Tuesday, 17 July 2018

41 Sqn Phantom 483 FGR Mk 2 - ebay photo find #84

RAF 41 Sqn Phantom 483 FGR Mk 2 from Coningsby seen over St Omer France - MoD Photo 1975

on offer here 

Below;    a recent Ebay win, slightly out of focus but a decent print of FG. 1   XV 583

Much more on RN F-4 Phantoms of 892 Sqn on HMS Ark Royal on my blog here

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Lysander III, 161 Sqd -ebay photo find #82

rare view of what I assume is (possibly) a special ops SOE Lysander III (maybe) of 161 or 138 Sqd captured by the Germans - taken from an album featuring shots of the Luftwaffe airfield at Cambrai, northern France (Niergnies)

on offer here

Fuselage codes appear to be RM which would make it 26 Squadron. The squadron moved to France in Oct '39 and served in an army co-operation role, finally withdrawing to Lympne on 19 May 1940, after which it flew supply, bombing and reconnaissance missions.

The stripes on the fin were introduced from April 1940, probably a Mk.I. Importantly there is no access ladder on the side so it wasn't used for SOE drops. Possibly a u/s aircraft left in France after the AAEF withdrawal in June 1940? Or.. is that an RAF man being led away?

Emergency landing in France after June '40 - black undersides it looks like. Maybe light bombing or supply dropping?

RM*B is associated with L4773, which was forced to land while conducting a recce on 20 May 1940. I am not altogether convinced that this is the aircraft in the photo, since it was meant to be conducting a recce around Calais and force-landed on a beach..note however that some of the serial numbers are just visible on the lower surfaces of the port wing..

More suggestions on the ID via BM forum

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Jules Vedrines 'La Vache' Bleriot 160 - 1914, the French 'invent' air combat (1)

Frenchman Jules Védrines was a popular and populist aviator noted for a variety of stunts and record-breaking feats. Born 29 December 1881 in St Denis/Paris he obtained his 'brevet de pilote' in 1910. During the First World War he was largely involved in clandestine missions, landing behind enemy lines to drop or pick up agents. At the start of the war although a 'civilian' aviator he was mobilised. He was one of the first aviators to fly 'armed' sorties although his lack of military discipline soon saw him sent away from the front! His armoured Bleriot monoplane aircraft was named La Vache (The Cow) and was emblazoned with a picture of a cow, in homage to his family's roots in the Limousin region - or alternatively 'la vache' is a mild French expletive and starting the engine generally involved a bit of effort and swearing!

 It was designed for attacking balloons and airships and for ground strafing of troop concentrations..

 On 15 July 1915 Védrines was mentioned in the French Army Order of the Day for his work with the Sixth Army, for whom he had flown over 1,000 hours on reconnaissance missions.

 "... the winner of the Paris-Madrid (air race of 1911) has built a new monoplane and has given it a very symbolic name ( 'La Vache - a word that has a double meaning in French; the 'cow' or an exclamation 'blast it'), an indication that the popular aviator will once again pull off an act of bravoure as nothing is above his courage.."

Monday, 9 July 2018

"Adstantes" - a history of 111 squadron -recommended aviation books

Privately published history of one of the RAF's leading fighter squadrons, first to put the Hurricane into service in early 1938. The unit's 'JU' codes also appeared on the Spitfire V in overall black night fighter camouflage. Following the Battle of Britain the unit subsequently went out to North Africa  and fought over Sicily and southern Italy.

During the Cold War period the unit's black Hunters acquired a certain notoriety.

Sadly the book is replete with typos and other errors and only very few personal accounts but still well worth getting hold of..

