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Chris Thomas

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About Chris Thomas

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Hampshire coast
  • Interests
    Typhoons, Tempests, other RAF fighters to 1960ish, red wine, painting.

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  1. Chris Thomas

    Why is the leading edge of the wing yellow on RAF fighters?

    Reference to the removal of yellow leading edge stripes ('yles') from Tempests - this came about following a visit to ADGB units engaged in anti-Diver ops, by RAE in July 1944 to investigate wats of increasing fighter speeds. One of problems noted was that reprinting of the yles was causing cracking of the surface of the leading edge which had an adverse effect, particularly on laminar flow wings, such as the Tempest and Mustang. I am away from my records at the moment but IIRC, the instruction, which applied to all aircraft engaged in anti-Diver ops, stated 'may' rather than 'should' be removed. How widely this was carried out remains a mystery to me. However, there are many photos of 501 Sqn Tempests (the only Tempest unit left in the UK for anti-Diver work after the others joined 2nd TAF) taken in Oct 44 and all those have yles. There are few photos of 150 Wing Tempests in the late Diver ops period but those which show leading edges still have their stripes. CT
  2. Chris Thomas

    Spitfire pilot pistol

    Pilots in the 2ndTAF were certainly issued with sidearms. Photos from 1943 onwards clearly illustrate this, and I have an alarming selection showing young pilots doing what would now (and maybe then) be deemed dangerous things, for the camera. I know at least one case where a Typhoon pilot (drunk) shot a fellow pilot, who fortunately survived. Whether they carried them into battle was their choice. Yes, they were not the weapons with which to fight your way out of enemy territory and they could have provoked a violent reaction from capturing troops, but I can think of instances where a pilot on the run might find a pistol useful. I know of another Typhoon pilot who was shot down over France prior to the invasion, evaded, joined the resistance and after the best part of a year rejoined his unit in France. Eventually he was allowed back on operations (presumably as France had been liberated) but always flew with a sten gun in the cockpit! My father was a Typhoon pilot at Eindhoven in the winter of 1944-45 and carried his Smith and Wesson 38. Although right-handed he wore it on his left hip with the handle facing forward for a quick draw. I think he'd seen too many westerns.
  3. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon Car-door Questions

    Great spot Tom. I have not seen the cockpit shots of DP-A before, although the others are familiar. 'X' was EK132, the CO's aircraft (later recoded 'E') and the two most likely candidates for 'A' are R7627 and JP499. I would plump for JP499 as the aircraft in the photo appears quite new and R7627 was 8 months old when 193 Sqn received it and had flown with two other squadrons by then. The second photo you refer to - Bob Davidson in the cockpit of JP496 set me looking for the (apparently later)lhandle in other JP/JR serial Typhoons. I found 6 more clear examples. No examples of the earlier handles were found in the JP/JR range but there were many where no handle could be discerned - probably therefore the later type as they are more difficult to see from a distance than the earlier type. I also found one example of the late handle in the end of the EK serials (EK497). So, there is a possibility that this type of handle was, as you surmised earlier, associated with the door interiors with the circular panel marking. They are even more difficult to find in photos but known examples are on EK132, JP677, JP853 and JP928. Hope this helps. Many thanks for alerting us to this hitherto unnoticed modification. Does your choice of 1/24 Typhoon to model hinge on the door ?.... sorry! CT
  4. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon Car-door Questions

