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Chris Thomas

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About Chris Thomas

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

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  1. Chris Thomas

    137 squadron

    There is a photo of SF-K, incorrectly identified in 'Fighter Squadrons' as MN680. Better prints of this photo show it was actually MN660 (confirmed by the ORB), probably red spinner. SF-X was photographed on the same day and can be clearly seen as MN995. Both large tailplane/4-bladers. DN429 and JR261 were both small tailplane/3-bladers but MN421, MN533, MN584, and MN627 were all large tailplane. The latter had a 4-blader, the other 3 could have been 3 or 4-bladers. The large tailplane was introduced on MN307 but only a few of the subsequent Typhoons had 4-bladers
  2. Chris Thomas

    137 squadron

    Lawyer, I am not too sure what is driving your choice here. 137 sqn had Sky spinners up to September 44, then red until early Jan 45 when they were black (plus Sky bands painted out, last of the D-Day stripes removed and Type C1 roundels in all positions). In the last 3 months of 1944 when they had red spinners the spinner backplates and the spinner tips were white. Some aircraft retained the individual codes on the tip of the fin (they had been painted there when full stripes were on in summer 44). Pick your colour period and I can supply code/serials for 3 or 4
  3. Hi Peter I located 15 different serials for 1 Nov 44 in 183's ORB. There were a few more but they were typos. By comparing the individual flights with various pilots logs over the years I have these codes. R8926 F DN248 K EK497 E EK498 N JP682 O JP969 S JR141 M JR263 Z JR390 U MN419 G MN698 W MN868 H MN886 X MN923 P PD500 T The first 9 were all 3-bladers with small tailplanes, MN419 had a large tailplane but could have had a 3 or a 4-blader, the last 5 all had large tailplanes and
  4. There seems little doubt from the account in the squadron ORB that F/O Ackers was shot down by flak. This was at the time the jaws of the Falaise gap were closing and the trapped German forces were both desperate and well-armed with an ever increasing concentration of Flak. It was the day on which most Typhoons, 17 in all, were lost to enemy action - most attributed to flak - and the unknown causes may well also have been flak. There were no German claims for Typhoons that day. R.T.Bickers seems to have compiled his Typhoon listings directly from the Air-Britain serial registers
  5. Sorry Pat but Flg Off Ackers was indeed shot down in MN595 HF-D as confirmed in MoD casualty records. JR128, although it had (famously) been HF-L, was lost on the same day, 18 August 1944, but by that time was flying with 181 sqn (code EL-). Whatever, it will be a terrific model.
  6. Troy, many thanks for posting this. I was really pleased to see this photo emerge as I have been looking for a long time for a shot of one of the Hurricanes my father flew at 16 OTU. This unit was a Wellington OTU and operated Martinets and Hurricane IIc aircraft as a fighter affiliation flight at Barford St John. He flew the Hurricanes between April and September 1944 and they included PG478 S. The OTU was disbanded and reborn as a Mosquito OTU on 1 Jan 45 and this may have been when PG478 was transferred to 1690 BDTF. Put me down in the 'black under-sides' camp. I can't see
  7. Hi Erwin 1) Yes the cuckoo door filters came off in the winter of 44/45 and, purely on photo-evidence, I would say the majority had the concentric rings replaced. 2) In spring 1944 the 2nd TAF's 18 Typhoon squadrons specialised in RP or bombs for reasons outlined above by Graham. Most kept that specialisation until they disbanded after the war but a few (183 and 266) had periods with one or the other. 247 used RP throughout that period. I look forward to seeing the completed model (Excreta Thermo, as 'Stapme' called it). Chris
  8. Dear Chris i'm doing a build in 1:32 scale of my uncle's aircraft. He crashed US-X NV728 after total engine failure. @erniewise saw my posting and tentatively suggested you might have access to some pics of my uncles aircraft?  He also said the Eduard Royal Tempest kit gives this a/c as an option and states the pilot as my uncle  Sgt PC Brown. 

    He survived the crash badly injured and was taken prisoner. He later was promoted F/Sgt then WO2. Think he possibly joined or was transferred to 16 Squadron leaving Germany in Oct 1946. 


    Kind Regards


    1. Chris Thomas

      Chris Thomas

      Hello Andy

      Looks like you have been having some fun with your research.  First, yes, 4-aperture wheels - all Mk V Series 2 had them.


      Yes, I have a single photo which includes NV728 when with 56 Sqn but it does not show the individual code letter; I know this was X as 56 Sqn's ORB is one of the few which quotes serial numbers and code letters (usually it is one or the other, or none at all).  The photo appeared in the Tempest V album which I produced for Eduard to include in the Royal edition of their Tempest V kit.  The decals do not include US-X - they feature (among others) US-W (which Pierre Closterman flew when with 56) and US-T (CO's aircraft post war).


      The photo was a great find because wartime Tempest shots are relatively rare and in particular 56 Sqn.  If you let me have your email address I'll send you a copy but I must ask you to keep it for your own private use.  It came to me from a Canadian who is compiling his own photographic book and I promised to keep it as exclusive as possible.  Of course I have no doubt that someone will scan my book and post a copy in due course.


      I also met a 56 Sqn Tempest pilot called Bill Tuck, who was flying with your uncle when he was shot down.  Tuck went down too but a few minutes later.  He said they thought your uncle was killed as the Tempest crashed into trees at the end of its forced landing , and exploded, so he was surprised to meet your uncle, swathed in bandages at some point in his captivity.


