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Chris Thomas

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About Chris Thomas

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    Hampshire coast
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    Typhoons, Tempests, other RAF fighters to 1960ish, red wine, painting.

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  1. RP fittings were introduced on the production line early in 1944, near the beginning of the MN-serial range and before the 4-blade prop and large tailplane were introduced. Production Typhoons had been fitted as bombers since early summer 1943. So all the 4-bladers could be swapped from bombs to RP and vice versa with relative ease. What was still visible under the wing would entail a long trawl through photos that I can't do at the moment. Were the RP fittings covered, for example? There is that well-known photo of JR128 (still wearing 'HF-L' from its previous owners) banking away from the camera and showing resprayed areas, including RP fittings. But this was a Hawker and were the fittings, taken to show the modification work they were carrying out at the time, so the wing might have been left in a condition to show what had been done. Just a thought. And another ... maybe the RP fitting holes had covers or were simply taped over on bomber Typhoons. The '1,000-lb bomb carrier' was introduced in April 1944. It was fitted, rather surprisingly, further outboard than the original box-varrier; this was to take advantage of a stronger location in the wing structure. I have photos which show it in use with 500-pounders as well, so I do not think there was any need to change back to the earlier carrier when using smaller bombs. Long range tanks come into this equation too but they continued to use in the same location as for the original bomb carrier. CT
  2. If you can't find it I'm sure I can't. So ... the recent Airfix kit is a four-blader and these saw are service from just before D-Day onwards. Over the same period the squadrons specialised as follows. RP 137, 164, 174, 175, 181, 182, 184, 198, 245, 247, 609. Bombs 193, 197, 257, 438, 439, 440. 183, 263 and 266 use RP or bombs at various times during this period. 168 Sqn used neither!
  3. Yes, the Ducimus C&M series are a wonderful source but in the Typhoon and Tempest volume the changes in the last 5 months of the war are poorly and incorrectly documented. I spoke to James Goulding about this and he said they were provided with 'relevant' files (presumably by the AHB) before such material was generally available in the Public Records Office (now known as the National Archive). As you will see from the text quoted below there was in fact a disagreement between the Air Ministry and the 2nd TAF about the change in markings required. 2nd TAF aircraft were regularly attacked by USAAF aircraft and even their own fighters. The Air Ministry seemingly were slow to react and the matter would have been seen as even more urgent with the start of the Ardennes counter attack by the Germans which saw USAAF (and US ground forces) and 2ndTAF operating in close proximity. Accordingly the 2ndTAF imposed it's new markings unilaterally. The text below is what I wrote for Vol 4 of '2nd TAF'. "The orders for final part of the stripe saga came on 6 December with the issue of the suspension of SHAEF Operational Memorandum No.23, to take effect on 31 December 1944. This stated that the distinctive markings would be removed from all aircraft (except the PR Mosquitoes and Spitfires of 34 Wing which had been encountering misidentification problems and had reinstated full markings) where this could be achieved without damaging the aircraft and taking account of the time and materials available. Friend from foe Towards the end of 1944 the problem of attacks on 2nd TAF aircraft in the battle area by ‘friendly’ aircraft had become an increasing problem – main perpetrators being 8th USAAF fighters returning from escort missions. On 6 December 1944 the Air Ministry made a proposal to increase the visibilty of upper wing roundels, in all Commands, by changing from National Marking I to National Marking II – effectively adding a narrow white ring between the blue and red colours. However Air Marshal Coningham at 2nd TAF HQ thought that in addition to this change the yellow outer ring of the fuselage roundel should be widened. By 10 December 2nd TAF’s proposal (and they were the main victim of the mistaken identity incidents) had changed to adding a yellow outer ring to all roundels. The correspondence trail goes cold at this point but it seems that 2nd TAF went on to act independantly and issued instructions on 2 January 1945, to take effect the next day, whereby the Skybands and spinners on fighter aircraft were to be removed, all roundels were to be National Marking III, i.e. with yellow outer rings. Unfortunately on the same day the Air Ministry had put out its instructions in line with its proposal of 6 December; on 4 January 2nd TAF HQ received a rather idignant signal requesting them to comply with the Air Ministry signal and submit a case for change if still required. However, the 2nd TAF continued on its own course, requesting 41 Group that all aircraft supplied to 2nd TAF units should carry the yellow outer rings (this was declined but 2nd TAF merely added the rings when aircraft were received) although it did submit a case for its