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Hi All

This may be a long shot but I'm trying to find details of the Thunderbolts my dad flew in Burma, he was on 79 Sqn for a very short time, then 34 Sqn to the end of the war. I have his log books but he never recorded the aircraft serials just the Sqn letter. My only reference is the RAF Thunderbolts book which is good but unfortunately doesn't help with my quest with the possible exception of one 79 Sqn aircraft with the code "Z" which he has in his log book, but there is a problem, the Aircraft is silver, my dad always said he didn't fly a silver Thunderbolt, I had a look through the book and there is no record of 79 Sqn losing an aircraft with the letter "Z" so is this the same aircraft in his log book? He was only with 79 for a very short time, so did he just forget? There is one photo in the book of a 34 Sqn aircraft that my dad supplied (I think he's on the wing?) which we know the details for, but it's not one he flew, so if you can, help!  Another question that may be easier, if the silver 79 Sqn aircraft does turn out to be right then, were the RAF T-Bolts painted silver or polished metal?

 

Thanks

John 

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John,

 

If it was a silver RAF Tbolt, it would have been natural metal. Initially, RAF Tbolts were delivered in US applied equivalents of MAP specified paints and for a short while this was continued after the USAAF ones were left unpainted, however the RAF ones were soon being delivered without paint also. This was to speed up delivery but was somewhat negated by the corrosion issues arising from the aircraft being shipped as deck cargo and arriving in India in less than ideal condition.

 

As to establishing the serial number, could be rather tricky. Having trawled through a number of the Tbolt equipped squadron ORB's, they seem rather light on serial number/code letter match-ups. I've found it's either one or the other and occasionally by cross referring a couple of sources (i.e. Records of Events with Summaries of Events), the odd match is thrown up. Have a look at The National Archive website, as you may be able to download the relevant files you require for a small cost if you can't visit Kew yourself.

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

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CB,

 

Not an easy task! I have a good friend who used to be with Hawker and later was head of BAE Aerosystems for North America; his uncle flew Hurricanes and later P-47's with No. 79 Squadron, and we both have been trying to find serials/codes for the Jugs his uncle flew. Not a lot of photos from the CBI, compared to the ETO and PTO, it seems. Jugs in the CBI scheme with the white bands are soooo pretty! If I find anything, I will post it here for you and any others interested.( I was able to find Spit XVIe serials/codes for the 695 Sq. aircraft his uncle flew postwar, but his uncle's CBI P-47 logbook entries list either serials or individual aircraft letter, but alas, not both together! My firend said his uncle sure loved the Jug compared to the Hurricane...probably agreed with the comment I once read that the interior was so  roomy, evasive action in a P-47 consisted of undoing the harness and running around inside!)

 

BTW, thanks for all of the Canberra knowledge you have shared with us on BM- I have a folder just for your pearls...Canberras uber alles!)

Mike

 

And yes, Mark,  I have visited your site and have it bookmarked!

Edited by 72modeler
corrected spelling- added comment
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19 hours ago, Harry Lime said:

John,

 

If it was a silver RAF Tbolt, it would have been natural metal. Initially, RAF Tbolts were delivered in US applied equivalents of MAP specified paints and for a short while this was continued after the USAAF ones were left unpainted, however the RAF ones were soon being delivered without paint also. This was to speed up delivery but was somewhat negated by the corrosion issues arising from the aircraft being shipped as deck cargo and arriving in India in less than ideal condition.

 

As to establishing the serial number, could be rather tricky. Having trawled through a number of the Tbolt equipped squadron ORB's, they seem rather light on serial number/code letter match-ups. I've found it's either one or the other and occasionally by cross referring a couple of sources (i.e. Records of Events with Summaries of Events), the odd match is thrown up. Have a look at The National Archive website, as you may be able to download the relevant files you require for a small cost if you can't visit Kew yourself.

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

Thank you very much Mark, I was hoping to do a camo aircraft as I'm not the best at multi shading natural metal panels ever more so if they are very weathered, but if that's the way it has to be then I'll have to bite the bullet as it were. I'll have a go with the PRO down load.

4 hours ago, 72modeler said:

CB,

 

Not an easy task! I have a good friend who used to be with Hawker and later was head of BAE Aerosystems for North America; his uncle flew Hurricanes and later P-47's with No. 79 Squadron, and we both have been trying to find serials/codes for the Jugs his uncle flew. Not a lot of photos from the CBI, compared to the ETO and PTO, it seems. Jugs in the CBI scheme with the white bands are soooo pretty! If I find anything, I will post it here for you and any others interested.( I was able to find Spit XVIe serials/codes for the 695 Sq. aircraft his uncle flew postwar, but his uncle's CB IP-47 logbook entries list either serials or individual aircraft letter, but alas, not both together! My firend said his uncle sure loved the Jug compared to the Hurricane...probably agreed with the comment I once read that the interior was so  roomy, evasive action in a P-47 consisted of undoing the harness and running around inside!)

