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Hawker Demons 23 Squadron early years


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Whilst searching the web for references and photos of the RR Kestrel engine, I came across the attached "photo" of Demons of 23 Sqdn. The original picture was in negative format so I pushed it through Photoshop and, to my surprise, the resultant image appears to show the Units aircraft with white (?) upper surfaces on the rear fuselage and fin. The name of the CO in the caption, S/L H.G. Crowe M.C., puts the date of the photo to between Feb '33 and Sept '35 around the time that 23 Squadron first formed on Demons.

I have checked all my references and can find no information as to why the aircraft should be so painted. However, I also have a suspicion, from the signature bottom left, that it may be an extremely good painting.

Comments please.

jsG8Yim.jpg

Dennis

Edited by sloegin57
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That's interesting; never seen Demons with white on top like that. You may be correct about this being a clever painting, or perhaps a retouched photograph?

Regards,

Jason

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That's interesting; never seen Demons with white on top like that. You may be correct about this being a clever painting, or perhaps a retouched photograph?

Regards,

Jason

Yes, I agree with the retouched photo part as well. One reason that I put it up is to get it nailed down as to what it is, genuine or not, as I do not want someone else to find it, assume that it is genuine with the result that it gets set in concrete and totally spurious profiles (and decals I suppose) start to appear.

I have just gone through my Airfix Magazines for 1974 and Part 21 of "Fighting Colours", this chapter by Bruce Robertson, makes no mention of it as being applied to Demons although it appears that some fighters of the period (not Demons) had coloured decking aft of the cockpit to denote Flights.

It's interesting that in later years 23 Squadron painted at least one of it's Lightning F.Mk.6's with a white spine and fin. I thought it odd at the time when every other Lightning Unit had gone in for unit colours plastered all over, but I am now wondering if there may be a modicum of truth in the "photo" above.

Dennis

PS ..........and does the white go over the top of the cowling ???............

Edited by sloegin57
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I think it's either a painting or a re-touch, BUT it could also be an optical illuson. In 'On Silver Wings' there is a photo of 604 Squadron Demons that apperars to show a very similar finish, but closer examination shows it's just the angle of the light hitting the upper fuselage/cowl AND the effect of the darker squadron markings

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I agree with Dave. It is the high contrast with the fuselage markings than makes it appear white, but it is not significantly lighter so than the nose. The photo is worth showing, though.

Edited by Graham Boak
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Is the signature 'Frank L Westley'? If so he painted aviation postcards for the Aircraft & General Fine Art Company, covers and tonal illustrations for Popular Flying and (perhaps) other magazines in the 1930s. He was an inspiration, with others, for Roy Cross. Here are some:-

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/PF28_July%201934.jpg

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/40/ (scroll down to 'Picking up the Gauntlet')

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/18/ (scroll down to 'A Tough Proposition')

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/PF40_July%201935.jpg

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/PF18_September%201933.jpg

The illustration you show looks like a typical centre spread from Popular Flying. If the month and year are legible it might even be possible to find it at the linked Popular Flying site.

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Is the signature 'Frank L Westley'? If so he painted aviation postcards for the Aircraft & General Fine Art Company, covers and tonal illustrations for Popular Flying and (perhaps) other magazines in the 1930s. He was an inspiration, with others, for Roy Cross. Here are some:-

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/PF28_July%201934.jpg

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/40/ (scroll down to 'Picking up the Gauntlet')

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/18/ (scroll down to 'A Tough Proposition')

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/PF40_July%201935.jpg

http://www.popularflying.com/Covers/PF18_September%201933.jpg

The illustration you show looks like a typical centre spread from Popular Flying. If the month and year are legible it might even be possible to find it at the linked Popular Flying site.

Thank you Nick, that has answered all of my questions including the unstated one - which magazine ?. It looks like "Popular Flying for June 1934" and the artist does indeed appear to be Frank L. Westley.

Edit:- . It was indeed that magazine. The centre spread is annotated as "an illustration by Frank L Westley"

I think it's either a painting or a re-touch, BUT it could also be an optical illuson. In 'On Silver Wings' there is a photo of 604 Squadron Demons that apperars to show a very similar finish, but closer examination shows it's just the angle of the light hitting the upper fuselage/cowl AND the effect of the darker squadron markings

I agree with Dave. It is the high contrast with the fuselage markings than makes it appear white, but it is not significantly lighter so than the nose. The photo is worth showing, though.

Thank you both for your input. It is definitely a painting with, it appears, a bit of "artistic Licence". I would not mind a copy of the original.

There is also a photo in "On Silver Wings", page 176, of a 23 Squadron "Hart fighter" with a similar optical illusion.

Thank you all again - matter "nailed'.

Dennis

Edited by sloegin57
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