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KRK4m

Vampire and Meteor in Operation Firedog

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The only combat use of RAF Vampire FB.5 and Meteor F.8 took place in 1951-55 during the Operation Firedog. Albeit the photos are known of the High Speed Silver No.60 Sq. Vampire FB.5s (WA237-WA276 range), the pictures of FB.9s (No.45 and No.60 Sq., WG, WL and WR serials) show them in camouflage - presumably DG/DSG over PRU. My question is whether are there any photos (or other documents) confirming existence of CAMOUFLAGED FB.5s over Malaya in 1950-56 period? Was this variant used only by No.60 Squadron?

It is said that in April 1952 the ex-No.60 Sq. FB.5s were flown to Kai Tak to equip No.28 Sq. And these a/c (during their Hong Kong period) are sometimes shown as camouflaged. Were they repainted in HK or were they taken already camouflaged from Butterworth?

The situation is even worse with Meteor F.8. It is said that only two aircraft were deployed with No.45 Squadron in 1955. No photos, no idea about the looks, even no serials are known to me. Does anybody know more details about these two specimen?

Cheers

Michael

Edited by KRK4m
No.28 Sq. thread added

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Preliminary comment: in May '55 the Hornets of 45 Squadron were grounded (and removed from service) and the plan was to initially have A Flight on Meteors and B Flight on Vampires...  In July they anticipate receiving Vampires ex 60 Squadron (who are converting to Venom) "...and enable us to get rid, shortly, of the Meteors."  B Flight went operational at the end of August (Vampire FB.9), while A Flight was still converting over from Meteor (which they returned by the 19th, I think).  They initially had two Meteor T.7s; I'll be back later with some serial numbers.

Edited by gingerbob

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I was able to view a collection of pics of RAF Dragonflies recently, in amongst them were pictures of 60 Sqn Vampires & Meteor T.7, and a 45 Sqn Meteor, I'm now wondering if these were related to the above?

Edited by 71chally

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Can you gain access again?

 

After a sift through the ORBs, here are the Meteor serials:  [Note: until August the ORB simply says "Meteor" or "Vampire".]

T.7:

WA676 (arrives 3 June; this one seems to be the most consistently flown)

WA683 (on hand in early June, also last Meteor entries in ORB 11, 14, 17, 18 August)

WG976 (on hand by 3 June; serials book shows this as an F.8; ORB has two pilots in it, but gives serial as W0976 - EDIT: verified by Rod below)

 

F.8:

WA761 (arrives 16 June?)

WH379 (ferried 18 May Seletar to Butterworth)

WH410 (noted in ORB 1 Aug- serial corrected based on subsequent post)

WK649 (arrives 1 July?)

WL171 (I think Seletar to Butterworth 26 May, but also 2 June same direction?)

WL180 (arrives 1 July)

Edited by gingerbob

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45 minutes ago, gingerbob said:

WG976? (serials book shows this as an F.8; ORB has two pilots in it, but gives serial as W0976)

Meteor WG976 is listed a a T.7 in Steven Bond's book on the Meteor and is quoted as being on stength of 28 Sqn at Kai Tak, then  33/45 Sqn and 81 Sqn before being struck off charge in Singapore in 1960.

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Excellent, thank you Rod!  Nice to know that my deductive reasoning (wild guessing?) is on track.

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6 hours ago, 71chally said:

I was able to view a collection of pics of RAF Dragonflies recently, in amongst them were pictures of 60 Sqn Vampires & Meteor T.7, and a 45 Sqn Meteor, I'm now wondering if these were related to the above?

Yeeesssssss, James. Surely they're the ones I need.

Cheers

Michael

Edited by KRK4m
misprint

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I will ask for them again.  I spoke to the chap who owns the pics, and he thinks that I'm mistaken about a 45 sqn Meteor, so don't get too excited on that one, there was one of their Hornets in amongst them.

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I'll settle for a Hornet!  (Then again, I like Vamps and Meteors, too.)

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Thank you, Antti, for the links. It looks that No.45 Squadron Meteor F.8s were sporting High Speed Silver overall (like No.60 Sq. Vampire FB.5s) and not the beautiful 50's RAF camouflage used on No.80 Sq. Hornets and No.28 Sq. Vampire FB.9s. Pity...

By the way - can anybody put some light on the 50's RAF camouflage changes calendar? What was the period of PRU undersurfaces usage? When (or where) the HSS overall was used? Why weren't all the fighters from Tempest VI up to the Phantom FGR.2 consistently camouflaged in the same shades of grey and green?

Cheers

Michael

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Good morning Michael,

 

You are welcome🙂 This is a very useful and interesting topic as I'm looking that "little something" for my Meteor projects as well.

 

The photo of WH379 in the RAF Historical Society's booklet is very interesting. It looks like that:

- the fuselage is painted with High Speed Silver. Especially the rear fuselage looks well weathered (possibly HSS sprayed on top of old camouflage?)

- there is a yellow(?) band around rear fuselage

- the under surfaces possibly carried target towing (yellow and black diagonal stripes) markings. Look that clearly visible dark colour demarcation just below fuselage roundel

- there is a visible dark area at the rear of the port engine nacelle which more or less matches the normal Dark Green painted area

 

Hopefully we will see a couple more photos in the near future.

 

Cheers,

Antti

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@KRK4m

If it helps I have Jeffords ‘bible’ on No.45 Sqn titled “The Flying Camels”. There’s a chapter on this Meteor / Vampire period with a few photos and I’m sure all the known serials. I can dig it out for you and see what I can find. I don’t believe that any codes or Squadron coloured bars were ever worn, just the plain old roundels I’m afraid. As mentioned above, these were all hand me down aircraft prior to re-equipping with Venoms. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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14 hours ago, KRK4m said:

Thank you, Antti, for the links. It looks that No.45 Squadron Meteor F.8s were sporting High Speed Silver overall (like No.60 Sq. Vampire FB.5s) and not the beautiful 50's RAF camouflage used on No.80 Sq. Hornets and No.28 Sq. Vampire FB.9s. Pity...