 

BTW, thanks for all of the Canberra knowledge you have shared with us on BM- I have a folder just for your pearls...Canberras uber alles!)

Mike

  Hi Mike

It's very frustrating, another thing is the habit of not recording the aircraft serial stayed with him all through is RAF career with the exception of his time in Japan post war flying Dakotas and Auster's and Harvard's which is good as I've found 3 of his Dak's are still around and one is still flying in the USA! But I've missed out on all the other types like Spitfire Anson Master Martint and many more, so if I wanted to build a collection I'd have to do just a representative scheme each type in a unit/Sqn.

As for the Canberra, I'm glad you enjoy my ramblings, have you visited my site?

 

This is my 1/72 scale version but I'd really like to do one in 1/48 and get it right

DSC02471.jpg

John

 

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Hiya John,

                  I agree that the ORB from Kew will be worth downloading, even if there is no relevant aircraft detail it will be nice to see what your Dad`s unit was doing on a day to day basis.

 

As for the Thunderbolt schemes,...... upon arrival in India the Dark Grey (US applied MAP equivalent of Ocean Grey) section of camouflage was overpainted using RAF Dark Earth, resulting in a Dark Earth and Dark Green scheme with Medium Sea Grey undersides. The white SEAC stripes came in around January 1945 if I remember correctly. 

 

Good luck mate and if I can be of any further assistance please do get in contact,

 

Cheers

             Tony

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Hi Tony

Yes you're right it would be an interesting insight to what was going on, put a bit of meat on the bones as it were. The colurs are another thing that is bothering me, my dad always insistent that the P.47's he flew in Burma were Grey and Green, he said the ones at the OTU in Egypt were Mk.1's and 2's Brown and Green and very tatty, but the ones he flew with 34 Sqn. were Grey and Green, I don't think for a minute they all were but I'm guessing some may have been? He had a painting commissioned of "his" T-Bolt EG-T which has disappeared! but that was Grey and Green. That's one of the reasons I'm liking the idea of the all silver "Z" of 79 Sqn. He flew that one twice in his very short time with 79.

John

 

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Hi John - Have you tried....

 

http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?27-South-East-Asia-Command-(SEAC)-India-Burma-amp-Far-East

You'd need to sign up - but it may be of use?

 

Can you tell us your dad's name and where he was stationed with 79 squadron too - they moved about a bit!

Just another thought - the  T'Bolts that were stripped of paint back to their NMF always look very un-shiny in photos I've seen - so perhaps your dad didn't remember a "silver" one because it would have looked  somewhat duller?

 

Good luck on this - RAF T-bolts in the CBI is an interesting area of history - one which I enjoy too.

 

cheers

Jonners

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1 hour ago, Jon Kunac-Tabinor said:

Hi John - Have you tried....

 

http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?27-South-East-Asia-Command-(SEAC)-India-Burma-amp-Far-East

You'd need to sign up - but it may be of use?

 

Can you tell us your dad's name and where he was stationed with 79 squadron too - they moved about a bit!

Just another thought - the  T'Bolts that were stripped of paint back to their NMF always look very un-shiny in photos I've seen - so perhaps your dad didn't remember a "silver" one because it would have looked  somewhat duller?

 

Good luck on this - RAF T-bolts in the CBI is an interesting area of history - one which I enjoy too.

 

cheers

Jonners

 

Jonners,

 

At the time they were based at Meiktela along with 34 and another RAF squadron with Thunderbolts. As far as I understand from various sources, all NMF aircraft were delivered in that finish and were P-47D-30-REs. Geoff Thomas quotes KL288 as being the first of the NMF ones. General rule of thumb, HDxxx, KJxxx, KL1xx serialled Thunderbolt Mk.IIs would be in camo. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an example of a camo'd aircraft being stripped back to a NMF finish, but never say never!

 

Mark.

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John,

 

Don't know if this of use to you, but seems to have been filmed in June '45, might have some footage of some, all or none of your father's aircraft. I don't know what the cost would be in obtaining the film, but hopefully wouldn't be a King's ransom!

 

IWM Thunderbolts at Meiktila film

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

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40 minutes ago, Harry Lime said:

 

Jonners,

 

At the time they were based at Meiktela along with 34 and another RAF squadron with Thunderbolts. As far as I understand from various sources, all NMF aircraft were delivered in that finish and were P-47D-30-REs. Geoff Thomas quotes KL288 as being the first of the NMF ones. General rule of thumb, HDxxx, KJxxx, KL1xx serialled Thunderbolt Mk.IIs would be in camo. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an example of a camo'd aircraft being stripped back to a NMF finish, but never say never!

