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Thread: Number of Hurricanes ferried to Ceylon by Indomitable

  1. #21
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    Default Pilots

    Sorry to invade this thread, but I would like to know if anyone has some pilot/ac tie-ups for the ferry flights to Ceylon other than those mentioned in Bloody Shamples?

    I can offer one: BG696 was flown by Peacock-Edwards.

    John Engelsted

  2. #22
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    John,

    I have almost no info on which Hurricane was flown off Indomitable by which pilot, just info on which was flown by whom on 5 April.

    According to Bloody Shambles p. 401, BG696 was flown by Sgt Morehouse on 5 April. Z5461 was the aircraft Peacock-Edwards flew on 5 April.

    On page 74 of Hurricane Aces 1941-1945, there is a picture of Hurricane BN125 of 258 Squadron at probably the Racecourse. It looks like it has made a wheels-up landing. The caption does not give a date for the photo but it's apparently from March or April 1942, so BN125 was probably flown off Indomitable. This is the only one I know off from a source other than Bloody Shambles.


    Rob

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    Hello all,

    In the first post in this thread I asked how many Hurricanes were ferried to Ceylon by Indomitable in March 1942. For anyone still interested, I am now confident that the correct figure is 60. As noted in the thread, this is the figure given in the war diary of the C-in-C Eastern Fleet and in the 880 NAS squadron record book. In fact, I can now say that Indomitable ferried 50 Hurricane IIBs and 10 Hurricane Is. This breakdown is given in a 19 February 42 signal from HQ RAF Middle East and in a 5 March signal from Air HQ India.

    Cheers,

    Rob

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    The presence of Mk.Is is a little odd. Not only would these have been rather tired (much like the Sea Hurricanes on Indomitable) but it would mean increasing the spares load, the types having different engines, cooling systems, propellers and tailwheels, apart from lesser differences. I notice that other sources speak of a handful of Mk.IIAs: I suspect one of these is wrong.

  5. #25
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    Graham,

    There seems to be little doubt that there were 10 Mark Is. I can account for maybe seven of them:

    -258 Sqns ORB and other sources note that on 5 April it scrambled a flight of nine Mark IIs and a flight of five Mark Is. The serial numbers of the latter were Z4247, Z4227, Z4372, Z4983 and, supposedly, Z7711, but Halley says the latter was a Blenheim IV.

    -261 Sqns 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 its the only one Ive identified.

    -the China Bay station commander flew 261 Sqns Z4762 to a satellite field on 9 April. This was a Mark I.

    As for why some of the 60 Hurricanes were Mk Is, I agree with what you say about the drawbacks of including them along with the more numerous Mark IIs. From AIR 8/881, which has been kindly provided to me by Tom from Cornwall very recently, from Hurricanes Over the Sands, 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 IIBs, 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 IIs on hand, also flown in from Takoradi I think, so 10 Mark Is from the Middle East were embarked, since 60 dismantled Hurricanes could be squeezed aboard the carrier. I expect that nothing but Mark IIs would have been sent if 60 of them could have been got to Port Sudan in time but apparently that was not possible.

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    Air Britain (Halley) and Mason both have a production batch of Mk.IIAs Z4940 to Z4989. As for Z7711, miswritten serial numbers are only too common. Apparently Cork spent much of his time on Indomitable flying an unconverted Hurricane that spent a parallel time in the Western Desert - but at least that is a simple transposition. I can't find an easy option for your Z7711. Edit Z4111 is a possibility.

    Need must when the devil drives, of course. At low level the Mk.I wouldn't be outclassed by a Mk.IIB - the lower power would be balanced by the lower weight and better agility Not enough so to cope with a Zero, however. A late enough Mk.I could also have the same propeller, reducing some of the spares problems.
    Last edited by Graham Boak; 2nd October 2013 at 12:38.

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    Z4247
    Z4227
    Z4372

    all Gloster built Mk I BUT all converted toMk II

    cheers Peter

  8. #28
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    Graham and Peter, thanks very much for your responses. Ive 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. (Im 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 Is 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. Im 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 cant really see an unconverted Mk I being grouped with a flight of Mk IIs. 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 another3.36) 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 Masons books are you referring to?


    Thanks again,

    Rob

  9. #29
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    The final one of his books entitled The Hawker Hurricane, specifically the RAF Museum/Aston edition.

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    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

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