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Sydhuey

RAAF Beaufighter colours

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This is something I have dug into in the last couple of years when I saw the minefield and mistaken information on RAAF Beaufighter colours the more I dug the more interesting information appeared, The two biggest misconceptions of RAAF Beaufighter colours is that they were all painted Dark Green/Dark Earth over Sky or all over Foliage Green, when at the most 1/4 of the British built Beaufighter's were in the TLS Dark Green/Dark Earth scheme and many of the Australian built Mk 21's had their factory scheme of all over Foliage Green modified in the field.

The UK built Beaufighter's were delivered in about 6-8 batches, the first batch were Mk Ic's  a total of 72 Ic's all Fairey built were operated by the RAAF the first 54 (A19-1 to A19-54)(between T4920 andT5074) of these has been generally rendered in various histories , narratives and books as being in the initial TLS scheme of Dark Green/Dark Earth over Sky, these 54 were delivered between end of March 42 till May 42 the majority of these went to 30 Sqn which was raised at RAAF Richmond in Mar42 which deployed to PNG in Aug 42 and was involved at the Battle of Milne Bay and eventually based for  almost the whole of the next year at Port Moresby , a large amount of press and stories were circulated about the forming and operations of this Sqn with their early Beaufighter's and I think this is were the persistent story of all Beaufighter's being in the TLS scheme originated, the next Sqn to form was 31 Sqn at RAAF Wagga in Aug 42 this Sqn was to deploy to the Darwin area Oct /Nov42 to establish itself at Coomlie Creek airfield were it remained for almost the next 2 years operating over the Dutch East Indies and Timor . The second batch of Mk Ic's arrived between Jun and Sept 42 these 18 Ic's (A19-55 to A19-72)(Between T5075 and T5099)  were in what became the std Coastal scheme in the RAF TSS Dark Slate Grey/Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky , with the majority going to 31 Sqn , Now 30 Sqn had a predominance of the original 54 in the TLS scheme and 31 Sqn had a predominance of the second batch of 18 in the TSS scheme, 30 Sqn operating in PNG mainly over the Jungle had no preference for colours and operated aircraft in whatever scheme they came in but 31 Sqn operating over the Arafura Sea on long over water missions quickly complained about the Dark Earth colour standing out over the sea, 31 Sqn requested there aircraft be delivered in the TSS scheme or could they modify the TLS scheme of their existing aircraft, this was the start of the rainbow of schemes 31 Sqn was to produce , a variety of schemes was applied to the TLS Ic's , initially it was simply Grey applied over the Dark Earth - I have heard of Extra Dark Sea Grey, Dark Sea Grey and Medium Sea Grey as the colours,  as the paints faded so badly in the tropics any of these colours would be possible, some of the TLS scheme aircraft as they had major repairs / Overhauls were repainted in the TSS scheme , as I said 30 Sqn in PNG didn't care and just continued to run them as they came.

The next batch was the first of the VIc's the RAAF operated 63 VIc's all in the TSS scheme delivered between Oct 42 and Aug 43, these came from 2 factories,

A19-73 to 78, 85 to 90, 97 to 99, 110 to 112, 114, 115, 119, 120, 125, to 129, 135 , 136 (total 29) (between T5200 and T5344) came from the Fairey Factory all came with straight tail plane.

A19-79 to 84, 91 to 96, 100 to 109 (105 crashed in UK), 113, 116 to 118, 121 to 124, 130 to 134 (total 34)( between EL241 and EL520 and between JL429 and JL854) came from the Bristol factory at Old Mixton ,Weston , and came with the improved 12 o Tail plane , belt fed cannon, factory observers mg fit and removable wing guns that could have tanks installed and underwing bomb racks for 250 Ib bombs. The majority of the Fairey built aircraft went to 30 Sqn and the majority of the Bristol built aircraft went to 31 Sqn who were now operating in the  long range fighter/bomber role and preferred the Bristol built aircraft as they could carry bombs and had longer range tanks.

