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Spitfire Vc A58-185 UP-D 79 Sqn RAAF


Alan P

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Hi all,

 

I'm hoping to build this aircraft in 1/32 using a conversion set for the Revell Mk.II. I need to source a Vokes filter from the Hobby Boss kit but was wondering if there was anything else non-standard about this aircraft? 

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C378846

For example, was it in bare metal finish or aluminium lacquer? 

 

Hoping some of the Aussie specialists might be able to help.

 

Cheers,

Alan.

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38 minutes ago, Alan P said:

Aussie specialists might be able to help.

you want Peter Malone aka  @Magpie22

 

41 minutes ago, Alan P said:

was it in bare metal finish or aluminium lacquer? 

AFAIK bare metal.  It's had the paint stripped.... but, that's AFAIK.... 

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Alan,

 

As far as I am aware, A58-185, (JK231), was never stripped back to bare metal when with No. 79 Sqn. She was with that unit from April 43 to early June 44. From there, she went to No. 6 Aircraft Depot, where she was stripped back to bare metal, in accordance with Aircraft General Instruction Part 3, issued in Late May 1944, before she was issued to the Central Flying School. In the photos I have of her when she was with No. 79 Squadron, she carries camouflage in all shots. The photos I have of her with CFS show that she was stripped of camouflage by that time. Incidentally, photos show her both with and without the tropical filter housing, depending on the time frame, but always camouflaged.

 

Are you in fact looking at -185's replacement, A58-222, (LZ870)? This aircraft initially saw service with No. 452 Sqn from July 43 to March 44, after which she was issued to No 15 Aircraft Depot / Replacement Pool. She was flown by ace John Bisley while with No. 452. At the AD she was stripped back to natural metal, in accordance with the order mentioned above, before being issued to No. 79 Sqn in August 44. I have several photos showing her in this finish.

 

I am unable to access the AWM photo in your message at this time - I'll try again later. I feel that you are probably looking at A58-222, (probably mislabeled by the AWM). If it is that aircraft, you will see the inscription 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes IV' on the fuel tank, in front of the cockpit.

 

When we sort out which A/C you are looking at, I can certainly help with more info regarding configuration etc.

 

Peter M 

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2 hours ago, Magpie22 said:

I am unable to access the AWM photo in your message at this time - I'll try again later. I feel that you are probably looking at A58-222, (probably mislabeled by the AWM). If it is that aircraft, you will see the inscription 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes IV' on the fuel tank, in front of the cockpit.

 

When we sort out which A/C you are looking at, I can certainly help with more info regarding configuration etc.

 

Peter M 

Fantastic info Peter 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 but I'm now not sure which one would be appropriate 🤔

 

When you mention the inscription, would it be accurate that both aircraft were donated by Sir Harry/Lady Oakes and would carry that inscription? The AWM picture I linked appears to have a 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes II' inscription just forward of the cockpit (in the description it says III, which might well be right, I can't zoom in enough, and that the family donated three Spitfires altogether!).

 

My interest comes from reading about Sir Harry Oakes and his mysterious murder. He was not the Bahamian governor (that was the infamous Duke of Windsor) but was a prominent naturalised British citizen and friend of the Governor (seems to be a very murky story!) Also I'd like to build a bare-metal Spit, so any of the documented Harry Oakes options would be fine. 

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Alan,

 

A58-185, (JK231), was 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes III' and A58-222, (LZ870), was 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes IV'. Both were coded UP-D, (at different times of course), when with No. 79 Sqn. 

 

Actually Sir Harry and his wife, (an Australian), donated for four Spitfires. The first two were Mk.I and remained in the UK: the second two were Mk.VC and both were sent to Australia.

 

I've managed to get through to the AWM and that pic you linked is of A58-222, not A58-185. The AWM caption is in error. The inscription cannot be 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes II' as that was a Spitfire Mk.I or 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes III' as that was A58-185. I have another shot of that A?C where you can see the serial and it is 222 not 185.

