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Thread: What is the correct writing of aircraft marks?

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    Default What is the correct writing of aircraft marks?

    Hi all,

    I would like to make clear for me how to write correctly aircraft marks.

    In the WWII period I saw in most cases folllowing formats:

    Vickers Wellington Mk.IC or just IC
    Consolidated Liberator GR Mk.V or just GR V

    but I am alittle bit confused with the post war aircraft. I noted that there were used Arabic numerals instead the Romish ones but what it the correct format?
    Few examples I came acrross:

    Avro Lincoln B.2
    Avro Anson T.21
    Boeing Washington B Mk.1 or B.1
    de Havilland Vampire FB.5, FB.9, T.11
    Gloster Meteory T.7
    Handley Page Hastings C Mk.1 or C.1
    Percival Provost T.Mk 1 or T.1

    I woukld say that in the majority I saw fromat without "Mk." but I want to make it clear in general.

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel, the correct usage depends on the date. I'm working from memory here, hopefully someone else can provide exact dates.

    At the start of the War role prefixes were not used, and roman numerals were used. An aircraft would be a Mk. I or Mk. II, etc. Early in the war, role prefixes were introduced, so an aircraft would be renamed a B. Mk. II, for example. I believe B.II would be an unofficial, but common, abbreviation at that time. The switch to Arabic numerals happened late in the war, late 1944 from memory, so now the aircraft was a B. Mk. 2. Dropping the "mark" became official after the war. So, if an aircraft survived long enough, it could have been correctly identified as a Mk. II, B. Mk. II, B. Mk. 2 and B.2 at various times.

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    I can state that the Mk. abbreviation was not dropped after the war, as it was still in use in the 1970s when I was involved in the production of manuals. However it was rarely used outside of official documents.

    I thought that the change to Arabic numerals was fairly soon postwar, between the Spitfire F Mk.XXI and the F Mk.22, but I've been unable to find any reference defining the change. However Spitfire The History refers to the F.21 as early as 1943, although also quoting from a Supermarine document of 1945 which refers to both the Mk.XXI and XXII. Another very early example is the Mosquito Mk.35, which I have never seen in Roman numerals. The first PR Mk.34 was apparently delivered in December 1944, according to Putnam references which are generally strict on the use of correct designations: for example the DH Dove C Mk.1. I've not seen the Australian 40-series Mosquitoes with anything other than Arabic numerals. This suggests that the change was indeed planned in late 1943, at least for new aircraft, although the Vampire F Mk.III didn't become the F Mk.3 until built to its production specification of 1947. Perhaps any postwar change was the extension of the scheme from new variants to existing types?
    Last edited by Graham Boak; 27th July 2014 at 17:46.

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    Bill and Graham, many thanks for your contribution.
    I see it is not so easy as I expected:)
    To make it easier - if I will be using for aircraft serving in period 1949 onwards only abbreviations B.2, F.3 etc. would it be correct and acceptatble for English readers?

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    It would certainly be entirely acceptable and indeed probably the norm. I don't think it will strictly be correct.

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    Hello

    I remember reading somewhere that the change from Roman to Arabic numerals occured when the figures reached XX / 20, like the Spitfire 21 mentioned, or the Merlin variants.

    Joss

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    Pavel, there is such a variation in published usage, official and unofficial, that nobody could fault you for what you intend to do.

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    From what I have been told, and read a little, the change from Roman to Arabic numerals was during 1948, with the exception of numbers above XX before then.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Hi chaps,

    thank you for your comments, I see that I should not take it so seriously:-)

    Yes I remember also reading something that the change was when number reached 20 but later there were also smaller numerals in Arabic.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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