As more Beaufighter's came on line the older Ic's started to be replaced and went to 5 OTU ( this also exacerbated the story of the TLS scheme as these older aircraft were now at an OTU back in Australia with press access and a quite large photo history) , as the Ic's could not take the bigger engines of the VI, X and XI's coming on line, eventually most of the latter Beaufighter's were brought up to the similar std with belt fed cannon, removable wing guns/tanks, bomb racks and fitted with Hercules XVII/XVIII .

The next batches were the Mk XI's and X's all Bristol Old Mixon production.

MK XI's delivered between Jul 43 to Sept 43 A19-137 to 148, 151,152, 156 to 158 , 160, 161, 163. (Total 20) (JL946 and Between JM120 and JM286) spread between both units. All delivered in the TSS Scheme of Dark Slate Grey/Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky.

Final batch were the Mk X's between Aug 43 and Aug 44, A19-149 , 150, 153 to 155, 159, 162, 164 to 218 (Total 62) (Between JM120 and JM286, LX815,  Between LX988 and LX995, Between LZ195 and LZ328) up to A19-187  these 32 Mk X's were in the TSS Scheme of DSG/EDSG over Sky , the final 30  Mk X delivered A19-188 to A19-217 ( Between NE229 and NE698) the last half of this batch were in the latest TSS scheme of upper surface Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky, dropping the Dark Slate Grey.

I can find no record of any variation to the TSS schemes when they came into use as 30 was happy with anything and 31 liked the TSS scheme, by the time the latter single upper colour TSS scheme came into use, the early TLS scheme aircraft were gone from frontline Sqn use.

Australian Mk 21 Beaufighter's came from the factory from Jul 44 in the all over Foliage Green scheme when they got to 31 Sqn after operating primarily TSS scheme aircraft for 2 years once again didn't like the all over Foliage Green for over water ops, they sought and gained permission to repaint their aircraft into a more suitable scheme, several were used , the initial field scheme was Medium Green/Medium Sea Grey over Sky Blue, the official 31 Sqn scheme approved was Foliage Green/Medium Sea Grey over Sea Grey, meanwhile up in the Islands 30 Sqn and eventually 22 Sqn didn't care and ran their aircraft how they came , 22 Sqn ran all Aust Mk 21's in all over Foliage Green, 30 Sqn was still running UK built machines with their new Mk 21's so had aircraft in 3 schemes , both TSS schemes and the all over Foliage Green scheme, when 31 Sqn moved from the NT area to the NG area of operations to form 77 wing with 22 and 30 Sqn they had to repaint all their Mk 21's back to the original all over Foliage Green scheme as all the aircraft for the 3 Sqn's were operated in a pool and only marked with Sqn codes when issued to each Sqn.

That pretty well covers RAAF Beaufighter's, less than 1/4 of the 217 UK built Beaufighter's were in the TLS scheme, the vast majority approx. 133 were in the TSS scheme of DSG/EDSG over sky and 30 in the late TSS scheme of single upper colour EDSG over Sky.

 

Hope this is of interest.          

       

      

Edited by Sydhuey

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1c were "coastal" and should have been finished in TSS. 1f were "fighter" and should have been finished in TLS. 

 

Nick

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Not the first batches Nick, they came in the TLS scheme as they went from the If to the Ic, there are pics of early machines with 272 Sqn in the TLS scheme with similar batch sn's as the RAAF ones, I believe about half of the 300 Ic's built were in TLS before Costal Command requirements for the  TSS scheme were applied to production aircraft I think the order to go to TSS was about Jul/Aug 41 about the time these aircraft were being built. The First batch to arrive in Australia in early 42 were in the TLS scheme . All subsequent batches were TSS.

Edited by Sydhuey

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That's quite possible if the aircraft were deemed to be delivered for "overseas" operational use, but by October 1941 the under surface colour for TLS aircraft sent overseas was supposed to be Azure Blue. That didn't always happen as colour film of Hurricanes reveals. TSS was already in use for CC aircraft and Beaus are mentioned in the August 1941 CC order for TSS. Whilst it is true that early CC Beaus were in TLS (e.g. WP-N R2153 in Jan 1941) deliveries in 1942 seems a bit late for 1c in TLS except for the "overseas" caveat mentioned.