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Marcel Doret Dewoitine D.520 Groupe 'Doret'

Screen captures from rare ina.fr footage depicting Dewoitine test pilot and pre-war aerobatic champion Marcel Doret  - here briefing his pilots in the lighter overall - leading a small unit of Free French Dewoitine D.520-equipped pilots supporting the assault on German 'Atlantic pockets' following the liberation of France during late 1944. Established as early as July 1944 'Groupe Doret' was a FFI fighter unit (Forces Francaises de l'Interieur) formed in south-western France at Tarbes-Ossun ( an 'escadrille' under former Morane Saulnier chief pilot  Cliquet) making use of stocks produced for and abandoned by the retreating Germans. In Toulouse especially stocks of some forty machines were hangared and these could quickly be made flight worthy. A second 'escadrille' was thus established at Blagnac under SNCASE chief pilot Galy (Duny and Cuny 'Le Dewoitine D.520'). Apparently Cliquet flew the first sortie on 24 August 1944 in D.520 No. 526. While these machines had no aerial adversaries to contend with their missions consisted of  training and recce flights as well as attempting to 'neutralise' German flak positions in and around the 'Atlantic pockets' where large contingents of German forces were holding out. Between 16-19 October the Doret D.520s escorted Dauntless dive bombers operating over Royan and la Pointe de Grave.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Breguet 270 -daily ebay photo find #80

...interesting views of the 'liaison' variant of this rare French bird with enclosed cockpit and cabin for passengers.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Docavia Mirage IV - Le bombardier strategique. Recommended Aviation books #39

This 367-page hardback published in 2003 is another book that I would like to own but probably never will. As advertised by Rich Carrick and sold by him on ebay.

" ..Superb volume! Highly detailed and complete down to the smallest detail. In short, a reference book for all aviation enthusiasts! Many rare photographs - absolutely fantastic reference for modellers and aviation fans. Naturally, the book is entirely in French, but if you have a basic understanding of the language you should be fine. The photos speak for themselves. There are also detailed scale plans. Very hard to find, even in France, and can command huge prices!.."

Saturday, 7 April 2018

'Outpacing the Sun' Fairey FD.2 Booklet, 1956- ebay photo find #79

Great shot of the legendary Fairey Delta 2 WG 774 preparing for a demonstration flight at the Farnborough Air Show c1954. The first FD.2 WG 774 made its first flight on 6 October 1954 with Peter Twiss at the controls. Flight testing continued until 17 November 1954 when during Twiss' 14th flight the engine failed and Twiss - with superb calm headedness - had to land a powerless machine, there being only enough hydraulic pressure to lower the nosewheel.. On 15 February 1956 the second FD 2 WG 777 made its first flight in the hands of Peter Twiss. Althugh both FD 2s carried service roundels neither saw service with the RAF. From the outset Twiss had felt that the type was capable of exceeding 1,000 mph and started calling for an attempt on the world air speed record then held by a F-100 Super Sabre at 822 mph..

Outpacing the Sun' Fairey FD.2 Booklet 1956

A large 32 page booklet produced by Fairey in co-operation with the 'Aeroplane' magazine telling the full story of the Fairey FD.2 attaining the absolute World Speed Record of 1,132 mph in March 1956. The story of the man who flew it, the men who built and designed it and how a speed of 20 miles a minute was measured at over 7 miles above the earth. Sample pages shown.

Fairey Delta 2 WG 774 remains one of the most important aircraft in British aviation history, being the original delta wing jet, and the first aircraft to exceed 1,000 mph. ( Aircraft set new record speed of 1,132 mph on 10 March 1956 ) The British Aircraft Corporation BAC Type 221 was a reconfiguration of the record breaking Fairey Delta 2 into a test bed to test the wing shape of Concorde. First flown as the Type 221 in May 1964, WG 774 spent a further nine years on test flying before being retired in June 1973.

Fiat Br. 20 - daily ebay photo find #78

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Victor B.2 XL513 & XL 512 carrying Blue Steel - ebay photo find #57

An original Ministry of Defence photograph of Handley Page Victor B.2 XL513 equipped with a Blue Steel Missile. Note the four Vulcans on...