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Mystery nose art at RAF Hendon...


StevieD
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At Hendon last year I came across a piece of nose art on a wall. Alongside a polish chequerboard is a ‘puss in boots’ character brandishing a sword while riding a bomb with the inscription 'Do Berlin!’ It had no explanatory caption.

 

Despite much searching I couldn’t find a photo of any aircraft carrying this nose art. Then I came across a Model Makers Wellington decal sheet that shows the aircraft as 301 Squadron GR-O serial Z1259. This Wellington was flown by F/O Mieczysław Stachiewicz who sadly died of Coronovirus this April at the grand old age of 102.

 

Questions… 

 

1. I’ve seen a photo of GR-O (Hemswell 1942) but not from the side that carried the nose art as described above. Does anyone have photographic evidence of the nose art on the aircraft?

 

2. I was thinking of modelling this using the Airfix kit but GR -O was a Mk IV. I think that would mean finding a couple of Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines, but are there any other differences?

 

Many thanks if you can help with this.

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In case you decide to scratch-fabricate this decal, the inscription should read: "do Berlina" ("To Berlin"), with an "a" at the end of Berlin.  Unfortunately, I don't know the answers to your other questions.  @KRK4m, one of our resident Polish aviation historians, may know.  I ran a search on the google.pl domain using "dywizjon 301 bombowiec," which returned some photos, but nothing that answers the description.

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Thanks for that! Yes the 301 Squadron site shows nothing, although one Wellington carries a witch that looks like it may be from the same artist.

 

Regarding 'Berlin', the nose art at Hendon reads DO BERLIN without the 'a.' Maybe the crew were getting anglicised. Strangely the Model Makers Decal sheet has TO BERLIN

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2 hours ago, StevieD said:

At Hendon last year I came across a piece of nose art on a wall. Alongside a polish chequerboard is a ‘puss in boots’ character brandishing a sword while riding a bomb with the inscription 'Do Berlin!’ It had no explanatory caption.

Despite much searching I couldn’t find a photo of any aircraft carrying this nose art. Then I came across a Model Makers Wellington decal sheet that shows the aircraft as 301 Squadron GR-O serial Z1259. This Wellington was flown by F/O Mieczysław Stachiewicz who sadly died of Coronovirus this April at the grand old age of 102.

Questions… 

1. I’ve seen a photo of GR-O (Hemswell 1942) but not from the side that carried the nose art as described above. Does anyone have photographic evidence of the nose art on the aircraft?

2. I was thinking of modelling this using the Airfix kit but GR -O was a Mk IV. I think that would mean finding a couple of Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines, but are there any other differences?

AFAIK F/O Stachiewicz flew several Wellingtons in 1942. And I'm not sure whether the noseart mentioned comes from Z1259. I have never seen any photo showing this noseart while still on the Welly nose. The Airfix Wellington is Mk.Ic, while Mk.IV was based on the Mk.III airframe - thus there are plenty of minor differences in control surfaces, fuselage glazing, gun turrets, a.s.o. However I'm not the expert there.

1 hour ago, TheyJammedKenny! said:

In case you decide to scratch-fabricate this decal, the inscription should read: "do Berlina" ("To Berlin"), with an "a" at the end of Berlin.  Unfortunately, I don't know the answers to your other questions.  @KRK4m, one of our resident Polish aviation historians, may know. 

There's no need to fabricate this decal, as ModelMakers set is available both in 1/48 and 1/72 versions https://polish-made.com/pl/p/D48131-Vickers-Wellington-in-Polish-service-part-I/4109

1 hour ago, StevieD said:

Thanks for that! Yes the 301 Squadron site shows nothing, although one Wellington carries a witch that looks like it may be from the same artist.

Regarding 'Berlin', the nose art at Hendon reads DO BERLIN without the 'a.' Maybe the crew were getting anglicised. Strangely the Model Makers Decal sheet has TO BERLIN

The "puss in boots" is the character not widely known in the pre-WW2 Polish reality. Thus it can be the other way round: the Z1259 came to the No.301 Squadron already with this noseart painted by the crew of the RAF squadron that has used her earlier. And this is the reason why Model Makers show the inscription as "To Berlin". If the Poles were to modify the text, it would be  "na Berlin", as "do Berlina" is only some delicate call for the civil excursion. Thus IMHO the variant exhibited now in Hendon is the result of some - not deeply researched - activity of the RAF Museum personnel (not polonised in any way of course). 

Cheers

Michael

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53 minutes ago, KRK4m said:

AFAIK F/O Stachiewicz flew several Wellingtons in 1942. And I'm not sure whether the noseart mentioned comes from Z1259. I have never seen any photo showing this noseart while still on the Welly nose. The Airfix Wellington is Mk.Ic, while Mk.IV was based on the Mk.III airframe - thus there are plenty of minor differences in control surfaces, fuselage glazing, gun turrets, a.s.o. However I'm not the expert there.

There's no need to fabricate this decal, as ModelMakers set is available both in 1/48 and 1/72 versions https://polish-made.com/pl/p/D48131-Vickers-Wellington-in-Polish-service-part-I/4109

The "puss in boots" is the character not widely known in the pre-WW2 Polish reality. Thus it can be the other way round: the Z1259 came to the No.301 Squadron already with this noseart painted by the crew of the RAF squadron that has used her earlier. And this is the reason why Model Makers show the inscription as "To Berlin". If the Poles were to modify the text, it would be  "na Berlin", as "do Berlina" is only some delicate call for the civil excursion. Thus IMHO the variant exhibited now in Hendon is the result of some - not deeply researched - activity of the RAF Museum personnel (not polonised in any way of course). 

Cheers

Michael

Wow! Many thanks for this.

 

I will have to go back to the museum and photograph this. all I can say -relying on memory - is that DO BERLIN  looked like it was un-retouched. Also the 'puss in boots' character - again as far as I remember - is wearing a Polish beret. (My father was in II Polish Corp and I have photographs of him in a similar beret.) 

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It's not Puss in Boots, just a cartoon cat brandishing a sword, riding a bomb, with a beret with Polish insignia, and red and white sash. So it is Polish.

 

I have a photo of the art work and it is clearly To BERLIN not Do BERLIN.

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I don’t want to criticise but... that corner of the Bomber Command Hall has for years been crying out for some placards and captions for the exhibits in it.  A really effective, evocative and, dare I say it, cheap, exhibit could be made of things like the nose art sections.  Friday the 13th’s nose art is there, but no explanation as to its origin or significance.

I’d be quite happy to do the research and organise it if they wish to get in touch...

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4 hours ago, KRK4m said:

only some delicate call for the civil excursion

Very funny! I had to laugh out loud on this one.  I consider it an honor to have my "Polish" corrected by a native speaker.  Anyway, it's "To Berlin," in English after all, so no worries.

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