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Hurricane IV LD863, 438 Sq Dec 30/31 , 1943 .....photo w 305th and 401st BG B-17's -location? Unit?


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EDIT After posting the text below,  confirmation of the identity of the Hurricane has been confirmed, and I have edited the title to show this.

A note on this post,  photos of Hurricane Mk.IV's are rare,  and of those in service in the UK, even rarer. 

The image of LD863 is one of only two 438 Sq Hurricane images known, and the only one showing the whole aircraft.

There are images of 164 Sq Hurricane IV's, but only one clearly showing the markings and serials,  and there are some photos of 184 Sq Hurricanes.


There are also a few 137 Sq Hurricanes which will be the subject of a separate post.

 

So, the images below are very significant.

 

My original post is left 'as is ' below.

=============================================================

while hunting for a page i'd lost, for some 238 Sq Hurricane pics,  I carried on browsing

 

spotted this https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/hawker-hurricane.42739/page-9

 

apparently a Ebay US auction

"*WWII photo- 401st Bomb Group- RAF Hawkins Hurricane Fighter plane w/ PILOT* | eBay"

 

1585311956340-png.575136

 

The pic does enlarge.  First thing I noticed was the armoured radiator,  then it has rocket rails fitted, just visible.

 

So It's a Mk.IV, hmm, interesting, a Mk.IV based in the UK, with rockets. Photos are rare.   

 

Visible serial is ?D86?, no squadron codes, but an unusual S.

 

as such, this is probably LD86?, as it's the only serial that matches Mk.IV's

 

Air Britain, the only Mk.IV with this serial start, that are in Europe

 

LD863 438/2 TEU/FE SOC 14.2.46

 

http://www.rafcommands.com/Ross/Fighter/438F.html

this looks promising

No 438 (Wild Cat) Squadron RCAF

Group Squadron Base County Arrived Comments

12 438 Digby Lincolnshire 10/11/43 Formed. Hurricane IV, 11/43.

12 438 Wittering Northamptonshire 19/12/43

13 438 Ayr Ayrshire 10/01/44 Typhoon Ib, 01/44.

 

the dates would tie in with the B-17  Bomb Groups era and area (see below)

 

The 309th BG was based at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Chelveston

which is Northamptonshire.

 

 

My British geography is poor, so perhaps someone can fill in some details. 

 

LD865 309/1 TEU/6/351 Swung on take off and tipped u, Canne, 15.4.45, DBR. 

(6/351, Yugoslav, would be the Adriatic)

http://www.rafcommands.com/Ross/Fighter/309F.html

 

 

TEU = Tactical Exercise Unit

http://www.rafcommands.com/Ross/Fighter/1teuF.html

http://www.rafcommands.com/Ross/Fighter/2teuF.html

both are in Scotland, so unlikely

 

 

 

Next, the B-17 visible on the left, code IY, which is 615th Bomb Squadron, 401st bomb Group. (so the ebay caption is right on that)

405th BG

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/unit/349

 

 

The B-17 on the right, has a Triangle with a G on the fin, so 305th Bomb Group.

Visible codes that tie in with BS in this BG

365th - XK

366th - KY

assuming the code is behind the star.

 

305th BG

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/unit/254

 

BG details from https://www.worldwarphotos.info/usaaf-codes/

 

IIRC, @fightersweep is good on US bomb groups.  

 

From the B-17's being in camouflage, I presume this is late 43/early 44,  which is the right era for Hurricane IV with rockets in the UK in presumably a training role,  

 

From trying to eliminate and narrow down, this maybe a 438 Hurricane IV,  used for training up Typhoon pilots.

I'm going to put a @Chris Thomas  in here,  as if this is so, then would be of interest to him, as I've not run across 438 sq Hurricane before.

 

Comments, additions and corrections would be great.  

 

 

 

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Interesting photo!

 

I won't add anything just yet, but if the photo was taken at Deenethorpe, then I have a copy of the tower log. That lists all the visiting aircraft and their serial numbers. I'll have a look through and see what I can find (it's two volumes). It would also give the serial of the second Hurricane behind it of course.

 

Steve

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Possible Hurricane serials,

BD860 to BD869 were IIB and C, lost or sent overseas by 9 March 1943.

LD860 and 1 were IIC to SEAAC (South East Asia Air Command) December 1943.
LD862 to 866 were mark IV, all Taken on Charge mid September 1943.
LD862 Karachi 14-Aug-44 Missing 6-Apr-45
LD863 ACSEA no date, SOC 14-Feb-46
LD864 Karachi 5-Dec-44 SOC 8-Oct-46
LD865 CASA 3-Nov-44 SOC 31-Mar-45
LD866 Bombay 17-Aug-44 SOC 29-Nov-45

That is it for Hurricane ?D86?.  So all of the mark IV could have been present in late 1943 and early 1944.