    I do not know for certain if the early Typhoon seat was identical to the Hurricane seat but I would be surprised if it wasn't. Gloster, who built most Typhoons were still using Hurricane seats in their early Meteors. Sorry I do not know about resin kit seats. I'm not too sure about the door handle either. I've not been able to find any photos showing the handle in any other position than the 'upper left position' and I have have looked across the complete range of car-door Typhoon serials, from Rxxxx to JRxxx. Perhaps you can reveal the source of your information? The inner door panels, with the circular imprint, were introduced c.mid-1943 and were a casting rather than a pressed item - the aim being to give more stability to the door structure, I believe in relation to the exhaust fume seepage problem. CT
  5. Good idea to refer to that list Graham and I agree with your logic that the Typhoon would have been an unmodified one. I would not expect to see the flight to Farnborough recorded as the dates given are, I believe, dates of the reports which summarised the results of the forgoing trials, which may well have involved more than one (many even) flights. I did think that R7692 that Seth-Smith had been flying on spinning trials at that time might have been a candidate too but have found a note which says it had a 'tail chute' fitted for the trials. It was the Typhoon Seth-Smith was killed in following a structural failure on 11 August 1942. The best choice therefore seems to be R7632 which Graham has already identified. The problem is to define its appearance. It was certainly built by Gloster as a MkIA with the solid cockpit fairing but it was then delivered to Hawkers for mods on 14 March 1942. These would certainly have included replacement of the solid cockpit fairing with the transparent rear section, but maybe included fitting of cannon as well. After that it went into temporary store at 18 MU Dumfries before being allocated to Hawker for R&D on 25 April 1942. If R7632 was indeed the Typhoon in the 'race' I would guess it had cannon as I am sure the organisers of the event would have preferred to see a Typhoon representative of the current production version. Chris
  6. Well, "10 days" or maybe 14 months... At last I have had access to the RAE logs but regret to say there is little relevant information in there! There is no mention of DP845 or MP499 around 20-22 July 1942 and the the only Typhoon activity recorded is R7576, engaged on Carbon Monoxide tests (leakage thereof being a perennial Typhoon problem). I ploughed on through the log and was about to give up when on 4 September 1942 3 Typhoons arrived. R7632 from Langley (Hawker factory) flown by Bill Humble, R7698 from Duxford (which had been the prime RAF Typhoon airfield for the past year) flown by "P/O Miller" (presumably P/O J.D.Miller who was with 266 Sqn Duxford at the time), and R8693 from Brockworth (Gloster factory) flown by John Crosby-Warren. R8693 was straight off Gloster's production line and was for RAE to use in diving tests associated with the Typhoon tail failures. R7632 was serving with Hawker as an R&D aircraft. R7698 was Duxford WCF, Wg Cdr Denys Gillam's personal aircraft, coded 'Z-Z'. The latter two only stayed for 5 and 2 days respectively with only Humble in R7632 recorded as flying (40 mins) during that period. So what were they there for? And if these visitors were recorded, why not those on 20 (or 22) July? No mention of DP845 or MP499 on this occasion either. However the arrival of a manufacture's Typhoon with test pilot and a 'service' Typhoon rang bells with GordonM's post no.8 above. According to Spitfire the history, DP845 was delivered to A&AEE Boscombe Down, for extended trials, the day before these Typhoons arrived with RAE. So, apologies ... no answers I'm afraid. Anyone know the whereabouts of Bill Humble's logbook? CT
  7. Chris Thomas

    Hawker Typhoon Cannon barrels

    The factory finish was starboard outer cannon barrel completely Dark Green, the other three were Ocean Grey. It seems that the forward section of the fairings were interchangeable as I have seen photos showing the front half not matching the rear, but that was not the norm. CT
  8. Chris Thomas

