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1844 NAS Hellcat info needed


Bruce Archer
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Hi!

  I am looking for information , and an image of Bill Atkinson's 1844 NAS Hellcat. An image would be GREAT! But I will take anything out there.

 

Please shoot me an e-mail at:

 

bad@cfl.rr.com

 

Thanks!

 

Bruce

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Which one?

 

Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft associates Sub Lieutenant WHI Atkinson with 4 Hellcats:

 

- on 18/12/44 he flew FN432 R5P of 1839 Sq into the 2nd barrier of Indomitable;

- on 6/4/45 he shot down 2 D4Ys (one shared) in JX762 of 1844 Sq;

- on 12/4/45 he shot down an A6M and possibly damaged a TONY in JW779 of 1839 Sq; and

- on 25/7/45 he shot down 2 B7A and damaged another in JX772 119/X, one of 4 1844 Sq Hellcat IIs detached from Indomitable to Formidable for night fighter cover.  (NB the aircraft were NOT NF variants.)  This combat made Atkinson the last Commonwealth ace of the war.

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The only photos of JX772 119/X I've seen are stills from this video.  See the 1:28 mark.  I'm told there are more which confirm markings further, but I've yet to get my hands on copies.

 

Jim

 

 

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I think this is JW776, not JW779, but a very interestingly marked 1844 Squadron Hellcat.  Notice the replacement aileron and nose bowl, no ROYAL NAVY or serial on the fuselage, and that the X on the tail isn't where we expect it to be.

 

Jim

 

35717086262_55af78b5df_h.jpgHellcat 3 by Jim Bates, on Flickr

 

35077003203_dfad6dd6ac_k.jpgHellcat 2 by Jim Bates, on Flickr

Edited by airjiml2
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I have been trolling the interweb for years to get a picture of JX772.  I am sure I read somewhere that it was rather tatty by July.  Anyway if you find a picture put it up here as I know a number of people (including myself) would be very interested..  Even if it does mean a repaint..

 

My interpretation:-

35441533162_99e6f66057_z.jpg

 

Edited by Grey Beema
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12 hours ago, airjiml2 said:

The only photos of JX772 119/X I've seen are stills from this video.  See the 1:28 mark.  I'm told there are more which confirm markings further, but I've yet to get my hands on copies.

 

 

I've seen unpublished film that shows JX772: X/119 (also includes film of  X/122, X/125, X/126).   This may be the source of the footage showing the pilot boarding, as this film includes this sequence. Unlike in the video clip embedded in Jim's post, in the  film that I've seen, JX772 has the serial applied above the carrier code on the fin in white. 

 

IG

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On 12/07/2017 at 11:25 PM, airjiml2 said:

I think this is JW776, not JW779, but a very interestingly marked 1844 Squadron Hellcat.  Notice the replacement aileron and nose bowl, no ROYAL NAVY or serial on the fuselage, and that the X on the tail isn't where we expect it to be.

 

Jim

 

 

 

It's certainly one of the 1844 Sq Hellcats detached to Formidable (of which there were 6, 4 for night fighting (but not NF variants) and 2 PR (Source: p.260 of Alarm Starboard by Geoffrey Brooke who was Chief Flight Deck Director of Formid' at the time)).  I have just been through that sequence (about 7 secs) on frame advance and think the reason why the carrier code is so low on the fin may be that the ROYAL NAVY title and serial appear above it, painted across the fin and rudder about halfway down.  This was not unknown when the BPF roundel and bar was applied to the fuselage: I first came across instances of it in a collection of photos of Hellcats on Ruler published in the Feb 1974 Almark Modelworld.  It's only apparent in a few frames and I couldn't honestly swear to it but I incline to believe that's the case. 

 

BTW Brooke's book also captures the tail and rear fuselage of an X-coded Hellcat amongst a range of Corsairs (p.248).  This one also has the tailcode low on the fin but the ROYAL NAVY title and serial are squeezed in above the bar of the roundel and bar so the above may all be barking up the wrong tree.  The serial is in black so I'm assuming the aircraft is in TSS.

 

I'm hoping iang will be along in a minute with a complete list of the Formidable Hellcats.

 

   

Edited by Seahawk
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1 hour ago, iang said:

 

I've seen unpublished film that shows JX772: X/119 (also includes film of  X/122, X/125, X/126).   This may be the source of the footage showing the pilot boarding, as this film includes this sequence. Unlike in the video clip embedded in Jim's post, in the  film that I've seen, JX772 has the serial applied above the carrier code on the fin in white. 

 

IG

 

I guess I'll have to get my paint brush out so....

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There is an old IPMS Canada Random Thoughts article that contains an interview with Atkinson on his experiences and a drawing of 119 based on his observations at the time. I did a 72nd scale model of it based on the drawings. Unfortunately, the model is long gone and photo bucket now has a photo of the model locked down. What a rip!

Alvin5182

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17 hours ago, airjiml2 said:

I think this is JW776, not JW779, but a very interestingly marked 1844 Squadron Hellcat.  Notice the replacement aileron and nose bowl, no ROYAL NAVY or serial on the fuselage, and that the X on the tail isn't where we expect it to be.