 

Nick   

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The first 54 for the RAAF were ordered in May 41 and arrived from Mar 42, when ordered TLS was still the official scheme in the UK , crosschecking serial batches UK to Australia, aircraft of similar serial numbers were in Sqn use in the UK 4-5 months before arrival in Australia, this 4-5 month time line was the same for most aircraft from the UK from build to service in Australia, there is no doubt the first batch of Beaufighter's in Australia were in TLS , my main point is the persistent story of this colour scheme continuing through the whole 217 UK built aircraft. 

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One of Ian baker's recent AHCB books has details of the 31 Sqn camo' modifications.

 

It's a brave call that all the first batch were in TLS.

Edited by leyreynolds

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The first batch was actually easier to research than latter batches, books and narratives going back to WW2 talk about the first batch in "Green and Brown", I have at least 3 references from crews written during the war from 30 Sqn about picking up their new Green and Brown Beaufighter's, there is no reference in 30 Sqn history about the later TSS scheme but there is in 31 Sqn narratives how they didn't like the "Brown" on the first batch and preferred the TSS on subsequent batches and their field repaints of the TLS machines, as I said 30 Sqn didn't care and maintained their early TLS machines in the "Green/Brown" scheme , as they operated side by side with 22 Sqn with Boston's also in DG/DE over Sky and major repairs were done by the same RSU for both Sqn's.

30 Sqn operated them how they came, TLS, early TSS, late TSS and Mk 21's in overall Foliage Green.

31 Sqn operated a total of 19 of the original batch of 54 between Aug 42 and Aug 43  never more than about 5-6 at a time, they didn't like the TLS and some were field painted with the DE over painted with Grey and some got a full TSS scheme, they put in formal requests for preference for TSS schemed aircraft or field repaints so there is a paper trail of complaints about the TLS scheme, there is then nothing from 31 Sqn till late 44 (they had been operating an all TSS or modified TLS coloured fleet from early 43 till late 44) when they got their first Mk 21 they again complained about the All over Foliage Green for over water operations and once again had field and official schemes, they field scheme on the Mk 21's (which they preferred) of Medium Green/Medium Sea Grey over light Blue , (photo's of A8-6 and A8-11 show the modified scheme for many years no one picked the three tone schemes as being on Mk 21's and not British built machines), the official approved scheme (dated Jun 44) was Foliage Green/Medium Sea Grey over Sea Grey. These were all repainted back to allover Foliage Green when 31 joined the other Beaufighter units on Noemfoor island at the end of 1944.         

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Just to play the Devil's Advocate here, in what you've said above you have not made clear that all the aircraft in the first batch were in TLS.  What you haven't directly quoted are serials from the end of this batch that you can confirm were in TLS.  Ideally, of course, the last one.  Alternatively, what would help would be evidence from here that British Mk.Ic examples with serials up to T5074 were still being delivered in TLS.

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Dunno if this helps even but I think it's the only known color photo of a British built Aussie Beau:

http://www.adf-gallery.com.au/

 

According to the text it is A19-17 T4947 Mk.Ic taken from here:

http://www.adf-serials.com.au/2a19.htm

( Notice all Mk.I and Mk.VI in the list^^ are labelled as 'c', there's no Mk.If mentioned.)

The sloppy demarcation line between the upper and lower side suggests it has been overpainted perhaps with Australian paints

 

Beaufighter_A19_17.jpg

 

Notice all Mk.I and Mk.VI in the list^^ are labelled as 'c', there's no Mk.If mentioned.

 

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Very true Graham, photo interpretation of these old photo's is very hard, Old narratives talk of the first batch in the TLS and a few serials are mentioned , 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5 and 54 I have reference too in TLS (and a few others these were just some I know), also the old official RAAF scheme was a copy of the RAF TLS, the Mk VI, XI and X's where known to be in factory colours ie: TSS , the first order of 54 was ordered in TLS (as was the official scheme at the time) after that ???  and as I said the correspondence from 31 Sqn complaining about the DE in the TLS scheme , as I said 31 only operated about a 1/3 of the original 54 as the second batch of 18 Ic's and the VIc's were issued there is no more complaints. 

