfires delivered late May and early June, 63 flown out on 3 and 9 June. The problems in matching things are the usual ones, the available published individual aircraft histories can lack dates and ship names, or use code numbers for the ships. The RAF dates tend to be when loaded/unloaded, versus the days the ship left/entered port. Then comes some interesting spelling mistakes, Port Dunedin becoming Port Duradin, Hindustan becoming Miss Cluston for example. My main aim is a first pass at sorting out which ships freighted Spitfires. Geoffrey Sinclair
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