 

1 Tactical Exercise Unit, formed 1 January 1944 at Tealing North Scotland (Dundee) by renaming 1 Combat Training Wing, which was ex 56 OtU, disbanded 31 July 1944
2 Tactical Exercise Unit, formed 15 October 1943 at Grangemouth Scotland (Edinburgh) by renaming 2 Combat Training Wing, which was ex 58 OTU, disbanded on 25 June 1944.
Code letters were allocated to both units but no evidence they were used.

 

438 Squadron formed on 10 November 1943 by renaming 118 RCAF with Hurricane IV until May 1944, Typhoons began arriving in January. 
https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_mikan_135766, C12317 image 418 on.  The time window would appear to be 22 November 1943 to 5 January 1944 before the move to Scotland, then there is the transfer to Hurn on 18 March 1944, refuellling at Woodvale   From a quick look no mentions of visits.

 

401st Deenthorpe, arriving around 1 November 1943 with B-17G.  http://401bg.org/Main/People/Maslen/Index.aspx

305th Chelveston, was in the UK in 1942.  The triangle G marking dates from June 1943.

The two bases were close enough to each other for a visitor, the other possibility is one of the 8th Air Force maintenance unit airfields.

 

Geography certainly says a visiting 438 squadron Hurricane, the lack of code letters says TEU, perhaps as part of a fighter attack training exercise for example.  The long shadows say early/late in day, any guesses as to the season?

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Hurricane is LD863 ‘S’ of 438 Sqn. Photo taken on December 30 or 31 while escorting a ME110 and Ju88 to various USAAF bomber airfields (there is a reference in the ORB). Aircraft was still on strength towards the end of March 1944 before being allocated away.

 

hope this helps,

Simon

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Nice one Simon!

 

Yes, the Deenethorpe tower log confirms this, although it didn't list the serials, just the fact there were visiting Hurricanes. It's does a similar thing in March 44, where it mentions that two Hurricanes were to visit the following day to test the airfield defences. I can confirm that this is Deenethorpe though, and can pin point the location. It was taken on the entrance to this dispersal, which is off to the right of this well known photo (taken from the control tower). This area of the airfield housed the dispersals for the 615th Squadron. Note the tree line in the background.

 

50554309732_2851b1efe6_c.jpg

 

It's funny, but I recognise the photograph now. I bought a couple of photos from that seller of the 401st B-17 I've been researching. Lovely non published photos I had never seen before that cost me a packet! He listed a couple of hundred 401st/Deenethorpe photos that he had acquired from a veteran. There were other photos in this sequence listed, including the visiting Me 110 and Ju 88, and I'm sure there were a couple more of the Hurricanes in question. I would have loved to have bought them all, but I would have needed a mortgage. 

 

Steve

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Hi Steve,

 

I bought the Hurricane photo from the vendor - as you say lots of unpublished shots - but a lot of interest. Still rare chance to get a photo of a Hurricane IV in the U.K. I think the captured Luftwaffe photos went for a significant amount.

 

cheers,

Simon

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Hi Simon.

 

I only stumbled on that auction by luck. After nearly 30 years research into "my" B-17, I had only found one in flight photo, and then this auction came along with four more. Amazing! I lost out on one that went for £150, but the guy that won it sent me a lovely digital scan and it turns out we had corresponded with each other 15 years previously. Small world. A great batch of photos, which included lots of unusual and visiting aircraft.

 

cheers;

Steve

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5 hours ago, Sgifford said:

Hurricane is LD863 ‘S’ of 438 Sqn. Photo taken on December 30 or 31 while escorting a ME110 and Ju88 to various USAAF bomber airfields (there is a reference in the ORB). Aircraft was still on strength towards the end of March 1944 before being allocated away.

 

Brilliant.  

Is there any details of the other Hurricane?  

3 hours ago, Sgifford said:

I bought the Hurricane photo from the vendor - as you say lots of unpublished shots - but a lot of interest. Still rare chance to get a photo of a Hurricane IV in the U.K. I think the captured Luftwaffe photos went for a significant amount.

Is this the same photo, or another shot.

 

Did either you or @fightersweep  save any of the ebay listing images?   Were there any more Hurricane shots is what I'm really asking? 

 

Turned into a very interesting thread,  and was well worth the time trying to cross reference the various bits of info I had or could find.

 

AFAIK this is the only image (so far) that has turned up of a 438 Sq Hurricane.