The thing that has always got me is the fixed assumption that all the British built machines were in TLS, look at almost every profile available of RAAF Beaufighter's and they will be in TLS, art work by Robert Taylor , Jack Fellows , Steven Heyen  of RAAF Beaufighter's they are all in TLS, why I don't know.

30 Sqn arrived in NG in Sep 42 with 24 aircraft, 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,13,14,15,28,33,35,36,37,38,39,40,50,53 and 54, you would assume as these were all new aircraft they would be in the same colour.

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There are other colour pics of the early RAAF Beaufighters.  They are on a film taken at Milne Bay and in the AWM collection F03628.  To add to the discussion. No serial, but....must be one of the 30 Squadron serials.

PlRpiMJ.jpg

 

 

Edited by Ozhawk40
photobucket fail - replaced host

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Wow Ozhawk, never seen that before , those colours are spot on, just watched that movie , amazing !!! Inflight pic of Beaufighter was "O" A19-15.

Edited by Sydhuey

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Hi Syd

 

Could be 'O'  sometimes looks like a 'Q' when seen frame by frame.  Some image blur.  Would be good to view a hi def version.

 

osNaq78.jpg

 

[

 

 

Edited by Ozhawk40
photobucket fail - host replaced

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The early Sqn codes at 30 Sqn first 24 aircraft were alphabetical in sequence , 1-A, 2-B, 3-C, 4-D, 5-F, 6-G, 8-H, 9-J, 10-K, 11-L, 13-M, 14-N, 15-O, 28-P, 33-Q ,35-R, 36-S, 37-T, 38-U, 39-?, 40-?, 50-X, 53-Y, 54-V, after this they are all over the place. 

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Also the pic of the 30 Sqn machine parked at Milne Bay in Sept/Oct matches the scheme on the 31 Sqn machine A19-17 EH-B very closely, A19-17 went to 31 Sqn Oct 42 and crashed on ops Oct 43, the two letter Sqn codes began to be applied to 31 Sqn machines from early to mid 43, and 30 Sqn from Oct 43, so its interesting 31 is running a machine in TLS in approx. Jun-Oct 43 .  

Edited by Sydhuey

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Fascinating,......I had wondered about the colours quite a few years ago when I saw that colour photo of EH-B further up and corresponded with Peter Malone about it,...... that film of 30 Sqn RAAF is brilliant,..never seen that before. I did read that 30 Sqn had repainted some of its Beau`s in green/brown as they disliked the `coastal' colours,....but whether that is accurate or not I just don`t know. 

I`ve done quite a few RAAF Beau models and I`m quite happy with the colours on this one;

DSCF5533_zpssf5k6vp3.jpg

and this one;

DSCF8260_zpsihosongw.jpg

BUT,.....

This one I`m not too sure about, having built it some years ago when I was unsure about whether it was TSS or TLS and eventually opted for the latter when I read about the possible repainting,...with the dome behind the cockpit I`m aware that it should be a Mk.Ic, but weren`t early ones delivered in TLS too?;

RAAFBeau%2048th_zps6wpxeapu.jpg

 

If anybody can comment that would be great as I`m pondering whether to repaint this last one! 

Sorry for hijacking the thread with my own personal query, 

Cheers

          Tony

Edited by tonyot

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Your Beaus are all good Tony,

the 22 Sqn Mk 21 A8-27 looks great,

the Mk X from 30 Sqn A19-192 I am not sure if she is a two tone TSS or the later single colour EDSG TSS, original serial was NE232, most of the NE serial Beaufighter pictures I have seen in UK service appear to be in the single colour TSS but lower S/N's I am not sure (post NE339 I would defiantly say single colour),   Australian war memorial picture NWA0676 is a photo of the R/H side of the aircraft and it looks a single colour but the TSS schemes fade so bad who knows?? A19-189, 192, 191, 193, 197 were all NE200 series , the remaining 25 NE series Mk X's were all later then NE356.

