The Spitfire Forums

Historic Aviation => Spitfire => Topic started by: overton on December 31, 2008, 04:02:31 AM

Title: Am curious about aircraft "XR G"
Post by: overton on December 31, 2008, 04:02:31 AM
Would anybody know where I could find out about an aircraft (a mark V, I believe) that went to 71 (Eagle Squadron) and picked up the designation XR G?  Specifically I'm looking for the actual aircraft serial number, although any photos of it would also be most welcome.  I believe for a time 71 squadron was flying Hurricanes and that the XR G designation belonged on one of those, but some time in 1941 the squadron transitioned to Spitfires and the XR squadron designation stuck and the aircraft letters were reused on the Spits.  Thanks in advance for any information and/or directions of places to go looking...

Title: Re: Am curious about aircraft "XR G"
Post by: Antoni on December 31, 2008, 06:46:26 PM
XR are the squadron codes of 71 Squadron used from November 1940 until September 1942. After that the squadron transferred to the USAAF as 334 FS 4 FG. G is the individual letter of the aircraft and could have been carried by more than one Spitfire.

Title: Re: Am curious about aircraft "XR G"
Post by: overton on January 01, 2009, 04:07:55 AM
I guess that what I should be asking, then, is whether there's any way to get a serial number for *any* of the Spits that might have worn the "XR G" designation.  I've got a project and I'm trying to be historically accurate...

Title: Re: Am curious about aircraft "XR G"
Post by: Antoni on January 01, 2009, 11:31:39 AM
Unless some squadron historian has already compiled a list of codes and serials it would take a lot of time and effort. First place to look would be the squadron's Operations Record Book. However you would be lucky if it recorded both the serial number and individual letter. Serial numbers or codes are also found in pilots' log books. Again they seldom contain both. Sometimes one may be in the ORB and another in the log book so the two can be matched that way. Copies of ORBs can be obtained from the National Records Office but you have to pay and wait.  About £50-£60 and up to three months in my experience. You can also visit the NRO and see them there. Log books are much, much harder the get hold of but sometimes they have been donated to museums or collected by serious historians. Anyway it is a lot of work.

Title: Re: Am curious about aircraft "XR G"
Post by: Editor on January 03, 2009, 10:55:58 PM
Well, at least it would seem that we have a photo of the beast.
The code letters XR-G belonged to No. 71 Eagle Squadron RAF, which later became 334th Fighter Squadron USAAF in England.
In 1942 this unit flew Spitfires Mk. Vb and with all probability there was a "G" among the unit's aircraft.
Armed with these assumptions, I have found the following photo at Little Friends:


Capt. Spiros N "Steve" "The Greek" Pisanos, Plainfield, NJ. 334th Fighter Squadron, ex 71 "Eagle" Squadron. Steve seen here in his RAF uniform complete with "ES" patch and RAF wings alongside Spitfire Mk V coded XR-G. [Steve Pisanos]

Link to the photo source:

Hope this helps. It is not sure that the pilot was linked with this specific aircraft, but portraits such as this in front of one's own Spitfire were not unusual.

Title: Re: Am curious about aircraft "XR G"
Post by: NZTyphoon on January 09, 2009, 12:25:03 PM
It might be possible to look for further information at Little Friends here: Steve Pianos is a retired USAF Colonel who has written a book The Flying Greek .There is also an autographed print, including Col Steve Pisanos' signature here: ( Unfortunately the latter doesn't show any serials or aircraft codes.

Title: Re: Am curious about aircraft "XR G"
Post by: Editor on February 11, 2009, 03:59:56 PM
Please disregard my suggestion that this Spit was Capt. Pisanos personal aircraft. Little Firends have more photos of various personnel in front of the same machine. Apparently a photo day with posing in front of the nearest Spitfire available...