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Aviation Heritage => Modelling => Topic started by: pjhunter on November 14, 2011, 04:06:52 AM



Title: Tamiya Spit XVI - any possibility of Australian pilot?
Post by: pjhunter on November 14, 2011, 04:06:52 AM
G'day all,
as this is my first post since joining, please forgive me if I've not posted on the right forum.
I'm soon to build the Tamiya 1/32 Mk XVI, and I'm really hopeful that it might be possible to do markings for an Australian pilot.
So... I'd be very grateful for guidance or suggestions please as to whether any Australian pilots might have flown the Mk XVI - teardrop canopy version.
As far as I can tell, 451 Sqn and/or 453 Sqn flew the Mk XVI in early 1945, but so far I can only find images of the standard canopy version.
I'd be more than happy to learn of ANY Australian pilot who flew the teardrop canopy version, regardless of unit.
No doubt it's hoping too much - but if there happened to be any images, that would be of inordinate interest.
Ok, hope someone might be able help.
Many thanks from Canberra.
Peter


Title: Re: Tamiya Spit XVI - any possibility of Australian pilot?
Post by: Edgar Brooks on November 15, 2011, 01:40:30 AM
Without photos, and a trawl through the ORBs, it won't be easy. So far, it looks as though 453 got their XVIs during 1944, and that marks them as high-backs, since no low-backs (either XIV or XVI) were cleared for service before the end of the year, possibly not until February or March 1945. During 1945, 451 flew as bomber escorts, or on long-range sweeps, which points more to "standard" Spitfires, since the low-back XVI was designed for ground attack, carrying extra internal fuel and 50% more oxygen.
Edgar


Title: Re: Tamiya Spit XVI - any possibility of Australian pilot?
Post by: pjhunter on November 15, 2011, 03:27:24 AM
Without photos, and a trawl through the ORBs, it won't be easy. So far, it looks as though 453 got their XVIs during 1944, and that marks them as high-backs, since no low-backs (either XIV or XVI) were cleared for service before the end of the year, possibly not until February or March 1945. During 1945, 451 flew as bomber escorts, or on long-range sweeps, which points more to "standard" Spitfires, since the low-back XVI was designed for ground attack, carrying extra internal fuel and 50% more oxygen.
Edgar
Thanks Edgar for this helpful reply. I imagine my only hope then is if an Australian flew the low-back while posted to an RAF (or other) squadron. I'm sorry, but what are the 'ORBs' you refer to?
Peter


Title: Re: Tamiya Spit XVI - any possibility of Australian pilot?
Post by: Edgar Brooks on November 15, 2011, 09:24:55 AM
Operations Record Books, which record the daily activities of each individual Squadron, and are held in our National Archives in London. They depend, totally, on the diligence (or otherwise) of the poor sap who was lumbered with the job of keeping them up-to-date, so modellers will sometimes know a serial no., or a code letter, rarely both, and occasionally neither. I've been looking at 451's book, for someone else in Australia, and the first two years are very good at telling who did what, but not a thing about the aircraft that they flew.
Edgar


Title: Re: Tamiya Spit XVI - any possibility of Australian pilot?
Post by: Antoni on November 19, 2011, 06:45:22 PM
453 Squadron reequipped with Spitfire Mk XVIs in the late autumn of 1944 before being retrained for anti-V2 missions. On 6th April 1945 the squadron moved to Lympne and returned to armed reconnaissance and bomber escort roles. On 2nd May it moved to Hawkinge from where it escorted Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to the Continent on 3rd May. This was the last wartime operation of the squadron. The first MK XVI sortie took place 21st November 1944 and the last 12th May 1945.   

On 1st February 1945 the squadron had 18 Mk XVIs on strength.

SM184/D, SM185/M, SM188/S, SM193/Q, SM207/R, SM230/F, SM233/P, SM244/K, SM249/B, SM250/T, SM255/A, SM256/V, SM256/W, SM278/X, SM281/E, SM282/Z, SM402/C, SM484/N.


