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Thread: 297 Squadron Whitley

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    Default 297 Squadron Whitley

    Hi,
    I'm researching a Whitley aircraft from 297 Sqn, based at Thruxton in 1943. Looking for advice on what their serial codes/ fuselage codes were? in particular I'm looking for a/c ''c'' from 297 which was mentioned in an incident in 1943. Would this 'C' be painted/marked on the aircraft or just designated to it on paperformat, so to speak!!

    any information most welcome, Thank you,

    Dave

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    As a general rule, units' aircraft displayed two codes: the two or - sometimes - three letter squadron code and single letter - sometimes with a suffix - which identified a specific aircraft.

    The codes 'generally' - how often does that word occur when dealing with anything here - were placed either side of the fuselage roundel and the individual code was sometimes painted on the tailfin or near the cockpit window at a smaller size.

    The colours, size, visibility of the letters and roundels changed and I won't even go there! Sometimes no letters were displayed and the individual letter would change as replacement aircraft were introduced.

    If you are painting a picture or building a model, authenticity will only be preserved if you have a photograph taken on a known date which will show the colour schemes in use at that time and place.

    To add to the confusion, others will post with further variations of what I have written above and by time you're finished, you will probably wonder why you asked!!!!!!!!!

    Good Luck.

    Colin Cummings

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    Hi,

    Just looked through Whitley File to see if there was anything there but as you've probably guessed , no.
    However it does say 297 did not use a two letter squadron code so "if" this is right then just an individual aircraft letter. Book lists a dozen or so if you're interested and quotes "C" as Z9313, although no doubt there would have been others ! It survived and was struck off with 42 OTU 2.4.45.
    regards
    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterColwill View Post
    Hi,

    Just looked through Whitley File to see if there was anything there but as you've probably guessed , no.
    However it does say 297 did not use a two letter squadron code so "if" this is right then just an individual aircraft letter. Book lists a dozen or so if you're interested and quotes "C" as Z9313, although no doubt there would have been others ! It survived and was struck off with 42 OTU 2.4.45.
    regards
    Peter

    Just to prove Colin right there are photos of 297 Whitleys on the IWM website, showing the squadron code QA, worn behind the roundel on both sides of the fuselage .
    BD496 is shown as QA-E, but these photos seem to date from 1942 ?
    .

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    Hi Colin and Peter,
    Thank you for the information, most interesting. I now have the Operations Record Book for 297 Sqn. The incident I'm researching is in included in the entries for June 43, albeit a few lines regarding the fatal outcome of the Paratroopers being dropped. I have asked for a FOI on any board of inquiry into the incident, as 8 men died that day, i'm assuming at least something was said about it!!!

    Peter, Interesting in what you said about 'c' being Z9313, is there a date connected to this serial number? The records show the 297 a/c as having letters BD__ [and then a number]

    Regards,
    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by LEUCHARS1 View Post
    Hi Colin and Peter,
    Thank you for the information, most interesting. I now have the Operations Record Book for 297 Sqn. The incident I'm researching is in included in the entries for June 43, albeit a few lines regarding the fatal outcome of the Paratroopers being dropped. I have asked for a FOI on any board of inquiry into the incident, as 8 men died that day, i'm assuming at least something was said about it!!!

    Peter, Interesting in what you said about 'c' being Z9313, is there a date connected to this serial number? The records show the 297 a/c as having letters BD__ [and then a number]

    Regards,
    David
    Hi David,

    Most of the aircraft listed (no dates) are as you say in the BD serial range, which of course is part of the serial number and not a code.

    There is record on the BBC website, if you look under WW2 People's War, Operation Bluebell of an incident with Whitleys on 13th June 1943 when a stick accidentally jumped into the River Tay........does this match your date?

    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by LEUCHARS1 View Post
    Hi Colin and Peter,
    Thank you for the information, most interesting. I now have the Operations Record Book for 297 Sqn. The incident I'm researching is in included in the entries for June 43, albeit a few lines regarding the fatal outcome of the Paratroopers being dropped. I have asked for a FOI on any board of inquiry into the incident, as 8 men died that day, i'm assuming at least something was said about it!!!

    Peter, Interesting in what you said about 'c' being Z9313, is there a date connected to this serial number? The records show the 297 a/c as having letters BD__ [and then a number]

    Regards,
    David
    Hello David

    Although I cannot find an obvious one in the crash log, according to Nicholas Roberts 297 Squadron came under 38 Wing, Army Co-Operation Command, based at Netheravon, but W/Cmdr Jefford (Ret'd) in his book says Thruxton and to Stoney Cross from 25 Aug 43

    There are ORBs for the Wing and you may/may not, be able to get some information in AIR 26/59 and AIR 26/60 No.38 Wing.

    If you go to http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk and click on advanced search.
    You can search for Netheravon, Thruxton etc., under "AIR 28" in the references (AIR 28 being for RAF Stations).

    Sometimes, Stations and Wing/Group ORBs / Appendices, do carry snippets of extra info including the aircraft serial, sometimes no mention.

    Early WW2, I know the lists of Squadron Codes can be found amongst the AMO (Air Ministry Order or Standing Orders Volumes) in AIR 72 but what year they were Allocated / Amended, then you would have to search backward, expect a lengthy hunt as the volumes are fairly thick, with thin pages, but these will still not give you the RAF Aircraft Serial letter/s number.

    A word of caution, a photo of an aircraft in the same Squadron with the Aircraft Letter and an RAF Serial number showing in the same photo, will not always give you the RAF Aircraft Serial number for that particular Aircraft Letter, for you to be able to order an Aircraft (movement) Card AM 78. Because if an RAF Aircraft Serial number, with a certain aircraft letter was in a mishap, or say needed an engine change, or modification and was u/s in that Squadron, the Squadron would simply transfer the aircraft letter (paint) it on another aircraft with a different RAF Serial number. The RAF Aircraft Serial number generally stayed with the aircraft, but the aircraft letter given by the Squadron did not.

    According to some 297 Squadron accidents noted, the RAF Aircraft Serial numbers started with Z or BD, which has already been suggested.

    You may wish to check the Command ORBs in AIR 24, if the Squadron was under the Army Co-Operation Command?

    If visiting TNA, Kew, ensure you have all the req'd Named Photo ID (driving licence/passport) and current printed correspondence with Home Address and your Name on, to apply for a Readers Ticket, to access the Reading Room.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 11th March 2015 at 19:11.

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    Can you share with us the date of the incident in 1943?

    The airborne forces had all sorts of prangs and bangs over the years and I have collected information on several. However, my records generally only record the loss of a glider or aircraft.

    Colin Cummings

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