 

Jim

 

35717086262_55af78b5df_h.jpgHellcat 3 by Jim Bates, on Flickr

 

35077003203_dfad6dd6ac_k.jpgHellcat 2 by Jim Bates, on Flickr

Some of the replacement Hellcat`s delivered from the Escort Carriers in the Fleet Train had the Royal Navy and serial on the fin and this one looks like it might just have them too,....just above the tail code and this would explain why the tail code is lower than usual.

 

Edit,....ah,..just seen Ian`s post,....well at least it confirms what I thought!

 

Edited by tonyot
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5 hours ago, Seahawk said:

 

 

I'm hoping iang will be along in a minute with a complete list of the Formidable Hellcats.

 

   

 

 

Can't help much with this. The 1844 Squadron Diary provides a list of pilots, but not their aircraft (though it is noted that 1844 Sq supplied the C/O's flight and 1839 Sq another flight). 

 

 

0017e032-8ae3-4ab8-a6f8-3d502b070a3c.jpg

 

 

According to the Admiralty record of operations for Formidable, there were 6 Hellcats available at the start of Operations off Japan, on 17/7/45.  Two additional Hellcat pilots were embarked on  27/7/45 from the fleet train, and two more on 31/7/45, along with one replacement Hellcat. This may have replaced JX778 which was u/s on 19/7/45 and listed as a flyable dud. 

Edited by iang
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1 hour ago, JackG said:

Did any of the members' built models utilize the CanMilAir decals?  Not saying they are correct, but it would be interesting to see how they did their decals for Atkinson.  Unfortunately the owner is going in for knee surgery, and closed that section of his shop till mid September.

http://www.canmilair.com/index.htm

 

regards,

Jack

 

I used the Eduard 1/48 Hellcat Combi for the model and a mix of the kit decals, self painted and Xtradecal BFP marking set.  The reason that mine is marked as is, is that I worked from a picture of an Indomitable Sea Blue Hellcat and just changed the W to an X as I assumed that JX772 had been crossed decked.

 

It now seems that I might need to do a partial repaint but so long as it adds to the accuracy I don't mind (too much)...

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On 7/13/2017 at 4:09 AM, iang said:

 

in the  film that I've seen, JX772 has the serial applied above the carrier code on the fin in white. 

 

IG

 

Serial and ROYAL NAVY or just serial?

 

Jim

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20 minutes ago, airjiml2 said:

 

Serial and ROYAL NAVY or just serial?

 

Jim

Now you're asking. My notes just say "X/119 - GSB, serial above X on fin".  For X/122, in contrast, "GSB, serial and Royal Navy above X on fin, replacement engine cowl ring in TSS?". It is possible that the top of the fin of X/119 was not visible in the film, but on the basis of my 10 year old notes, I'd say no Royal Navy legend, just the serial. However, I took notes on 14 Corsairs, 4 Hellcats and 6 Avengers in two films taken on Formidable, so it's possible, though not that likely,  that I just didn't record the Royal Navy legend on X/119. 

 

 HTH

 

IG

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10 hours ago, iang said:

Now you're asking. My notes just say "X/119 - GSB, serial above X on fin".  For X/122, in contrast, "GSB, serial and Royal Navy above X on fin, replacement engine cowl ring in TSS?". It is possible that the top of the fin of X/119 was not visible in the film, but on the basis of my 10 year old notes, I'd say no Royal Navy legend, just the serial. However, I took notes on 14 Corsairs, 4 Hellcats and 6 Avengers in two films taken on Formidable, so it's possible, though not that likely,  that I just didn't record the Royal Navy legend on X/119. 

 

 HTH

 

IG

Was the Serial across Fin and Rudder or just Fin?  Ie was it just make the 4" JX772 fit somehow?  I might have a play later and see what fits..

Edited by Grey Beema
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On 7/14/2017 at 1:16 PM, iang said:

Now you're asking. My notes just say "X/119 - GSB, serial above X on fin".  For X/122, in contrast, "GSB, serial and Royal Navy above X on fin, replacement engine cowl ring in TSS?". It is possible that the top of the fin of X/119 was not visible in the film, but on the basis of my 10 year old notes, I'd say no Royal Navy legend, just the serial. However, I took notes on 14 Corsairs, 4 Hellcats and 6 Avengers in two films taken on Formidable, so it's possible, though not that likely,  that I just didn't record the Royal Navy legend on X/119. 

 

 HTH

 

IG

 

Ian,

 

Thank you sir.  I think your notes are pretty clear.  I'll got with just the serial on X/119.

 

Jim

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So let me get this straight....

 

Later build Hellcat II, in GSB,

Serial above low "X" on tail, 116 in normal position on fuselage

116 or 16 on landing gear doors

Royal Navy seen at all?

 

Is this right?

 

Edited by Bruce Archer
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Yes, though 119/X (not 116/X ) and I assume 119 on the gear doors (all other 1844 Hellcat photos I've seen have the full number on the gear covers) and no Royal Navy, if my notes are accurate.

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  • 6 months later...

Ian,

 

From the short clip Jim posted earlier in this thread, you can see the '119' on the gear doors: left side starting at about 1:21 (you can just see the '9' on the right gear door) and the right side at about 1:27.

 

I am currently working on this aircraft using the Eduard 1/48 Mk II.  I just painted the GSB this evening.  I am using the White Dog decal sheet, which seems to suggest that the propeller hub is sky (based on its shading matching the external fuel tank).  However, Jim's video clearly shows it to be darker, probably black.  Glad I found this before painting the propeller...

 

Bill

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