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Thread: Unknown squadron marking & identification (Spitfire)

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    Default Unknown squadron marking & identification (Spitfire)

    Hope this ok as a new poster..

    I saw this picture elsewhere and started digging around and trying to put together the story around the aircraft and those in the picture.

    First of all the squadron marking - is it possible the other character is on the drop down door and thus obscured from vision ? If so, would it be unusual to have the marking so far up the fuselage ?

    I believe the aircraft to be MKIV or earlier, given the design of the engine exhaust manifold, is there a way to be more accurate ?
    Does the removal of the aerial cable give any clue ?

    The ground crew underneath the aircraft appear to be removing/reinstalling something - is that a gun (I assume a browning as I think the cannons would be somewhat larger)? or is the item part of the ammunition feeder system ?

    On top of the wing various access panels are open - from a cutaway diagram I found the outermost panel appears to line up with a camera, I presume a gun activated camera ? what is the small probe hanging down at the front of the wing that appears to line up with the open panel ?
    I assume the other two panels are for loading ammunition - in which case why is the apparatus being removed/reinstalled under the wing ?

    Why is the chap accessing the camera (I think?) through the fuselage flap not in RAF blue ? Would it be unusual for ground crew not to be in blue ? I assume this was in summer or at least warm weather, given the shorts and t-shirts ?

    I interpret the three officers in the foreground as two pilots (wearing a mae west each) and a intelligence officer (with the cap on). It appears the pilot facing us has boots on, whereas the other pilot's trousers appear to go to the floor - maybe taken his boots off ? or wearing shoes ? I understand that some bomber crews used to cut their boots down, did fighter pilots do this also ?




    Thanks for any answers/insight!

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    Hi

    Welcome to the forum, a few initial observations

    The aircraft is not a Mk IV (that was a PR type), it is a Mk V.

    The open flap gives access to the radio not a camera.

    The armourers appear to be working on the guns.

    It seems strange that the serial number isn't shown, perhaps removed by the censor but that would be unusual.

    The officer without a 'Mae-West' could still be a pilot but not flying.

    A number of units used 'L' as a code letter on its own

    Malcolm

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    There seem to be a series of photographs of this aircraft. from http://a2asimulations.com/forum/view...=16253#p138627 (EDIT - diff ac - "D" instead of "T" but same set of ground crew. )


    Last edited by Jagan; 2nd April 2018 at 23:00.

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    These aircraft have 'KL' codes for 54 Sqn they were carried from the beginning of the War until 1942 when the squadron moved to Australia. In these photos the 'K' is usually hidden by the open cockpit door but the photos have been examined in detail many times on the modelling boards. If you google on "54 squadron spitfire" you will find a large number of images.

    Steve

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    Many thanks for all the replies, I did wonder if it was a life magazine picture, but didn't find any solid reference

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    Hello

    It's an Imperial War Museum picture, taken at Hornchurch in May 1941. Maybe a check in the Squadron Operations Record Book could help to match "T" with a serial number, or our Spitfire gurus know this match.

    Joss

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    Joss,

    I did a little searching on 54 Squadron as suggested and I came across an image of KL-T in flight on this page (just before the first graph) http://www.rafjever.org/spitfire.htm

    Although its earlier than the Hornchurch picture it mentions the pilot as being Colin Gray, he was at 54 Squadron earlier in the war and returned in early 1941 to lead A flight according to http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/GrayCF.htm, he was posted to 1 Squadron in early June 1941. I guess its possible he took up T on his return, but as you say I presume squadron records would confirm.

    Gray ended the war with 27.5 kills to his credit along with a DSO, DFC and 2 bars. He retired from the RAF as a Group Captain in 1961 and returned to his native New Zealand.
    Last edited by CasualObserver; 3rd April 2018 at 18:53.

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