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JackG

4N (RNAS) aircraft markings?

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Anyone familiar with these particular markings, or by chance have this book to look it up?

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSv-7nJyuqIZ6su1dpMrUF

 

Specifically trying to figure out the appearance of the  first victory scored by the Sopwith Camel (N6347), as flown by Alexander MacDonald Shook on June 5th,  1917.

 

regards,

Jack

Edited by JackG

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I've got a copy. It says that "After changing to Camels, no markings appear to have been issued for the squadron and they are not on the lists for either the 26th August or 3rd December 1917. Squadron markings were finally allocated 22nd March 1918....". There's a photo of N6346, which indeed shows no markings at all, not even an individual letter. same with B'5243 photographed later in 1917, though it has a personal marking.

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Thanks very much for the above, much appreciated.

 

I wonder if they employed flight colours during this period - on the photo of N6346, is there any discernible shade difference between the wheel covers and aircraft overall?  Then again, I'm not sure which flight Shook commanded.

 

regards,

Jack

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Jack,

 

The wheels are in the shadow of the lower wing, so it's hard to say. However, the fin does look as though it could be a darker shade than the rest of the airframe, appearing to be somewhere in between the PC10 finish and the red of the rudder stripes. Equally, though, it could just be a trick of the light, or maybe the fin had originally been clear doped linen with the Sopwith logo and had been overpainted. There are no other aircraft in the photo for comparison, just a wooden hut and a bell tent in the background.

 

Regards

 

Patrick

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Hi Patrick, thanks again. 

 

Seems like this one would be a simple build in terms of markings - so a possible candidate for a future GB.

 

regards,

Jack

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Just to add, the Air-Britain Camel File has a photo of N6345 with 4 Naval. It carries the personal marking "Chu Chin Chow" but, again, no letter or number and in this view the wheel covers and fin do appear to be PC10. One interesting thing, though - on top of the fuselage, above the front half of the white box in which the serial's painted, there's what appears to be a small, light-coloured disc. Only the left half is visible but it's very regular in shape: maybe it could simply be light reflected down onto the fabric from some circular object out of shot but if it is, that object must be neatly aligned with the centreline of the fuselage. 

 

There's also a photo of N6333, which does indeed have the clear-doped fin and "Sopwith Aviation Co." logo, tending to confirm that N6346 had it overpainted after delivery to the RNAS.

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Patrick, thanks for the continued interest on this one.

 

I like the idea of the clear doped fin displaying the Sopwith logo.  It would be a nice addition to an otherwise basic marking scheme, but I'm thinking it probably was painted over by the time Shook scored the Camel`s first victory,  as they would of been with the Squadron for about month already - unless that particular mount was a late arrival?

 

The personal marking "Chu Chin Chow" is interesting, could the use of 'C' indicate a C flight machine?  I know Shook previously flew a Pup emblazoned with 'BOBS', so perhaps he was B flight?  I had considered this personal logo may have  carried over to his camel, but is probably stretching it.  I've asked this over at the Aerodrome, with resulting 135 hits, but not a single response.

 

DS496.jpg

regards,

Jack

 

 

 

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Jack,

 

Pleasure; it's an interesting discussion. I don't think the first letter of the name indicates the flight - apart from the personal marking I mentioned on B5243 (which is a large rendering of what appears to be the RNAS eagle badge) it carries the name "Tsing Tau". But looking again at that photo, I've noticed something I missed before. There are three other Camels behind it and on the starboard side of the fin of the nearest aircraft is - a white disk marking. B5243 doesn't have one, and the tails of the other two are out of the picture.

 

BASM says the following about individual markings: "Some Sopwith Scouts were marked with names on the sides, roughly between the cockade and cockpit, in ornate style, for example Anzac, Bobs and DoDo, while others were completely unmarked. Initially, Camel markings were probably in the same pattern as on the Sopwith Scouts. Later, these appear to have been pilot's choice with names and mottoes but some time in this period [after the point that we're discussing] numbers "1" - "24" painted in front of the cockade were used:

A Flight used 1 - 8

B Flight used 9 - 16

C Flight used 17-24.

 

N6347 was delivered to the RNAS on 18 May and to 4 Naval on 26 May. I'm sure I've read in the past, somewhere, that the policy was to overpaint the clear doped fin on Camels, so yes, I doubt it would still have been in evidence - it might well have been deleted at the depot. However, I think it's perfectly possible that "Bobs" could have been painted on the fuselage by 5 June. Judging by the names we know were applied, the pilots seem to have had their "own" aircraft, and as a flight commander Shook would if anyone did.

 

Regards

 

Patrick

Edited by AWFK10
missing word

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Thank you Patrick, much information to consider here.

 

I think my only question left is on the general appearance of 4N Camels during 1917, ie. the metal portions and wood panels - where they left as is or painted over?

 

regards,

Jack

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Jack,

N6345 and N6346 have their cowling and metal and wooden panels left unpainted. The metal components, at least, still look to be in natural finish in the photo (it's rather dark) of B5243 and other Camels dated to later in 1917 but everything is overpainted on Camels photographed in 1918.

 

Regards

 

Patrick

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