    Eduard 1/48 Hawker Tempest Mk.V Early

    Troy was right, Pip; I am impressed with what you've done so far! As for dust filters (cuckoo doors etc) - not required for Tempest V Series 1. As for Series 1 differences, I have copied below some notes on my findings, which appeared in Britmodeller elsewhere but are applied with further information. Hope they help. Cracking work so far. Personally I'm sitting it out until the revised Tempest V (revised) finally arrives! Tempest V Series 1 and 2 First let me say that difference between Series 1 and Series 2 Tempests is not entirely clear to me. The terms seem only to appear in Hawker records; I have yet to find an RAF record that mentions them, let alone defines them. Records of individual airframe status no longer survive so photographs (frustratingly few) provide the most reliable record, supplemented by official correspondence which states intent rather than the actual event. By definition ‘Series 1’ Tempest Vs were the first production aircraft and somewhere in the the first batch (100 aircraft JN729-773, JN792-822, JN854-877) the Series 2 appeared (or after the first 100 some would have us believe). There were a number of changes in this period and I feel that the difference between Series 1 and Series 2 would have been defined by more than the replacement of long-barrelled cannon with the shorter variant (as usually cited). The first 50 Tempest Vs (presumably JN729 to JN773 and JN792-796) were built using the centre-sections from a cancelled Typhoon contract. This is the box-like structure, made from steel tubes, that sits between the wings. The Typhoon centre-section was very similar to the Tempest version but because of the latter’s slimmer wings, the wing root fairing would not quite fit over the Typhoon version. This resulted in a small blister over the offending structure which is evident in photos, often with much of the paint rubbed off by fitters’ feet. One can be clearly seen in the photo of JF-L or J (which may be JN768). I rather suspected that this feature might have been associated with the ‘fishplates’ discussed in the above posts. However I was a bit surprised that when I examined relevant photos closely and the fishplates were evident well beyond the first 50 Tempests, almost to the end of the JN-series. Latest airframe identified so far is JN862 (85th). First confirmed without the plates is JN875 (98th). The longer-barrelled cannon (Hispano Mk II) was replaced much earlier than sometimes claimed – some sources indicate all the JN series were Series 1 with the long cannon. The latest airframe I’ve been able to identify with the protruding cannon is JN767 (39th). There is a photo of JN801 (55th) in full stripes at Newchurch in late June/early July 1944, which is the earliest found with the short-barrelled Hispano Mk V. Some sources state that the shorter cannon was retrofitted to some of the earlier airframes but I have not found any evidence to support this. The main wheels certainly had Typhoon hubs to start with - 5-spoke they had special thinner tyres, necessary due the limited depth of the wheel bay in the Tempest's slim wing. The hubs were changed during the JN series for a new 4-spoke design which remained for the rest of Tempest production; they were fitted with new smaller tyres. JN818 photographed at Langley just before delivery in mid-May 1944 had the 5-spoke, but JN875 at Newchurch in early July 1944 had 4-spoke. I guess they would have been easy to retrofit, but no evidence of that. The 5-spoke were fitted with Dunlop "EX, HVY, code 1.EE.17" 11.25-12 tyres. The 4-spoke were fitted with Dunlop "FE11" 30 x 9.00-15 tyres. There was a change of prop and spinner, from De Havilland to Rotol, but that was late in the Mk.V production run, so out of the reckoning in the Series 1/Series 2 issue. The exhaust fairing visible in your second photo above was only present on the earliest production aircraft. The four Tempests delivered to 486 Sqn in February 1944 (and later reallocated to 3 Sqn) had them but they are the last that appear in any photos. Presumably they were withdrawn from use in the spring of 1944, as they were on Typhoons, due to cooling issues. Finally we have a set of internal changes that cannot be determined from photos, namely the fittings required for the carriage of long-range tanks, bombs or RP (unless the aircraft in question is actually carrying one of these devices). Also in this category is the equipment with spring-tab ailerons. However, it is known from Air Staff correspondence that LR tank capability was expected from the 51st production aircraft (JN797) with bomb carriage fittings from the 151staircraft and RP fittings from the 351st, i.e. bombs and RP were not available until the 51stand 251st EJ-serialled Tempest Vs entered service. This was no handicap as bombs were not used until April 1945 and RP not until the last quarter of 1945. There was no possibility of the LRT (and possibly the bomb/RP) mods being retrofitted owing to the limited access in the Tempest’s thin wing. The arrival of the much-vaunted spring tab ailerons remains obscure (to me any way). So exactly which of these features heralded the change from Series 1 to Series 2 I don’t know for certain but the ‘pukka’ Tempest centre section, the short cannon and LRT capability all seem to arrive after the 50thaircraft which might well be changeover point?
  9. Chris Thomas