 

Mark.

Hi Mark - thanks for that - I have GT's book somewheree- so should know that!!.  Perhaps what I meant to say was the the NMF finish looks quite dull on the BW pics I've seen - so was this from. the rather harsh in theatre conditions?

 

I'd hazarded a guess at Meiktila - I've often had luck when searching for stuff online going via location rather than squadron.

 

 

Cheers

 

Jonners

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3 hours ago, Jon Kunac-Tabinor said:

Hi Mark - thanks for that - I have GT's book somewheree- so should know that!!.  Perhaps what I meant to say was the the NMF finish looks quite dull on the BW pics I've seen - so was this from. the rather harsh in theatre conditions?

 

I'd hazarded a guess at Meiktila - I've often had luck when searching for stuff online going via location rather than squadron.

 

 

Cheers

 

Jonners

 

Jonners,

 

I'd agree with that sentiment, they do look rather beaten up! When I did my 30 Squadron machine a few years ago, I finished off with a semi-matt varnish to try and capture that well worn and rather weary look.

 

John,

 

Did you mention you also have the Geoff Thomas Raf Thunderbolts book? If so, have a look at the image at the top of page 37. If the captioning is correct, it would show NV-B to be a camo'd aircraft at the time your father flew it.

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

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9 hours ago, Jon Kunac-Tabinor said:

Hi John - Have you tried....

 

http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?27-South-East-Asia-Command-(SEAC)-India-Burma-amp-Far-East

You'd need to sign up - but it may be of use?

 

Can you tell us your dad's name and where he was stationed with 79 squadron too - they moved about a bit!

Just another thought - the  T'Bolts that were stripped of paint back to their NMF always look very un-shiny in photos I've seen - so perhaps your dad didn't remember a "silver" one because it would have looked  somewhat duller?

 

Good luck on this - RAF T-bolts in the CBI is an interesting area of history - one which I enjoy too.

 

cheers

Jonners

Thanks Jonners, I'll give that forum a go, but I'm getting some good feedback with this thread, Rather than go through and try to copy the info I'd take photos of the appropriate parts of his log book, My dad was Flight Sergeant Bernard Sheehan. The airfields I remember him talking about were Meiktilla and Pegu, he called his last cat Pegu :) 

IMG_1692_zpszbjzthyd.jpg

IMG_1693_zpssfng2cqc.jpg

IMG_1694_zps7heetlrb.jpg

IMG_1695_zps0hcwhg2k.jpg

IMG_1696_zpsq4bn7fgc.jpg

This is an interesting one

IMG_1698_zps5kccvqre.jpgIMG_1699_zpsefoilbl7.jpg

John 

   

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8 hours ago, Harry Lime said:

John,

 

Don't know if this of use to you, but seems to have been filmed in June '45, might have some footage of some, all or none of your father's aircraft. I don't know what the cost would be in obtaining the film, but hopefully wouldn't be a King's ransom!

 

IWM Thunderbolts at Meiktila film

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

Thanks again Mark, very interesting, my dad used to say there was a film of "him" dropping bombs on a bridge, could this be it could it be him? the plot thickens!

John 

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4 hours ago, Harry Lime said:

 

Jonners,

 

I'd agree with that sentiment, they do look rather beaten up! When I did my 30 Squadron machine a few years ago, I finished off with a semi-matt varnish to try and capture that well worn and rather weary look.

 

John,

 

Did you mention you also have the Geoff Thomas Raf Thunderbolts book? If so, have a look at the image at the top of page 37. If the captioning is correct, it would show NV-B to be a camo'd aircraft at the time your father flew it.

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

Thanks I'll check it out!

John

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3 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

If you do have Geoff Thomas's book, you will also find that he discounts the idea of any SEAC T'bolts in green and grey, so if Nick has fresh information I hope we'll hear more about it.

I'm only going by what my dad said Graham, but I've learned over the years that the the pilot is the last person to ask about the outside of an aircraft! Iremember asking the pilot of an R&D Canberra he was standing next to what colour walk way lines were and he had no idea! He had a look for me though :)

John 

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I well remember you telling me that at an early Huddersfield!  Ever since I've been quoting you at people whenever the subject arises, without ever finding any other information.  However with GT being given on this thread as the best source (which he is) I thought it best that this point should be mentioned.