 

Yes, the story about Sir Harry's demise is one of those unsolved mysteries. IIRC, it was the Duke of Windsor who, as Governor, was responsible for the investigation into the murder. 

 

I have to go now but will get back later. If you are happy to trust me with your email, PM me and we can take it up from there and not bore everyone else with our ponderings. Also easier to send pics that way.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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"When you mention the inscription, would it be accurate that both aircraft were donated by Sir Harry/Lady Oakes and would carry that inscription? The AWM picture I linked appears to have a 'Sir Harry and Lady Oakes II' inscription just forward of the cockpit (in the description it says III, which might well be right, I can't zoom in enough, and that the family donated three Spitfires altogether!).

My interest comes from reading about Sir Harry Oakes and his mysterious murder. He was not the Bahamian governor (that was the infamous Duke of Windsor) but was a prominent naturalised British citizen and friend of the Governor (seems to be a very murky story!) Also I'd like to build a bare-metal Spit, so any of the documented Harry Oakes options would be fine. "

 

Alan,

 

Based on your preferences above, I will stick to A58-222, UP-D, as one of your main motivations appears to be the connection between the A/C and Sir Harry Oakes. I have no photos of A58-185 that show the inscription. All my photos of -185 in camouflage are of the starboard side, and those after she was stripped back show that she didn't carry an inscription at that time.

 

A58-222, (LZ870, was a Castle Bromwich built A/C. She would have been finished in the RAF desert scheme of Dark Earth, Middle Stone, and Azure Blue at the factory. She was rolled out in April 1943. By mid May she was aboard 'Brisbane Star' for shipment to Australia, where she arrived at the end of June. She went straight to No.1 Aircraft Park at Geelong, near Melbourne, where she was assembled and had her camouflage modified by having the Middle Stone over-painted with RAAF Foliage Green, and her national markings modified to the RAAF Blue/White style. From there she went No. 1 Aircraft Depot at Laverton where she had her final checks and was allotted to No. 452 Sqn. She arrived at No. 452 Sqn, based at Sattler Field, south of Darwin, in late July 1943. There she became the personal mount of F/L John Bisley, the 'B' Flight Commander.

 

5b65d637-2c63-4d84-81c8-2f649aac40b0.jpg

 

3385d6f3-81c3-4fba-9282-146d949b2bd4.jpg

 

Although not clear in these shots, the inscription is apparent on the side of the fuel tank. It appears to have been masked off when the RAAF repainted the A/C and still has its original background colour of Middle Stone.

The victory marks are three German swastikas and two and a half Italian markings above the inscription and a Japanese flag below. Note the dust covers fitted over the wheels. In November/December she would have had her RAF serial replaced with the RAAF Stores Number A58-222. At that time all RAAF Spitfires were assigned new Stores Numbers to replace the original RAF Serials. Numbers were assigned to all aircraft, (including those that had been lost), in roughly alpha-numerical order, not in the order in which the aircraft had been received. This has caused confusion with many historians over the years.

 

When No. 452 Sqn was re-equipped with Spitfire VIII aircraft, LZ870 was passed on to No. 15 Aircraft Repair Depot / Replacement Pool in March 1944. She sat there for several months until she was re-issued to No. 79 Sqn as a replacement for A58-185 which left the squadron for major overhaul in June. In accordance with RAAF Aircraft General Instruction Part 3, issued in Late May 1944, she had her camouflage paint stripped before being delivered to No. 79 Sqn, based at Los Negros Island, in August. There were two natural metal Spitfires flown up to Los Negros that time, A58-222, which became UP-D, and A58-231, which became UP-?. F/O O'Dea flew 222 and F/O Scott flew 231. In a note in his log book Scott wrote a small note, ' "Sir Harry and Lady Oakes" ???'. He later told me that he wrote that down because he had never seen such an inscription on a Spit before. They test flew the A/C from Ward's Strip at Port Moresby, on 16 August and the next day flew them to Momote Strip, (Los Negros), via Finshafen.