markings on 22 January. Meanwhile work had continued on 2nd TAF aircraft and was pronounced complete on 5 February 1945. Although the Air Ministry continued to consider the situation for some time, the markings continued in use until the end of the war and were to be seen for some time in the postwar era. It has been suggested by some authors that the removal of the Skybands and spinners was in response to the Luftwaffe’s Bodenplatteattack on 1 January 1945, i.e. an attempt to render aircraft less conspicuous on the ground. This may be so but no written evidence to support the theory has been found and it may be that the Skytrim was removed with the intention of restoring the effectiveness of camouflage after the addition of yellow to the roundels. Although the 2 January signals so far located call for removal of the Sky spinners, no order defining the replacement colour had been found but there is plenty of evidence, including colour photographs and observers’ reports, to confirm that Nightwas the chosen colour. There seem to have been few exceptions to these markings until after VE-day. One glaring exception is the Gloster Meteor, the first examples of which (four aircraft) arrived at B.58, Melsbroek, on 4 February 1945; they were already painted in an all-over Whitescheme not, as some have suggested, as camouflage in winter conditions, but as a means for quick identification. These aircraft were early Mk.IIIs, powered by Welland engines, and not intended for combat; their purpose was to familiarise Allied forces with the new shape and sound in the skies. When 616 Squadron arrived in force, with Derwent-powered Mk.IIIs, at B.77, Gilze-Rijen, on 31 March 1945, they carried Fighter Command markings, namely National marking II above and below the wings and rear fuselage Skybands. It appears that no attempt was made to bring the markings in line with other those on other 2nd TAF aircraft." Although I am not a great conspiracy theorist it does seem that the files I was able to access in the PRO in the late 70s onwards, were not made available to the C&M authors. Possibly because the files did not show the Air Ministry in a creditable light ... Sky bands were not reinstated after the hostilities but new aircraft arriving in 2ndTAF in Germany (and later BAFO) did have them and they were not painted out. Some Typhoon squadrons did have coloured rear fuselage band in there this post-war period, but that is a different story. As for RB207, it joined 438 Sqn at the end of November 1944 and served with the squadron as F3-T until the unit was disbanded in August 1945. It did suffer some kind of 'battle damage' on 24 April 1945 (which is not detailed in the squadron record) but it cannot have been major as it was with 403 R&SU for just a week before it was back in service. So I stand by the remarks in my original post. CT
  4. The only ones that come to mind are two lost on consecutive days by 247 Sqn, 10 and 11 Nov 43, one landing, one after taking off, both pilots killed.
  5. This photo appeared in Typhoon and Tempest, F.K.Mason. The caption claimed that F3-T burst a tyre, u/c collapsed, bomb dropped off and exploded killing two ground crew and destroying the aircraft. Such a major incident would leave a strong 'footprint' in official archives ... but there is not a trace in 438 Sqn's or the Wing's ORBs, no mention of casualties. F3-T can be identified as RB207 and there is no trace of an accident on its Form 78 record card (which you would expect). Nor is there an 'accident card' which would have been raised to cover this. RB207 in fact survived the war and carried an impressively large 'bomb log' on the starboard side. It is, incidentally, one of the decal options in a recent Eduard 1/48 kit. Just visible on the 'chin' is an inscription which always used to be claimed as 'Tess'. It was in fact 'Tirez le doigt' - which translates as 'Pull your finger (out)'. The caption looks to me like an entry in a 'What happened next?' competition. CT
  6. Rodders' query seems to be questioning the lack of stripes on Airfix Typhoon kit 55208 - the 'starter kit' that features ZH-Q RB478. As far as I can see they are completely correct and are typical of 2nd TAF Typhoons in the last four months of the war. Also, Airfix chose that scheme as 266 Sqn was one of the very few units that used both bombs and RP during that period, so you can authentically fit either. Most squadrons specialised in either bombs or RP. Further to remarks in the thread above, Typhoon identity stripes were only applied beneath the wings. I have only come across one exception to that rule, namely the single radar-equipped Typhoon nightfighter which took part in FIU trials in November 1943. CT
  7. Well, I'm not a Scotsman nor have a white beard (though it would be if I grew one) but I am from Yorkshire and I saw and recorded both yellow/black and lime green/black Meteor TT.20s in the late sixties. The former were at Exeter and the latter at Hurn. I did photograph the Hurn examples in colour but to my dismay the prints came out showing yellow on the undersides! I can only assume that this was due to the fluorescent nature of the paint. So be careful when drawing conclusions from colour prints! If anyone has the time and interest I think there was an informative thread on the the Flypast historical site some years ago. Excellent modelling Tony. As ever. CT PS. I think both schemes were used in Malta.