 

cheers

T

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Hi Troy,

 

it is that photo which I bought - there were no other Hurricane photos unfortunately. I am very interested in the Hurricane IV but few photos ever come up - in particular shots of them in the UK seem particularly rare so I am on a constant look out.

 

Simkb

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@Troy Smith

 

I didn't think to save any of the images. No idea why as there was some nice stuff. I couldn't remember if there was any more Hurricane images, but Simon confirms that there wasn't. There were certainly a fair few of visiting aircraft to the base, including some Lancaster IIs and some Halifax shots. It was nice to be able to tie up the images to the tower log. Personally, I didn't realise how rare photos of Hurricane IVs in the UK are, so this image is a real gem of a rarity.

 

Steve

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Thanks for the heads-up Troy.  Brilliant find and great detective work by all.  The only 438 Hurricane shot I had seen was of a group of their pilots doing their best to obscure the markings (quite successfully).  Sending this to Troy for posting.

 

The only thing I can add is that the 3 RCAF squadrons (438, 439 and 440) which became the 143 Wing - always equipped as Typhoon bombers - were originally planned to be RP Typhoon units. Hence their initial equipment with Hurricane IV RP.  This did not change until the end of January 1944 when their first Typhoons arrived.  RP Typhoons were in short supply and the priority was to equip the established Typhoon units first - hence the change to bombers.

 

143 Wing kept some Hurricanes until April 44 at least and then, as well as the early Typhoons with the unit, carried temporary squadron codes (as they were not yet allocated RAF codes) which where a small single letter with a normal sized code the other side of the roundel. 438 used 'x', 439 'y' and 440 'z'.  Some examples at Hurn in April 44 were Typhoons x-B MM959, y-S JR299 and z-X JR431  and Hurricanes x-K KZ221 and x-P KZ612.  The same spotter recorded LD863 as 'S' without the accompanying small letter (which nicely confirms the identification of the photo above.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Chris Thomas
error
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A interesting thread indeed, the standard & depth of the detective work on here never fails to impress & delight in equal measure. The Hurricane under scrutiny appears to have a darker shade on its rudder. Shadow from deflection or something else such as a repaint? Still in red dope or fresh Dark green, the trim tab appears paler, maybe original Ocean Grey?

Steve.

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14 minutes ago, stevehnz said:

Hurricane under scrutiny appears to have a darker shade on its rudder. Shadow from deflection

It's shadow, note the low but bright light source (look at the  other shadows)  

Glad you enjoyed the thread,  I'm really pleased at what has been confirmed and otherwise added to this.  

@Chris Thomas sent me a couple of photos, which I'll post up later, as not got time right now.   

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24 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

It's shadow, note the low but bright light source (look at the  other shadows)  

Thanks Troy, once I'd cropped a saved image so it displayed at full size I could see the demarcation on the rudder. I'd guess the trim tab is deflected the opposite direction to catch the light. I also found another image while searching the net that shows the exact opposite, rudder in full light, fuselage & trimtab in shadow.

Steve.

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  • Troy Smith changed the title to Hurricane IV LD863, 438 Sq Dec 30/31 , 1943 .....photo w 305th and 401st BG B-17's -location? Unit?
21 hours ago, Chris Thomas said:

The only 438 Hurricane shot I had seen was of a group of their pilots doing their best to obscure the markings (quite successfully).  Sending this to Troy for posting.

50559217392_3ca74d73a6_b.jpgHurricane E 438sq -001 by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

This is photo Chris sent me, with this comment

"Here are a couple of photos which you might wish to post in support of my letter.  The Hurricane photo doesn't tell us much except the rather long lower stroke of the 'E' could be explained by the similar odd style of 'S" on LD863.  And the Typhoon photo is the only clear shot of one of the small codes in use."

 

The note of the long stoke of the E is very interesting, and also very useful as it shows the E to aft of the roundel,  so it probable the LD863/S is the same.

 

 

 

21 hours ago, Chris Thomas said:

143 Wing kept some Hurricanes until April 44 at least and then, as well as the early Typhoons with the unit, carried temporary squadron codes (as they were not yet allocated RAF codes) which where a small single letter with a normal sized code the other side of the roundel. 438 used 'x', 439 'y' and 440 'z'.  Some examples at Hurn in April 44 were Typhoons x-B MM959, y-S JR299 and z-X JR431  and Hurricanes x-K KZ221 and x-P KZ612.  The same spotter recorded LD863 as 'S' without the accompanying small letter (which nicely confirms the identification of the photo above.

50558352693_553149450f_b.jpgTyphoon Peacock FO W 440sq z-W_ cApr44 by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

This is the 440 Sq Typhoon, z-W,  pilot is FO Peacock.

 

Thank you @Chris Thomas  for forwarding these on to add to this.  

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