The 30 Sqn Ic  A19-34 is as she looked when retired from 30 Sqn in 1944, only thing it didn't have hedge hog exhausts fitted, this was one of the last Ic's in Sqn service, the Ic's couldn't take the higher power engines of the VI,X,XI's so got moved on to the OTU's and test units when later aircraft were available.

Edited by Sydhuey

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4 hours ago, Sydhuey said:

Your Beaus are all good Tony,

the 22 Sqn Mk 21 A8-27 looks great,

the Mk X from 30 Sqn A19-192 I am not sure if she is a two tone TSS or the later single colour EDSG TSS, original serial was NE232, most of the NE serial Beaufighter pictures I have seen in UK service appear to be in the single colour TSS but lower S/N's I am not sure (post NE339 I would defiantly say single colour),   Australian war memorial picture NWA0676 is a photo of the R/H side of the aircraft and it looks a single colour but the TSS schemes fade so bad who knows?? A19-189, 192, 191, 193, 197 were all NE200 series , the remaining 25 NE series Mk X's were all later then NE356.

The 30 Sqn Ic  A19-34 is as she looked when retired from 30 Sqn in 1944, only thing it didn't have hedge hog exhausts fitted, this was one of the last Ic's in Sqn service, the Ic's couldn't take the higher power engines of the VI,X,XI's so got moved on to the OTU's and test units when later aircraft were available.

Brilliant,..cheers Syd,......I did wonder about the hedgehog exhausts on my Mk.Ic and will fix that no worries. I hear what you say about the Mk.X and did scour all available pics to determine whether it was TSS or just EDSG on top and checked with aircraft with similar serials too which were built at Weston Super Mare as well,..... I thought that I could just see demarcation lines on the real aircraft and  opted for TSS. 

All the best mate,

                          Tony

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no problem , as I said those first few in the NE series I'm not sure of but the later ones I would say with pretty good certainty are in the single TSS scheme.  

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1 minute ago, Sydhuey said:

no problem , as I said those first few in the NE series I'm not sure of but the later ones I would say with pretty good certainty are in the single TSS scheme.  

Cheers Syd....my own research showed that when the NE series were passing down the production line at Weston they were finished in TSS while the new EDSG/Sky scheme was still being agreed upon as it was originally specified as Dark Sea Grey on the uppers. When those NE series aircraft allocated for RAF Coastal Command service went to the MU for the coastal specific kit to be installed they were refinished with the EDSG uppers too while those set for `export' overseas went to a packing unit or ferry unit (depending on which theatre they were allocated) and retained the TSS.  Of course some of the aircraft sent to an MU for coastal updates could have later been re allocated for `export',..... so never say never but I was sure that I could see faint camo demarcation lines on EH-T,.... so opted for the TSS,..... but as you say it is very hard to determine via B&W photos.

All the best

                 Tony 

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Britmodeller at its best.  Valuable original research enhanced by interested and informed discussion.  Well done, all.

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Interesting comment there Tony: I understood that as part of the effort to simplify and speed up production, all Mosquitoes were painted either the PRU Blue or Night Fighter green/grey schemes at the factory, leaving any Command-specific colours to be painted at the MUs.  Hence the rather unusual (and not intended) appearance of Day Fighter camouflaged FB Mk.VIs appearing in 2 TAF.

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Here are some pictures of RAAF Beaufighter's that have been in circulation for many years but people didn't see what was in front of them with the "all RAAF Beaufighter's are TLS for British built and Foliage Green for Aust built" mindset.

[URL=http://s17.photobucket.com/user/Sydhuey/media/img103_zpsktd3jy7h.jpg.html][IMG=http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b56/Sydhuey/img103_zpsktd3jy7h.jpg][/URL]

Ok I Hate photolinks ! this is why I don't link photo's 1 hour of mucking around for this!!! I have 5 photo's I want to add with narratives of the schemes too hard!

 

Thanks Jason still not getting it! 

Edited by Sydhuey

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You just need to take the link itself, in this case http://s17.....etc and put {img} before it, and {/img} at the end. Note that the brackets should be square brackets (i.e. [ & ]), but I can't use them otherwise the software tries to parse it.

 

img103_zpsktd3jy7h.jpg

 

cheers,

Jason

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