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Author Topic: Spitfire Mk 22's on 73 Squadron and SRAF  (Read 10939 times)
valke4
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« on: November 04, 2009, 10:02:32 PM »

Would there be anyone out there with info on which Spit 22's were on 73 Sqn's strength 1947-48, and even pictures? Additionally, which 22 a/c went out to join the SRAF in 1951? I am looking for a specific a/c PK350, but would also like to know how many were on strength and what their designations were?  On http://www.spitfires.ukf.net/home.htm, PK350 doesn't appear to have gone onto 73's strength, yet other info indicates she was on that Sqn's strength. PK350 ended up on SRAF strength and was re-built in the late '70's, flew again in 1980, and was destroyed in 1982 in an accident. Thanks.
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gingerbob
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2009, 11:18:52 AM »

Found this in Bruce Robertson's book:

73S Mk.22s
PK380 'D'
PK391
PK397 'H'
PK518 'F'
PK544 'C'
PK555 'K'
PK556 'R'
PK572 'N'
PK576
PK594 'J'
PK607 'Q'
PK611 'B'
PK612
PK656 'E'
PK662 'V'
PK674 'L'

He also says they were marked only with individual letters, as unit code letters were not used postwar by 73S.

He lists some serials as going to Rhodesia, but PK350 is not one of them  (it is not a full list).

bob
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Antoni
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2009, 09:33:49 PM »

Post-war the SRAF ordered 22 Spitfire Mk F.22s from surplus RAF stocks. Two, PK344 PK482, were lost in transit. The remaining 20 received Serials SR58 to SR68 and SR80 to SR88.

PK326 – SR80
PK330 – SR63
PK344 – crashed in France
PK350 – SR64
PK355 – SR65
PK370 – SR?
PK401 – SR86
PK408 – SR?
PK432 – SR?
PK482 – crashed Entebbe
PK494 – SR?
PK506 – SR?
PK514 – SR59
PK548 – SR?
PK572 – SR?
PK575 – SR62
PK576 – SR?
PK594 – SR?
PK625 – SR?
PK649 – SR84
PK663 – SR?
PK672 – SR68


On 23rd June 1942 the Deputy Director of Air Tactics at the Air Ministry wrote to Bomber, Fighter, Coastal and Army Co-operation Commands informing them that it was now considered that the policy of applying two-letter code combinations to identify parent squadrons tended to ‘stultify’ all efforts to conceal the order of battle, and unless the commands could identify overriding reasons to the contrary, the use of squadron codes would be abandoned. The views of each command were sought as a matter of urgency. On the 26th September the AM sent a letter to all operational Commands, including Middle East, West Africa and India informing them that with the exception of Bomber and Fighter Commands, all other commands should dispense with this means of identification on security grounds.

73 Squadron spent most of the wartime years based overseas where the use of the two-letter squadron codes had been dispensed with in 1942. Instead, the squadron employed a chevron marking under the fuselage roundel. This chevron has been described as being applied in the squadron colours of blue and yellow but from anecdotal evidence from ex-squadron personnel it is apparent that many different colour combinations were used depending upon what paint was available at the time. Some chevrons were blue and yellow, others black and white, black and yellow or black and red.

In 1947 73 Squadron were equipped with Spitfire Mk Ixs and based at Ta’ Qali, Malta. Two F.22s arrived in mid-July 1947 and were coded G and V. By November the squadron had reequipped with the new type. The F.22s were delivered to the squadron in the standard Day Fighter Scheme. The squadron continued its tradition of applying a chevron to the sidesof the fuselage. However, it is not clear what combination of colours was used on F.22s; whether there was a mix as previously or whether these combinations were used on a flight basis or not. It is not known if any F.22s were ever repainted in the post-war Day Fighter Scheme of overall Aluminium but it is known that revised post-war national markings were applied prior to their replacement by Vampires.

PK350

33MU 3-8-45 VA EA 18-6-46 Pershore 15-7-47 Middle East 31-7-47 returned UK 28-10-48 SRAF 25-3-51 as SR64 Crashed 26-3-82 parts survive

This information is derived from the Aircraft Movement Card. Unfortunately once an aircraft was sent abroad the cards were not updated. So PK350 went to the Middle East 31st July 1947. As F.22s were confined almost exclusively to the RAuxAF, 73 Squadron being the only regular RAF unit to receive them, it appears that PK350 did indeed go to 73 Squadron.

TOC RAF 31/7/45. Ferry flight to Southern Rhodesia, Lt D A Bradshaw arrived SRAF 25/3/51. No 1 Squadron 28/3/51. Landed wheels-up at Cranborne 1/6/51 Capt D McGibbon. Repaired estimated at £1,226.5s.6d. Last flight 18/12/54, SOC 1954. Retained on RRAF charge as exhibit at Bulawayo Museum 30/6/55. Displayed on pole at New Sarum AFB from 1955. To Capt Jack Malloch/Air Trans Africa, Salisbury/Harare Zimbabwe 1978. Restored and flown JM-M from 29/3/80. Dived into ground, Goromiorzi, near Harare 26/3/82, Jack Malloch killed. Wreck to W H Owens at Gweru in 1983.

Photograph of PK690 ‘L’ at Ta’ Qali in1948. Wartime Day Fighter Scheme, post-war style roundels and fin flashes. Chevron marking thought to be black and white.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 12:50:51 PM by Antoni » Logged
valke4
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 09:02:07 AM »

Hi Antoni and Gingerbob, Guys thanks so much for the info on PK350. Sorry I haven't acknolwedged your responses earlier. Where did you get the info on PK350 in the SRAF, Antoni? That was very useful. I am intending to write a book on her restoration as it remains a great untold story within our aviation circles here in southern Africa. I live in Zim., was in the Rhoda, and Zim AF; saw the a/c on her first flight on 29th March 1980, was involved in the filming piloted the Vampire chase a/c) of the a/c in Mar '82 just before she crashed; know alot of the personalities involved including the engineer who oversaw the re-build, two of the three pilots who flew her etc. You mention she spent time at the Bulawayo Museum! I live here in Bulawayo, and never knew that. I will have to see if I can dig up some info on that. Interestingly, the other surviving Spit F22, SR65, is in the Gweru Museum, where I used to live and serve. She also did a stint of guard duty here in Byo at Brady Barracks.
You mention Bruce Robertson's book, Gingerbob - what is it's title?
Thanks again guys.
Cheers.
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Antoni
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2010, 10:50:47 PM »

Spitfire International, an Air Britain Publication.
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valke4
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 03:17:12 PM »

Hi Antoni,
Many thanks for that gen. Another one - have you seen any cutaway drwaings of F22's?
Cheers and many thanks.
Best regards.
Nick
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