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Author Topic: Air Vice-Marshal Boothman Spitfire identification  (Read 12032 times)
Pavel Kloucek
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« on: February 02, 2010, 10:45:05 AM »

Dear sirs, I am new here and have big plea for your help. I am interested in International Airshows in Prague, Czech Republic in 1946 and 1947 year. There were also RAF representatives. In September 1946 there was Air Vice-Marshal Sir J.N.Boothman with his own Spitfire. I have two photos of this plane, both are here: http://fotoalba.centrum.cz/PavelKloucek , but unfortunately serial number is not visible. It looks like one-coloured Mk.IX version without guns to me. Do you know anything about this plane?
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magnusf
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 09:58:21 PM »

Strange that you haven't received any answer yet. I don't have one either but there is one observation that puzzles me: when looking at the photo showing the aircraft roughly from the front there is what looks like a bulge in front of the right landing gear well. Not much different from the ones that can be found on the "bowser wing" of a Spitfire XIX, if what I have read is correct those bulges cover fuel pumps. But the rest of the aircraft certainly looks like a stock mk IX!

A Mk IX with armament removed seems plausible but a hybrid aircraft with bowser wing and Mk IX fuselage sounds strange! Any thoughts on this someone?

Regards

Magnus
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 12:50:32 PM »

Good observation, Magnus. I believe it looks to be a Mk. XI wing.

Perhaps the entire a/c is of this mark? Replacing the chin oil tank to standard Mk. IX would not be much of the problem. OH, and it *does* have a PR-style windscreen.

/M.
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Pavel Kloucek
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 03:18:55 PM »

What about PR Mk.IX od PR Mk.X versions? Used this "reconaissence" wing as PR XI version or not? I thought that reconaissence versions had round window for camera in small access door behind cabine?
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magnusf
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 11:01:15 PM »

I suppose the camera port could be easily exchanged for a "solid" one from another Spitfire.

I found another PR-Spit feature while taking a second look at the photos. Below the belly of the Spitfire, slightly to the rear of the fuselage roundel, there is a small bulge with antenna rods extending from it.

Have a look at this photo, you can clearly see the bulge here. Also, this one doesn't seem to have the deeper chin (or the camera ports) of an ordinary PR XI, could it be that the aircraft in Pavel's photo really is PL983? Can someone check Morgan/Shacklady for the history of PL983 (it sadly crashed fatally in France in 2001)?
http://www.abpic.co.uk/images/images/1180731F.jpg

Here is another photo where it can be clearly seen that PL983 clearly lacks the deep chin:
http://www.sargeantsofgoudhurst.co.uk/about.htm


Regards

Magnus
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 11:06:33 PM by magnusf » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 01:29:47 PM »

What about PR Mk.IX od PR Mk.X versions? Used this "reconaissence" wing as PR XI version or not? I thought that reconaissence versions had round window for camera in small access door behind cabine?

Not necessarily at all. Only tactical recce birds used for low-level photography would have this oblique camera port. Long-range PR Spits had two camera ports underneath the fuselage. It's impossible to say from the first photo if the camera cut-out is there or not. It looks like it could be.

The antenna is “Rebecca” Beam-approach aerial under the fuselage. See http://www.spitfiresite.com/reference/variants-technology/2008/06/spitfire-masts-and-aerials.htm

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martini
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 01:43:42 PM »

I'm afraid I can't help with the aircraft ID because I'm no expert and John Boothman's logbooks for the post-war period are missing. (Earlier ones are in the RAF Museum). I can tell you that in September 1946 he was ACAS Technical Requirements, so I guess he'd hijacked a Spitfire to escape from the office for a few days. He did however know all about PR Spitfires because he commanded 106 Wing, later Group, in the run up to the invasion.
If anybody can suggest in which ORBs his flights might be recorded whilst in the ACAS job, I'll gladly look them up when I'm at The National Archives at Kew sometime.
John Boothman was awarded a Czech decoration, but I've not researched how and when this came about.
John Boothman was my uncle.
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martini
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2010, 09:16:11 PM »

AVM Boothman left Hendon on 15 September 1946 for Prague in PR XI Spitfire PL 902. He stayed overnight and left next morning for Wiesbaden and then back to Hendon.
PL902 was "annotated" for use by ACAS (TR) which job Boothman was doing at the time.
ACAS (TR) is Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Technical Requirements).

He retained use of this Spitfire until June 1948 when it was "OUT" from the Metropolitan Communications Squadron at Hendon, not long before he was re-assigned to become AOC British Forces Iraq.
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Pavel Kloucek
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 08:45:46 AM »

Martini it is absolutely enough info for me. Thanks a million!!! Pavel
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DazDaMan
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2010, 04:46:29 PM »

Have a look at this photo, you can clearly see the bulge here. Also, this one doesn't seem to have the deeper chin (or the camera ports) of an ordinary PR XI, could it be that the aircraft in Pavel's photo really is PL983? Can someone check Morgan/Shacklady for the history of PL983 (it sadly crashed fatally in France in 2001)?
http://www.abpic.co.uk/images/images/1180731F.jpg

Here is another photo where it can be clearly seen that PL983 clearly lacks the deep chin:
http://www.sargeantsofgoudhurst.co.uk/about.htm
Regards

Magnus

PL983 was fitted with a "fighter-style" windscreen and lower engine cowling for the filming of "Piece of Cake", in which she was made up to look like an earlier model Spitfire (complete with "machine gun" ports on the wings).  She stayed in this configuration afterwards, right up to the day she crashed.

She is currently being rebuilt to fly at Duxford.
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