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Thread: Sussex Airfields in the Second World War (Brooks) publ 1993

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    Default Sussex Airfields in the Second World War (Brooks) publ 1993

    I raised this query before but exactly the same image of MJ632 Spifire IX, appears with 2 different captions in 2 books, 2 sqns, both books published in 1993.

    They are:
    1) Rawlings Fighter Sqns of the RAF (which shows this plane as 'Canadian DB-T' Friston Feb 1944)

    2) Robin Brooks Sussex Airfields of the Second World War (which shows this aircraft as 349sqn at Merston).

    Any help would be much appreciated
    (this is the kind of drop tank I was asking abt in the last thread btw)

    Here are the pics
    http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/2700/merstonmj632.jpg
    http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/8551/canadianmj632.jpg


    DAve

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    Well it seems there is a fairly high level of confusion here.

    According to Air Britain MJ632 was in the Mediterranean with 72 Sqn.

    If we assume (perhaps incorrectly) that this photo of a Spitfire with a cigar shaped tank is more likely to be the winter of 1944-45 rather than 1943-44 then both 411 RCAF Sqn and 349 FAF Sqn were based in Europe with 2TAF during the winter of 1944-45 and operating most likely on Dutch airfields (when there was snow on the ground).

    When the Spitfire sqns of ADGB/Fighter Command were flying long range escorts to Bomber Command daylight operations during the winter of 1944-45 (and using overload tanks) the Spitfires that escorted the bombers to the target frequently landed at European airfields to refuel on the return flight.

    Steve

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    Thats an interesting angle Steve. Thanks.
    I have a hunch that Rawling's RAF Friston caption is right. So was it smuggling a bit of the Holy Communion in from Holland? Doubt it but nice thought. But fuel just for this trip? maybe.
    Was not the Winter of 1944/5 qte harsh here in Britain?
    Anyway I'm going to try to get hold of the photo at the IWM from whence it came.
    Will check your suggested date in the ORBs too.
    Hopefully the original caption may include a date or something concrete.
    MJ632's history I seem to recall was very a mysterious & chequered affair, so not helpful in this respect.
    I'll update any interested parties with any further info. I find.
    I think its a nice photo
    Dave
    Last edited by david cullen; 14th September 2011 at 15:21.

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    Default 349/411? Friston/Merston?

    Rawlings v. Brooks looks like a 2-all draw, including own goals either side ...

    The photo is one of a short series in the IWM collection (CH12433-6 and according to their record was taken at 'Dean' on 22 Feb 44. 'Dean' is actually East Dean - an alternative name for RAF Friston. The weather in the photo ties up with the condition on the south coast at that period.

    All the other photos in the series show GE-coded Spits of 349 Sqn so it is a reasonable assumption that 'T' in the photo used by Rawlings and Brooks was also one of their aircraft. There is a chance that it could have been a visiting 411 Sqn Spit (lobbed in due bad weather) as they were based at Biggin (and were about to move to Peterhead). Looking at an original print, the best I could make of the serial number was xJ832, but the 'J8' was by no means certain.

    So it looks like Rawlings, 411 (DB) no, Friston yes. Brooks, 349 yes, Merston no.

    Incidentally, unless you are lucky with 349's ORB, the serial would be hard to verify as the F.78 movement cards for this period are full of holes and/or errors, due to the multitude of aircraft movements and (in this case) the large quantities of Spit IXs with similar MA, MH, MJ, MK and ML serials with similar numbers attached.
    CT

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    Default Thanks!

    Hi Chris.
    I've checked all of 421 and 411s Spitfire Ixs.
    Theres an F MkIX MH832 (dont know code) listed on strength with 421sqn (22-10-43 then to 310Sqn 8-9-44)
    All the Canadian Spitfire units used Friston for cannon practice and refuelling frequently from Kenley.
    412 were stationed there from 21st June to 26th July 1943
    Dave
    Last edited by david cullen; 15th September 2011 at 10:45.

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    Furthermore Friston was closed that afternoon (Feb 22nd 1944, the date of the photo) due to snow:
    'A heavy fall of snow had covered over the repairs to the runway'.....
    349 ORB stated
    '4 aircraft led by S/L Drossaert took off for Hawkinge at 0800'....
    'to act as close support to 72 Marauders attacking Gilze Reizen airfield'....
    'later enough of the snow was cleared and the airfield became operational again'....

    (349Sqn were at Friston between Oct 1943 and April 1944)

    Unfortunately I do not have the serials of these 4 aircraft.
    But interestingly the Friston ORB stated 3 days later
    '349sqn carried out their first operational trip with their new Spitfire IXs'

    This therefore suggests that the depicted aircraft is not 349's (seems unlikely given it was stacked amongst 349s other photos, many thanks Chris btw)..
    OR
    that it was leaving/returning from a non-operational flight (maybe a check flight on a new delivery)
    It would be interesting to see where 349 received their MKIXs from that month.
    Dave
    Last edited by david cullen; 16th September 2011 at 11:21.

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    Default Same plane??

    It now appears that the MKIXs 349 received 3 days after this photo were LFIXe's,
    so this is not a new receipt (no clipped wings).

    The Robin Brooks book says it is preparing to take off (ie not having landed). Is this because of the groundcrew or something?

    I'm inclined to think this aircraft is the same one as on the left in this pic IWM CH12434.
    This one is in the book Action Stations no.9
    It makes sense really...

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/855/dsc00057pp.jpg/

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    Default Y

    As the original caption to this photograph in Rawlings book 'Sqns of the RAF' gives DB-T MJ632 at Friston, I suspect he, like me, thinks this is definately not a Belgian Kite.

    DB is 411RCAF.
    But I think I'm correct in saying this a/c was not with them.

    I'm now fairly convinced its a Canadian Spit MJ832, DN-Y, flown by Dick Forbes Roberts on an Escort through snow which caused only half the 416RCAF Spits to get back in to Kenley.

    Friston was a Satelite station for Kenley at some point.

    The only reservation I have is the 'Y'
    Chris can you make it out better on your copy?

    Dave

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