    Academy Tempest V * finished*

    Serials were carried under the wings on postwar Tempests. Apart from some trials aircraft, MkIIs and Mk Vs used Mk.III aluminium rails, as per late war Typhoons, only the Mk VIs in the ME used 'zero-length launchers. CT.
  10. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon elevators and control column

    Bob, I know Britmodeller is a great place for getting answers to tricky questions, but who the the Hell do you think is going to answer this? Perhaps the Hawker design office, but if any are still with us ... I don't think they'll remember. CT
  11. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon 1B, 184 Sqn, RAF

    You are most welcome Mark. The spinner was indeed white with red stripes and there is possibly white inner faces to the main u/c doors with red edging and the individual code letter was often applied in red on the white painted front of the 'cuckoo-door' filter. I would expect to see evidence of repainting on the rear fuselage as MN141 had a long operational history (for a Typhoon). It had started its operational life in March 1944 as 'P-W', Grp Capt Paddy Woodhouse's aircraft when he was OC 16 Sector (121 and 124 Wings). When this organisation was disbanded his aircraft was transferred to 174 Sqn who apparently just added an 'X', making it XP-W. It flew on D-Day and through most of the Normandy campaign before being sent to the FRU for overhaul. In late October it was delivered to 175 Sqn at Vokel (HH-B), transferred to 245 Sqn in January 1945 (code not known) and back to 175 Sqn in February 1945 (HH-J). To 184 Sqn as above. CT
  12. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon 1B, 184 Sqn, RAF

    The red/white markings shown in the drawing above are correct but were carried on 184 Sqn Typhoons only in the post-war period. MN141 was with 184 Sqn from 3 March 1945 to 3 August 1945 when it was tipped on its nose while taxying (wheel in hole); sent for repair but subsequently scrapped. In case it is not visible in the photo ... 3-blade prop/small tailplane. It was coded BR-E (info from 3 different logbooks). Hope to see the photo in due course. CT
  13. Chris Thomas

    Spitfire XVI RK840 of 322 Sqn RAF (Dutch) - a few questions

    Nice one Bob!
  14. Chris Thomas

    Spitfire IX, June 1944 (1/72)

    I forgot to mention my embarrassing error in the 2nd TAF caption which doc72 unfortunately quoted. Denys was a Sergent-chef at the time - not a "sous-chef"! You'd be more likely to find one of those in a Raymond Blanc establishment, or similar.
  15. Chris Thomas

    Spitfire IX, June 1944 (1/72)

    I was really pleased to see this model, a cracking representation of one of my favourite subjects, but especially welcome as I was the co-author of the source book and one of my responsibilities was locating, researching and captioning the photos, and I do like to see my finds appear in three dimensions. I had found a film clip in the IWM collection which was shot by the RAF FPU to celebrate Denys Boudard's return to France (he was later the first Allied pilot to land at the recaptured Carpiquet airfield - the very one he had stolen his Bucker Jungmann from 3 years earlier) and noted the film showed both sides of the same aircraft - a rare gift to the modeller with wartime aircraft. However it was extra-special for me as a few years earlier I had attended the funeral of a Typhoon pilot recently recovered in Normandy. A dozen of us, including some Typhoon pilots flew across the Channel in light aircraft, in a gale, which left me green. An amazing day which included an alcoholic lunch and a similarly fuelled reception in Caen before we retired to our hotel. In the bar they had the newly-launched Kronenburg 1664; our hosts insisted we gave it a thorough trial. I was just beginning to feel OK again when a jovial Frenchman burst through the door and shouted "Ah, mes amis Anglais! Champagne!!" A magnum duly appeared and was consumed but the real treat was to listen to Denys Boudard's story first hand. Unforgettable. Unlike the rest of the evening. CT PS They crossed the Channel in poor vis, which probably saved their lives. Following the coast to look for an airfield, they had started on a second circuit of the Isle of Wight before they realised it was an island! They eventually landed at Christchurch; it was a Sunday and they were surprised to find the RAF were playing cricket on the airfield.
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