 

c6fe73ba-9bac-46d1-8121-8b5be18b6c53.jpg

Just visible in this shot is the serial A58-222 and the IFF antenna under the starboard wing. The wheel dust covers have now been removed. Note also the treaded tyres, a necessity on slippery coral airstrips, and the size and position of the under wing roundel.

 

f75bcb36-f359-411c-b134-cd004be712c2.jpg

 

The inscription is clear in this shot. It would appear that it was re-applied in a nice script after the camouflage was stripped. Note the black painted canopy frame and the oil catcher fitted behind the propeller spinner.

 

565d0678-ef89-4574-b285-040f5b9f2b70.jpg

 

A poor shot, but shows the placing and style of the code letters, the small fuselage roundel, the large early style roundel on the wing upper surface, the narrow anti-dazzle panel in front of the wind screen, the removal of the gun heater tubes from behind the exhaust, and the unpainted wooden aerial mast. The blisters over the cannon feed are the larger, wide type.

 

caac052d-45e1-4cc4-91e6-4358b0da378e.jpg

The best I can do enlarging the inscription. That looks like a

'IV' to me. Compare the vertical line of the 'I' with the slope

of the strokes on the 'V".

 

Alan, I think there is enough there to build a model. If you have further queries feel free to fire away. I'll try to answer.

 

Peter

 

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35 minutes ago, Magpie22 said:

Alan, I think there is enough there to build a model.

I reckon 😂😂😂  I have to say I never expected such a brilliant trove of info when I asked the question! A58-222 it shall be. Thanks very much Peter, just fantastic!

 

Just one question...it appears that the wheelwells may still be painted in Azure Blue, is that likely?

 

Alan

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On 05/07/2023 at 09:49, Alan P said:

I reckon 😂😂😂  I have to say I never expected such a brilliant trove of info when I asked the question! A58-222 it shall be. Thanks very much Peter, just fantastic!

 

Just one question...it appears that the wheelwells may still be painted in Azure Blue, is that likely?

 

Alan

 

  That is a brilliant and useful observation, as I was also going for a Silver RAAF Mk V on the Illiad "Silver Spitfires" sheet... I would say, going by logic, that it would be likely.

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3 hours ago, WrathofAtlantis said:

 

  That is a brilliant and useful observation, as I was also going for a Silver RAAF Mk V on the Illiad "Silver Spitfires" sheet... I would say, going by logic, that it would be likely.

Not sure that logic plays a major part here. I assume that you are considering doing A58-137, SH-W. She was a Westland built machine whereas A58-222 was a CB built machine. 

 

A58-222 was finished in Azure Blue undersides at the factory. She arrived in Aus that way. When she was stripped back, the work was done at a forward based Aircraft Repair Depot. Paint stripping was done using chemicals to dissolve the paint and it is a moot point how much of the paint inside the wheel wells would have been removed. 

 

This is the answer I gave Alan re A58-222.  "I can't say as to what colour the wheel wells were. Originally the inner portion where the legs retracted would have been aluminium. The outer section where the wheels retracted would have been Azure Blue. The difference in colours was solely due to the manner in which the A/C was constructed. The inboard section, containing the hinge and retraction mechanism was considered internal structure, whereas the outer section where the wheels retracted was part of the lower wing skinning and painted as such. It is possible that the outer section was left in Azure Blue when the paint was stripped off at the ARD. However, the chemicals used for paint removal were not easy to handle and it would have been difficult to retain the Azure Blue in the wheel wells while stripping the paint off the wing under surfaces. Certainly the inboard section would have been covered to protect the systems from being damaged by the chemicals but, would they have bothered to also protect the outer section? Paint removal was a time consuming job, not to mention hazardous to the 'erks', and was quickly dropped by the RAAF, unless the A/C was undergoing a major at an AD where suitable facilities existed."