By the way - can anybody put some light on the 50's RAF camouflage changes calendar? What was the period of PRU undersurfaces usage? When (or where) the HSS overall was used? Why weren't all the fighters from Tempest VI up to the Phantom FGR.2 consistently camouflaged in the same shades of grey and green?

Cheers

Michael

 

I remember posting something on the subject a few years ago but I can't find the relevant thread.

I'll get back with more detail when I have time to put everything together, in the meantime it may be worth summarising the reasons why the same shades were not used, particularly for the undersides.

The RAF used a number of schemes during the war but fighters at the end were mainly in the day fighter scheme of Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey. This scheme was carried by several postwar aircraft into the late '40s, for example Tempests, Spitfires and Meteors. This was replaced on day fighters by an overall silver scheme, approved in late 1945, but it took some time to see this implemented across the whole RAF.

A review of the camouflage policy was held in 1949, when day fighters were divided in two cathegories, short and long range. The results of the camouflage review came i 1951, with the approval of 3 schemes:

 Long range day fighters  and intruder were to be camouflaged in Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey with PRU Blue undersides.

Short range day fighters were to be camouflaged in Light Slate Grey and Medium Sea Grey with PRU Blue undersurfaces.

Night fighters were to be camouflaged in Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey with Medium Sea Grey undersurfaces.

At around the same time however Fighter Command did some tests using aircraft painted in different schemes and in the end decided to retain overall silver on their aircraft. As a result, the silver scheme was also adopted for all "interceptors".

In 1952 for short range day fighters of the "Tactical Air Forces" were ordered to be camouflaged in the same DG/DSG/PRU Blue scheme of the long range fighters, and as Fighter Command was already retaining overall silver this meant that the 1951 scheme was very short lived.

In 1953 the DG/DSG was ordered to be used on all UK based fighters, but with silver undersides. This meant the end of the overall silver scheme for fighters, with the exceptions of those classed as trainers.

At some point in the late '50s PRU Blue undersurfaces fell from use. I don't have any hard evidence of when this occurred, but it is known that all Hunters reached units with silver undersides. I have vague memories of 1958 being the year when PRU Blue disappeared but I have to check this.

We have to keep in mind that apart from new types (like Sabres and Hunters), these changes were not immediately implemented and aircraft were repainted according to their maintenance schedules so it is not uncommon to see a mix of schemes in the same timeframe. The dates I have indicated are of official introduction, individual aircraft may have well retained and older scheme for longer.

The scheme evolved after the period of interest when Light Aircraft Grey replaced silver on the undersurfaces in 1966-67. In the late '70s ground attack types then moved to a wrap-around scheme while fighters retained the LAG undersurfaces... or better, the Phantom did while the Lightning had these in natural metal.

 

Regarding the aircrat you mention, the Hornet would have been painted according to regulations for Day FIghters - Long Range and Intruders-

Vampires in the same scheme would have bene the result of the 1952 introduction of the same scheme for short range fighters of the tactical air forces

Vampires in silver would have likely been carrying the original colour from the 1945 camouflage policy conference

The Meteors could have either been in silver because of the older regulations but also because they were for a while to be in silver as interceptors. No Meteor F.8 was camouflaged on the production line, so it may have taken some time to see the camouflage introduced in 1953 to be applied to these machines.

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Giorgio, thanks for that.  I've never found a good summary of the colour changes before.

 

David

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Just had another kook through the pics, sadly the 45 sqn marked Meteor was a figment of my imagination! I feel that I have seen a shot of one recently though.

This is what is in the pictures,

 

All below 60 sqn;

Line up of five Vampires on ramp

Close up of Vampire bombload

Vampire T.11 belly landed

Vampire WG872 W, air to air over Tengah

Meteor T.7WG967, one parked on psp, one taking off

 

45 sqn

Hornet WB908 OB-L undercarriage collapse, one from front, one from rear side, 45 Sqn motif on side of nose

 

Lincolns RE301 & SX983 dropping bombs

Lincoln A73-38 parked on psp, three shots, one taking off.

 

Sycamore 3 / HC.10 WA578, two pics

Dragonfly HC.4 landing

Three Whirlwind HAR.21s (inc WV195) parked on psp

 

 

 

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Pity, James, but so be it.  Although a Meteor with flying camel on it would have looked very cool.

 

David

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22 hours ago, 71chally said:

This is what is in the pictures,

All below 60 sqn;

  • Line up of five Vampires on ramp
  • Close up of Vampire bombload
  • Vampire T.11 belly landed
  • Vampire WG872 W, air to air over Tengah

Are all these Vampires High Speed Silver overall? If any one is camouflaged is the serial visible?

Cheers

Michael

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All Vampires, the Meteor and the Hornet are in high speed silver,

Can't read the serials in the line up but can see the nose door codes, I will try and scan a couple of the shots as I really want to identify the T.11

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Apologies for the late return to this thread. It would appear that 45 Sqn. operated the Vampire FB.9 and not the FB.5 as per the OP's query. There are however quite a few Meteor F.8 serials listed and interestingly enough there is an image of WH379 after its Aug 1955 belly landing with silver top sides and yellow and black (target towing) undersides. I've had this book since 1996 and this is the first time that I've come across this! Here is 45 Sqn's early jet period serial list. 

 

Cheers and I hope this helps.. Dave 

 

33191569648_ea1dec7b00_b.jpg

 

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