The following Mk XVIs are listed as lost on operations.

24/12/44 F/L W.R.Bennett SM187/N
06/02/45 F/O N.R.Adams SM249/B
21/02/45 F/L W.C.GADD SM244/K
21.02.45 W/O/ J.D.Carmichael  SM255/A
18/03/45 F/O F/O E.W.Tonkin SM233/P
20.03.45 F/O N.Marsh SM188/S

In addition the following are listed as lost in accidents.

11.05.45 W/O N.A.Stewart SM256/W
18.05.45 F/L W.R.Bennett SM184/D
13.06.45 unknown TB743/K (ferry flight)

2nd TAF started receiving low-back XVIs at the end of March 1945 so it unlikely that any of the SM serials would have been low-back. From the other known serial numbers the following may be considered as possibly low-back: TB304/?,TB520/DGA, TB619/A, TB743/K, TB863/P, TD152/S.

There are photographs of their Mk IXs and their Mk XIVs but I don’t recall ever having seen any of their Mk XVIs. TB520 was flown by W/Cdr Donald G Andrews coded with his initials while commander of the Coltishall Wing in March 1945. I have a profile of it marked copyright www.venturapublications.com so perhaps Malcolm Laird has or knows of a photograph. The profile shows it as a high-back. TB863 is a survivor now in Australia and is also a high-back. So that means TB304, TB619 and TB743 will also be high-back examples. Very likely so but who knows?

The Polish Wing had an influx of Mk XVIs in February 1945. TB733, TB748, TB834 went to 302 Squadron, TB828, TB829, TB832, TB833, TB834, TB860, TB866 to 308 Squadron. The Polish Wing did not receive any low-back XVIs until nearly the end of the war and Polish squadrons never seem to have more then four of them at any one time. Taking the dates into consideration these were almost certainly high-back. TB829/ZF*S and TB832 definitely were as I have post-war photographs of them. But photographs of TB675/4D*V of 74 Squadron and TB702/GW*Y of 340 Squadron show that they were low-back.  TB886/AU*Y 421 Squadron was also a low-back. Post-war TB898 was with 317 Squadron and low-back. However TB890/ZF*M 308 Squadron was a high-back as was TB995/ZF*O. 

So that leaves only TD152 with a realistic chance of being a low-back. It joined 453 Squadron 26/03/45 so the date does not exclude the possibility. TD238 and TD240 were the first two low-back XVIs to go to the Polish Wing late April 1945. TD239 was also a low-back with 443 Squadron coded 2I*C. TD122 was a high-back coded ZF*D with 308 Squadron. The good news is TD138 made its way to 317 Squadron after the war coded JH*L. A photograph taken at Ahlhorn in 1946 reveals it to be a low-back. So there is still at least the possibility that TD152 could have been a low-back. If so, it was very likely the one and only to belong to an Australian squadron. It’s the only one worth investigating further.


Title: Re: Tamiya Spit XVI - any possibility of Australian pilot?
Post by: pjhunter on March 08, 2012, 02:17:09 AM
Thanks again Antoni for this most helpful reply.
So assuming TD152 is the machine I'm looking for, do I understand correctly from your post that it would have been coded FU-S?
Any further suggestions (apart from Ventura pubs) as to where I might track down images of that particular aircraft?
Thanks again
Pete


Title: Re: Tamiya Spit XVI - any possibility of Australian pilot?
Post by: Antoni on March 08, 2012, 04:50:10 PM
It would have been coded FU*S. Placement is another matter. On their low-back Mk IVs the 'FU' was placed forward of the roundel on the port (left) side and behind the roundel on the starboard (right) side. That is, reading from left to right, on both sides FU*S.

Finding a photograph? Well you could start with the other units it was allocated to, there might be a photograph taken with one of those.

Try the Flypast forum, there are number of Spitfire experts there.

http://forum.keypublishing.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4