 

A58-137 was a Westland built A/C and would have been finished in the standard Day Fighter Scheme with Medium Sea Grey under surfaces. Before dispatch overseas it was repainted in the Desert Scheme and would have received Azure Blue undersurfaces. Did the Maintenance Unit that did the work spray also inside the wheel wells with Azure Blue? Who knows. When in Aus, after a years service with No. 79 Sqn, she underwent a major overhaul and was stripped back at No. 6 Aircraft Depot, a major facility with the appropriate painting and paint removal facilities, before going to No. 86 Sqn. Did they strip back the paint inside the wheel wells or leave them in Azure Blue, (or even MSG?)? I reckon that No. 6 AD would have done a proper job and would have  stripped paint inside the wheel recess, but that's just my guess.  :surprised:

 

Peter M

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Thank you for your reply.

 

  I was indeed going for A58-137.

 

  I presume No. 58 Squadron was strictly a training unit, given the stripping, the Pearce location and the 1945 time frame for a Mk V? I was not able to find anything on No 58 sq. RAAF. Would the gun sight typically be present?

 

 

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1 hour ago, WrathofAtlantis said:

Thank you for your reply.

 

  I was indeed going for A58-137.

 

  I presume No. 58 Squadron was strictly a training unit, given the stripping, the Pearce location and the 1945 time frame for a Mk V? I was not able to find anything on No 58 sq. RAAF. Would the gun sight typically be present?

 

 

No.85 Sqn was an operational fighter squadron. (Yes, I mistyped it as  86 Sqn above!! And there was no No.58 Sqn.). 

 

They were formed at Dunreath, near Perth, WA, in February 1943, for the fighter defence of Perth. They moved to Guildford shortly after. Initial equipment was the Brewster Buffalo. By May they were also flying CAC Boomerangs. From May they had a detachments of Boomers, initially at Potshot, near Exmouth Gulf), and then Derby. By February 1944, they were solely equipped with Boomers. Their main duties were convoy patrols and scrambles; the latter mainly against US A/C that had forgotten to turn on their IFF.

 

In October 1944 they received their first Spitfires. These were Spitfire VCs that had seen service with No.s 79, 54, 452 and 457 Sqns, which were re-equipping with Spitfire VIII. As the squadron was well away from the main combat area, the Spifire VC was considered adequate for the task of convoy patrol and the defence of Perth, in the unlikely event that the Japanese would appear in the area. Most were overhauled and, in compliance with Aircraft General Instruction Part 3, issued in Late May 1944, they were stripped of camouflage. In May 1945 they moved to Pearce and remained there until flying ceased in October 1945.

 

The squadron was fully operational and the aircraft carried full armament, obviously including a gunsight. A few points to note. This A/C had narrow fairings over the cannon feed, gun heater tubes removed from behind the exhausts, oil collector ring behind spinner, no IFF wires from fuselage to tailplanes, IFF rod antenna under starboard wing ahead of wheel well. 

 

Peter M

 

f0ef7145-8b05-4ad2-a5af-ca530e23d2f8.jpg

 

e3c78102-d74a-4e76-8011-5458f9447960.jpg

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Thank you very much for your reply! 

 

  All this will be extremely useful for my Eduard 1/48 build. 

 

  I am also glad to hear it was an actual operational Mk V in 1945, which I find very interesting. Even in Europe after D-Day, Mk Vs were still used operationally at the front lines. Johnny Johnson was shot down by Flak after D-Day in a clipped wing Mk V, which is curious, as he had previously already flown in Mk IXs...

 

  Thank you again: Much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, WrathofAtlantis said:

I am also glad to hear it was an actual operational Mk V in 1945, which I find very interesting. Even in Europe after D-Day, Mk Vs were still used operationally at the front lines. Johnny Johnson was shot down by Flak after D-Day in a clipped wing Mk V, which is curious, as he had previously already flown in Mk IXs...

The Mk.V, when fitted with cropped impeller blades on the engine, was faster at low level than a Mk.IX,  this is why Seafires didn't get the Merlin 60 engine, at low level the Seafires was the fastest plane used by the FAA.

 

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