|Number of Hurricanes ferried to Ceylon by Indomitable||Graham,
There seems to be little doubt that there were 10 Mark I’s. I can account for maybe seven of them:
-258 Sqn’s ORB and other sources note that on 5 April it scrambled a flight of nine Mark II’s and a flight of five Mark I’s. The serial numbers of the latter were Z4247, Z4227, Z4372, Z4983 and, supposedly, Z7711, but Halley says the latter was a Blenheim IV.
-261 Sqn’s CO, Sqn Ldr Lewis, was flying Z4961 when shot down. One source says this was a Mark 1, another says it was a IIA. If it was a IIA then it’s the only one I’ve identified.
-the China Bay station commander flew 261 Sqn’s Z4762 to a satellite field on 9 April. This was a Mark I.
As for why some of the 60 Hurricanes were Mk I’s, I agree with what you say about the drawbacks of including them along with the more numerous Mark II’s. From AIR 8/881, which has been kindly provided to me by “Tom from Cornwall” very recently, from [I]Hurricanes Over the Sands[/I], and from the ORBs, it looks like 30 and 261 squadrons flew their Mark Is to No.108 M.U. before leaving Egypt and were given 36 Mark IIB’s, flown overland from Takoradi, when they got to Port Sudan. However, on 17 February Portal told Tedder to get as many Hurricanes on Indomitable as would fit. Apparently there were only another 14 Mark II’s on hand, also flown in from Takoradi I think, so 10 Mark I’s from the Middle East were embarked, since 60 dismantled Hurricanes could be squeezed aboard the carrier. I expect that nothing but Mark II’s would have been sent if 60 of them could have been got to Port Sudan in time but apparently that was not possible. ....Read More.||Rob Stuart on 1st October 2013 10:13:56|
|Number of Hurricanes ferried to Ceylon by Indomitable||Graham and Peter, thanks very much for your responses. I’ve done some more checking and can add the following now:
Last weekend I paid the requisite £3.36 and downloaded a copy of the 258 Sqn ORB Form 540 for March-April ‘42. It says that on 1 April the unit had 10 x Mark II and 7 x Mark I, and that on 3 April it received a further Mark I. (I’m guessing that the latter aircraft might have been from 30 Sqn, since it had 24 Hurricanes on 29 March, lost one in an accident on 3 April and had only 22 on 5 April.) Since Z4961 was a IIA (thanks for confirming this), this means that on 5 April 258 Sqn had eight Mark I’s and 261 Sqn had one (Z4762), leaving just one unaccounted for.
“Z4983” was a typo on my part. The 258 Sqn ORB actually reads “Z4783”. I’m guessing that this was a Mk I converted to a Mk IIA.
I have a theory about “Z7711”, which is that the serial number should read Z5661 in the ORB. According to Halley, Z5661 was “Shot down by A6Ms over Colombo, 5.4.42”. If this is true then Z5661 pretty much has to be the aircraft wrongly listed in the ORB as Z7711, since the serial numbers of the other 13 aircraft of 258 Sqn which scrambled are accounted for. Furthermore, the ORB lists P/O RN Neill RAAF as the pilot of “Z7711” and he is known to have been shot down and killed. If Z5661 was a Mk I converted to Mk IIA this would support (but not prove) my theory, since I can’t really see an unconverted Mk I being grouped with a flight of Mk II’s. Any other explanation would entail more than just one error, e.g., two errors in Halley: Z5661 was not shot down and Neill was flying an aircraft which is not noted as having been lost on 5 April
Last weekend I also downloaded (for another£3.36) the ORB for 30 Sqn for March-April 1942, AIR 27/344/29. Very much to my frustration, pages 1 and 2 of the Form 540 are missing, so the first entry is for 8 March. Page 2 may well have indicated how many aircraft 30 Sqn flew off Indomitable. (Insert expletive of your choice!)
Graham, which of Mason’s books are you referring to?
Rob ....Read More.||Rob Stuart on 10th October 2013 05:32:03|
|Number of Hurricanes ferried to Ceylon by Indomitable||Hi all,
The following may help add to the overall information of this post. The logbook of Sgt W.E. Pearce (Aus.402825), 261 Sqn RAF, indicates he flew Hurricane Mk.I Z4762 from HMS Indomitable to China Bay on 7th March 1942 (30 min flight). Thereafter, Pearce piloted Hurricane Mk.IIB Z5620 for an air test (13th) and Dawn Patrol (17th). Hurricane Mk.IIB, Z5533 was seemingly his usual mount from 17th March onwards - logging 8 sorties and 5 non-ops (not including his final fateful mission on 5th April). He noted two additional non-ops flying Hurricane ‘227’ on 14th Mar and ‘676’ on the 30th Mar.
Regards, Drew ....Read More.||AUS on 10th October 2013 11:55:36|