      Tuck though that both Tempests were brought down by the same cause.  They found a single German lorry in a village and it was duly strafed. As Tuck broke away he saw a solitary German soldier in a doorway with a rifle pointing straight at him, and then felt a clunk as (apparently) his shot hit the Tempest's radiator.  There was no flak so he was convinced this dead-shot was responsible for bringing down both Tempests.


      It is very likely that your uncle was in 16 Sqn as he would have returned to 56 Sqn following his recovery (mainly burns I believe) and that unit was re-numbered 16 Sqn at the end of March 1946.  It flew Tempest Vs for a few more months and then converted to Tempest IIs in August 46.

    2. Col Walter E Kurtz

      Col Walter E Kurtz

      Dear Chris. Firstly, thank you for taking the time to reply to my message. I'm very grateful to you for taking the time. Others have said you are the 'go to' expert for both Typhoon and Tempest matters. I am aware of some of your publications and think your original research has  helped me fill in some of the missing pieces of the 'jigsaw' as your works are quoted elsewhere on other WW2 forums. 

      I too found the 56 squadron ORB from the National Archives. Interesting to understand that it's one of the few that is so detailed. 

      I find reading this most absorbing and humbling. I know of W/O Tuck and that he force landed on the same sweep as uncle Peter. I think it says he called up and said he was ok and was seen to then wave and run off. This was north of Dummer Lake That you got to meet Bill Tuck must have been amazing. I'm guessing that he is no longer alive? He and Uncle Peter joined 56 as replacements on the same day i believe. 


      I'm astounded you can give a first hand account of what happened. This is amazing information. I do recall my late parents saying something vague about he was shot down by ground fire. Maybe during captivity Bill and Peter discussed how they ended up POWs and that's where this information got passed to my parents.  


      Uncle Peter was badly burned as a result of his crash. his right side of his face bore the marks.  In almost all the pics post crash he has his head turned to the right to hide the burn marks. 


      I have a copy of the Air Ministry Telegram 3.4.45 informing his parents ( and his girlfriend- Miss Jean Bird) that he had been killed in action. I have a photo of his discharge / reserve papers dated 07.10.46 from 84 Group HQ . I'm pretty sure he must have  moved with the 56 squadron pilots to 16 Squadron. 


      I would be most grateful if you could send me a copy of  US-X NV-728. I do promise to use it for my own personal use. 

      My cousin has some pictures of 56 Squadron and uncle Peter. (He was a professional photographer). I'm hoping he will share these pictures with me in due course. I seem to recall there are some gun camera stills in this album. I'm very willing to give you open access to this material in the future once i get it!. My email address is andy.strange@sky.uk.


      One last point. 


      There is a pic i posted in my WIP thread." Revell Hawker Tempest MkV 1:32 - 56 (Punjab) Squadron April1945 , 2nd TAS Volkel, Holland - My uncle's aircraft (US-X)"

      It shows him on the wing of a Tempest. On the Port front radiator cowling there looks to be a dark arrow showing prop rotation direction. Is this possible? or is it just the shadow of the prop blade.  What do you think?


      Thank you !

      Kind Regards










  9. That may be good for the car-door variants but the production sliding-hood Typhoons had the area under the canopy, when closed, painted Night (black). I have some photos of the 56 Sqn formation Tokyo Raider mentions but I do not find them so convincing; they were shot in April 1943. It was a press day and many photos taken on the ground also exist. One such is US-H photographed from the rear and above - shot from the top of a blast pen. Under the rear canopy looks ocean grey to me. However, I should say this seem to be a period when operational units were painting the co
  10. I agree with Dennis, although I would say the evidence is not completely conclusive. I've never found any documentation on the change in wheel type on Typhoons but, judging by photographic evidence, the changeover on the production line was between DN411 and DN421, i.e. Typhoons deliver mid December 1942. Typically, the pre-DN421 Typhoons would remain in service until late summer 1943. Which Typhoon decals have you chosen to use? Chris
  11. Hi Irwin As you suspected, there are not definitive answers to all your questions. 1) Certainly black above the the tubular structure (which was anodised silver) but below that I think it was cockpit grey/green. No documentation to prove this but my conclusions come from photos and artefacts. NB. the area behind the head armour was black. All this black was to reduce reflections on the canopy and dates from spring 1943 when Typhoons were sometimes used on night operations.. 2) As above posts - Aluminium (painted) 3) Correct as above. 4) T
  12. I believe the Airfix kit has a correctly positioned 1000 lb bomb carrier. This position was not used for LRTs - they employed the same location as the earlier bomb carriers ie. almost under the inner cannon. It was not possible to carry bomb and LRT on the same wing simultaneously, but the 1000 lb bomb carrier could be (and was) left in place when LRT were carried on Typhoons so-equipped.
  13. If you can get in Smith's have a look at the current Flypast. Oh dear ... I think it is in a plastic bag.
  14. The caption in 'Spitfire XVI The Dominions' reflects what I wrote in 2ndTAF Vol 3 when I used the same photo. I knew the photo was captioned as postwar in the IWM collection but had my doubts; the IWM photo is a copy of an RCAF photo. I went back to RCAF records and established an approximate date for the photo as late March or early April 1945 - which indicated the base was B.90. CT
  15. Just to expand on the matter of roundels on postwar BAFO Tempests. Initially of course their Tempests were ex-2ndTAF machines so they had 'Type C1' roundels in all positions ie with yellow outer rings and inner white rings. In the last quarter of 1945 new Tempests replaced some of the war-weary specimens and these were delivered in Fighter Command style markings, ie. no yellow rings on upper or lower wing roundels and still wearing the rear fuselage Sky band. These markings were retained in BAFO service. Serials were in the SN300 range. Underwing serial sizes, which on the Mk.V
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