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John,

 

Based on the logbook extracts you've put up, your father flew the following Thunderbolts with 79 Squadron,

 

KL338 NV-Z, P-47D-30-RE. Overall NMF with blue theatre ID bands and dorsal fin.

KL206 NV-B, P-47D-30-RE. Dark Earth, Dark Green, Medium Sea Grey with white theatre ID bands. Interestingly, the white band on the fin continues onto the fin, the only a/c in the line up picture to do so. Highly likely that the stripes on the tailplanes would also continue across the control surfaces based on other images, however it can't be made out for definite on the line up one.

KJ355 NV-X, P-47D-30-RE. Finish as KL206, except white ID bands don't continue onto elevators or rudder. Difficult to be certain, but I think that aircraft is also in the line up image on P37, two past the silver NV-Z.

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

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23 hours ago, Harry Lime said:

John,

 

Based on the logbook extracts you've put up, your father flew the following Thunderbolts with 79 Squadron,

 

KL338 NV-Z, P-47D-30-RE. Overall NMF with blue theatre ID bands and dorsal fin.

KL206 NV-B, P-47D-30-RE. Dark Earth, Dark Green, Medium Sea Grey with white theatre ID bands. Interestingly, the white band on the fin continues onto the fin, the only a/c in the line up picture to do so. Highly likely that the stripes on the tailplanes would also continue across the control surfaces based on other images, however it can't be made out for definite on the line up one.

KJ355 NV-X, P-47D-30-RE. Finish as KL206, except white ID bands don't continue onto elevators or rudder. Difficult to be certain, but I think that aircraft is also in the line up image on P37, two past the silver NV-Z.

 

Regards,

 

Mark.

Brilliant Mark, thank you very much! I have now ran out of excuses not to build his 79 Sqn aircraft, just need to sort his 34 Sqn mounts, :)

 

John

Edited by canberra kid
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  • 4 months later...
On 15/02/2017 at 9:50 PM, tonyot said:

Hiya John,

                  I agree that the ORB from Kew will be worth downloading, even if there is no relevant aircraft detail it will be nice to see what your Dad`s unit was doing on a day to day basis.

 

As for the Thunderbolt schemes,...... upon arrival in India the Dark Grey (US applied MAP equivalent of Ocean Grey) section of camouflage was overpainted using RAF Dark Earth, resulting in a Dark Earth and Dark Green scheme with Medium Sea Grey undersides. The white SEAC stripes came in around January 1945 if I remember correctly. 

 

Good luck mate and if I can be of any further assistance please do get in contact,

 

Cheers

             Tony

Hi Tony my mam is moving home and I've just found a photocopy of some pages from the 34 Sqn. ORB that my dad must have got some time ago, it's very interesting! no details of individual aircraft, which is a big shame, but it does solve the mystery as to why he went to 79 Sqn first. Apparently my dad was part of a batch of new pilots only some of which were qualified on Thunderbolts, my dad was one of the qualified pilots having come from the Thunderbolt OTU in Egypt, due to operational pressures there was no time to convert the other pilots and they were sent back to join other Sqn's. When my dad got to Burma 79 Sqn was desperately short of pilots, so he and I guess other's were "lent" to 79 Sqn.         

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Looking up 79 Sqn in my Fighter Squadrons of the RAF - the John Rawlings book, it lists the following:

 

NV-R HD391

NV-S KL174

NV-A HD270

NV-N KJ202

NV-L KL231

NV-Z HD291

NV-X KJ355

 

What is interesting there is the difference for NV-Z with what Harry Lime found 

 

For 34 Sqn there are a number of serials but only one associated with a code

 

E KJ356

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47 minutes ago, Kallisti said:

Looking up 79 Sqn in my Fighter Squadrons of the RAF - the John Rawlings book, it lists the following:

 

NV-R HD391

NV-S KL174

NV-A HD270

NV-N KJ202

NV-L KL231

NV-Z HD291

NV-X KJ355

 

What is interesting there is the difference for NV-Z with what Harry Lime found 

 

For 34 Sqn there are a number of serials but only one associated with a code

 

E KJ356

Thanks for that Kallisti, it is interesting that you have a diferant number for NV-Z, my dad said he never flew a silver thunderbolt, so I checked the list of losses(I can't remember where I saw it) and there were no losses for an aircraft coded Z so I assumed the NV-Z in the RAF Thunderbolt was the one and my dad had miss remembered the colour, but perhaps not after all? Did the aircraft get swapped around between Sqn's on the Same airfield? Could HD219 be the same Z he flew on 34 Sqn? it says in the book that 34 Sqn didn't use a Sqn code on the aircraft (photos would indicate otherwise) is this to facilitate   

moving aircraft between Sqn's? So many questions!

 

John 

John    

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