  8. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon T.T.1

    Don't hold your breath Neil. I've been looking for a photo, or any other shred of evidence to support the existence of this machine, since Profile 81 was published 50+ years ago. If there was such a machine (which I doubt) it certainly was not SW500 which was a late production machine with a sliding hood. Having been through all the individual aircraft records and the unit records I found no suggestion or trace of a TT Typhoon. CT
  9. Code size depended on the squadron. 24" was the norm but 80 and 501 used 18" and 22' respectively. The 84 Group squadrons, 33 and 222 used larger letters, up to 36". CT
  10. Well ... shock horror ... Wikipedia is wrong! Clostermann left the RAF on 27 August 1945, with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. It is possible that, in the absence of the wing commander, and all of the four squadron leaders, he was temporarily in charge of the wing for a short period. However, in this case, it would not have warranted the painting of a wing commander's pennant on his aircraft. The rank pennants were originally small flags attached to the struts or rudder of biplanes and as such could be seen and identify leaders in the air. By the time they were on monoplanes it was more a case of prestige and perhaps a warning to attending ground crew to be on their best behaviour. They were not intended to identify the aircraft in the air - often they were only painted on one side of the fuselage - the side where the pilot entered or left the cockpit. The pennant and the erroneous serial came with the Frog kit with Dick Ward's decals. I knew Dick well and he told me he took his cue from The Big Show. The kit came first (1967) and Arthur Bentley followed Dick's lead. These were the days before scrupulous accuracy and full provenance were expected. The original Big Show was in French of course and it would not surprise me to find some of the translation was responsible for these misunderstandings. Also, although Clostermann never wore more than two rings on his sleeve in the RAF , he did return to action (1956-60) in the French Reserve during the Algerian war and got his third ring as a Lt Colonel - equivalent to wing commander. This may be the third ring to which he was referring. If anyone is interested in Clostermann's full career, in unprecedented, highly illustrated historical detail, including a full explanation of his controversial scoreboard, then Avions 227 is a must. A knowledge of French would be useful! CT
  11. Measurements for the 'Uckfield spinner' (Typhoon DH 4 blade) are 824mm diameter at the base and length, base to tip including the rubber 'bung', 613 mm. Cant find any docs with measurements. CT
  12. No definite answers here I'm afraid ... but a few clues. The sprung seat was Mod 231 and I know Beamont tested one in January 1943. The only other clue I have found for implementation of this one is that there is a Charles Brown photo, taken on a visit to 257 Sqn at Warmwell in May 1943, which shows a Typhoon maintenance in a blister hangar with 6 of the old seats stacked in the corner. Would they have carried that many spares? I doubt it so perhaps they had been removed during servicing. So it seems retro-fits were done in spring 1943. Introduced on production? Perhaps (a guess) circa the JP-serial series. Maybe on the EK-series, but few of those saw service - most went into store due lack of serviceable engines. This clashes a bit with the tail re-inforcement, which was Mod 286, a much later number, but that as early as December 1942 and ran through until March 1943. The first production aircraft which did not have to go back for the mod appears to be DN600, delivered 18 February 1943. However this was a top priority safety related mod so would have been implemented ahead of the sprung seat which about reducing the effects of the high frequency vibration. Some new aircraft were delivered straight from Glosters to 13 MU Henlow which was the main modification centre. The cannon barrel fairings appeared on production aircraft circa DN330 (delivered 30 Nov 42). All photos I have after this have cannon barrel fairings. No evidence of retrofit. Hope this helps. CT
  13. Well maybe I was exaggerating just a little. And thanks for the scoop thought. A Starkey Typhoon and a 287 Sqn Tempest would be good .... Chris
  14. Ohhh ... another can of worms! SD if you PM me with your email address I'll sent what I have and you can post (which is beyond me) any of it here as you wish. I plotted out the markings on a 1/48 Bentley's plan as per the original instructions and found the outer black ident stripe overlapped (or should that be underlapped) the inner black Starkey stripe, producing a slightly wider black stripe. I took the dotted bit of Tim's drawing to indicate where the stripes overlapped. I thought this was a likely result and did not consider the possibility that part of the ident stripes were painted out. They had a big enough job painting the Starkey stripes on a dozen or so aircraft at short notice and I can't think that a narrow strip or MSG between the two markings would reassure anyone. The Navy would be shooting at them whatever. as they found even when adorned with full D-Day stripes. However, I do accept that the MSG paint over the outer ident stripe is a reasonable option. So until Bob finds that photo he keeps banging on about ... its your call. Chris
  15. Both types of sight were seen on sliding hood Typhoons. Use of the glassless type depended on the correct type of glass being fitted in the windscreen; the earlier aircraft had a sandwhich screen onto which the sight image could not be projected.
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