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RAF Bomber Squadron Markings (WWII) question


WPRII
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I'm planning a future build of a Wellington (Mk.II) and am trying to find out some info on the markings so it will be as accurate as possible.

 

Were the serial numbers and codes painted on in standardized colo(u)rs, or did they vary by squadron? I just bought the Revell (1/72) kit and it shows the serial in red, but I have also seen images of the serial in white. I have only seen the codes in a white/off-white color.

 

Also, what is the correct location for the serial number? I've seen some examples with it placed on the vertical stabilizer, but others have it placed on the fuselage near level with the horizontal stabilizers.

 

In case this differs by squadron, I am focusing on 158 Squadron when based in Driffield. I have the serial number and code for the plane if that makes any difference.

 

Thanks,

Bill

Edited by WPRII
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Hi Bill! Bomber Command codes went through a series of changes. Starting in 1937, bombers were to have their serial numbers painted in black, and then in 1938, when squadron codes were introduced, these were to be Medium Sea Grey. Starting in about May of 1942, codes and serials would have slowly been painted or repainted in Dull Red. This wasn't instantaneous by any means; the aircraft spotter and author M J F Bowyer reported seeing 102 Squadron Halifaxes with Medium Sea Grey squadron letters and Dull Red individual aircraft letters in 1942.

 

So during 158's time at Driffield, which I believe occurred in the transition between Medium Sea Grey and Dull Red, I should think either would be possible.

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Thanks for the reply, Procopius. I'm hoping to do this build up with the markings of the Wellington a distant cousin was on when it was lost over Germany at the end of May 1942, just before 158 Squadron switched over to the Halifax. The info you supplied is very useful, now it's just a matter of finding suitable decals.

 

Thanks,

Bill

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When squadron codes were introduced the AMO specified 'Grey' codes, stores reference 33B/157 which is very light.  Sea Grey  Medium 33B/345 was not specified until 1940 and then for day fighters.  Night bombers and later fighters were to have Sky Grey 33B/263-265 codes and serials.  These light codes and serials have often, and still being stated as white.   The tone of the letters is only just darker than the white in roundels.  Look at pre-war Hurricanes and Spitfires again then early Blenheims, Wellingtons, Hampdens, Whitleys, Stirlings, Manchesters and Lancasters, they all had light codes and serials.  M Bowyer's books are specific in describing very light and darker codes for the 1939-41 period although at the time he didn't know the designations of those colours.

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Mike, surely the later fighters had Sky codes not Sky Grey?  Also, many of the 1939/40 codes, at least on fighters, appear quite dark, which would not seem to be the case for a colour that was lighter than Sea Grey Medium.  However this does take us away from the bombers.

Edited by Graham Boak
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Thanks for all the info, folks. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I stumble on research!

 

I'm going to have a few pints to buy should I ever make it over to the old country. 😉

 

Bill

Edited by WPRII
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