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258 Squadron, help finding a pal's fathers a/c please/


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A pal of mines father flew with 258 Squadron during the war. They flew Hurricanes and then P47s. His name was Ralph Vart DFC and I think that most of his service was in Burma. I'd like to make up an aircraft that Ralph flew. Ralph is no longer alive and his son isn't sure of any aircraft details. If anyone can offer advice on how I can track down an aircraft he flew I'd be grateful.

 

TIA.

 

Matthew

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258's Hurricanes were service in Singapore, Sumatra/Java and Ceylon.  Serials are known for some aircraft (in Fighter Squadrons of the RAF) but they probably carried unknown individual codes.  If you are interested further then look for Chris Shores et al's trilogy Bloody Shambles I,  BS II, and Air War Over Burma, but Vart is not included in the indices.  There is also, I believe, a Brian Cull book Hurricanes over Singapore but I can't lay my hands on it.  For sheer interest I would also recomment Terence Kelly's Hurricanes over the Jungle or his Hurricanes in Sumatra, both of which cover much the same history, but he did not serve in Singapore.

 

For the Thunderbolts there are a large number of serial/code combinations for both Mk.I and Mk.IIs in FSoR, but there is also Chris Thomas's booklet on RAF Thunderbolts for Air Research which will more than answer any questions about the camouflage and markings carried.

 

For tying  the pilot to a particular aircraft you will almost certainly have to consult the National Archives, and the Operational Record Book.  This may or may not be of any help, but can be obtained (at a price) for any period for which they are available - which will probably be cheaper than a dedicated trip to Kew.  Knowing the period he served in the squadron will help.  Your friend can contact the RAF to obtain details of his father's service.

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59 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

 There is also, I believe, a Brian Cull book Hurricanes over Singapore but I can't lay my hands on it.  For sheer interest I would also recomment Terence Kelly's Hurricanes over the Jungle or his Hurricanes in Sumatra, both of which cover much the same history, but he did not serve in Singapore.

No mention of Vart in indices of either Hurricanes Over Singapore or Hurricanes Over The Jungle.

Edited by Seahawk
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I suspect that few if any of the pilots who got out of Java to Ceylon actually served on the P-47s.  It's a bit of a long service run.  Presumably however he did do something particularly meritorious to get the DFC, medals were given out parsimoniously (putting it politely) in the Far East, and I don't think it would be given just for being there.  Postwar service would be more likely to result in an AFC, I suspect.

 

Another source of his history (although not his aircraft codes) would be the citation for his DFC.  This will have been preserved, probably in the National Archives.  I feel that assistance for this kind of personal tracing is better handled on the RAF Commands website.  http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?1-General-Category&s=&daysprune=

 

I presume from the tone of the initial post that the log book is not longer present.

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Hello

 

His D.F.C. was reported in the Newcastle Journal, October 4th 1945:

 

Darlington D.F.C.

Flying Officer Ralph Vart, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Vart, of Kensington Gardens, Darlington, has been awarded the D.F.C. for outstanding leadership and courage.

 

His D.F.C. was gazetted in the London Gazette of October 2nd 1945, page 4858.

 

You can access the 258 Sqn ORB on the National Archives website:

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_no=258&_sd=1945&_ed=1945&discoveryCustomSearch=true&_cr1=AIR+27&_col=200&_dt=SQ&_hb=tna

 

You can use the 'Preview an image of this record' link to see the actual ORB pages, although with a watermark. Luckily the Appendices also include Sortie Reports, which give aircraft letters, so cross-referencing the ORB Form 541 with the Appendices will give a serial and code letter.

 

For example, in the Appendices page 768 of 784, May 12th 1945, he flew Thunderbolt 'N'. The Form 541 for May 1945 has KJ303 for him on this date - KJ303 is a P-47D-30-RE:

 

http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1944_1.html

 

Regards

 

Simon

Edited by Simon
typo
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Thanks all; lots to work on there. I hope that the log book is still available but I haven't asked (but will). As the model will be a gift I don't want to make too much fuss!

 

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17 hours ago, Simon said:

For example, in the Appendices page 768 of 784, May 12th 1945, he flew Thunderbolt 'N'. The Form 541 for May 1945 has KJ303 for him on this date - KJ303 is a P-47D-30-RE:

 

 

From the Geoff Thomas book it appears that the first natural metal aircraft were in the KL288 to KL317 batch so the example above would have been in camouflage of Dark Green and Dark Earth with Medium Sea grey undersides painted over the original delivery colours of ANA 613 Olive Drab, ANA 603 Sea Gray and ANA 602 Light Gray undersides. There is a note that much of the paint used for the repainting was locally produced in India and shades varied, with further variation caused by wear and weather which allowed the US colours to show through.

 

Another note states that squadrons often used darker colours for the code letters than the specified Sky as the pale colour compromised the camouflage. Serials on the P-47D-30-RE wre white and usually repeated in 4 inch lettering on the fin. As far as I can work out from the notes White identification bands were used on the wings, front of cowling, tailplanes and fin with normal SEAC roundels and fin stripes in two shades of blue.

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