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Thread: Code Letters - how can I find the code to ID an A/C?

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    Default Code Letters - how can I find the code to ID an A/C?

    I'm trying to find the code letters for a particular aircraft from 21OTU (1446 Flt).

    Wellington B MkII W5494 crashed 22/Dec/42 in North Wales.

    Have found the the three sets of two letter 'unit' codes used by 21 OTU in 1942 - AP between Apr 1941 to Mar 1947, SJ between Apr 1941 and in 1943 and UH between Apr 1943 and Mar 1947 but have no idea which set was used or the single aircraft ident letter which identifies W5494 either - anyone have any idea how/where I can start please? The colour used would be useful too - was there a standard coulour used by all Bomber Command?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by NickDay; 25th February 2009 at 16:43. Reason: idiot spelling!
    Regards,

    Nick

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    I believe at this time the colour would have been red.

    There are only two sources to link serial and code that I know of, and neither can be relied upon. One is the unit's Operating Record Book, which will tell you which aircraft went on which mission at which time, if you are lucky. However this may record only the serial, or only the individual letter. It should at least tell you which codes were used by which sub-unit within the OTU. The other would be the logbooks of pilots passing through the unit, and the same comment applies.

    Another source may be the control tower records, but I've never heard of these being used so suspect either they are not helpful, or have not survived.

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    Graham is correct. From July 1942 all BC aircraft codes were in dull red as were the serial numbers.

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    Searching further I have found two photos of 21 OTU Wellingtons wearing code ED but have no confirmation that this unit ever used Wellington II's. So far as I am able to ascertain 21 OTU did not use AP as one of its codes.
    1446 Flt remains something of a mystery. I have found only one reference to it which states it lived at Moreton-in-the-Marsh and used the Wellington, but does not state which mark. It would appear likely that 1446 was one of those flights which used just a single letter code on its aircraft. It is also just possible that the single letter was in white or sky instead of dull red.
    So far as W5494 is concerned I can offer no information and I must apologise for muddying the waters even further. Hopefully other forumites may have more definitive information.
    Bill.

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    Many thanks both for your information...

    Very little infor regarding 1446 Flt seems to be available...it was an independant flight which was attached to 21 OTU on 18th May 1942 from Brassingbourne and was involved in training Ferry crews.

    Even the Wellington Aviation museum site at wellingtonaviation.org only has the odd reference to 1446 Flt crews dispatching aircraft or crashing.
    Regards,

    Nick

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    Hi Nick,
    This will either completely confuse the issue or help, hopefully the latter. My father was in 21OTU and 1446 Ferry Flight.
    From his log book, Moreton in Marsh 21 OTU "C" Flight from 14/7/42 flew as W/Op in following Wellingtons.
    R1242, R1165, P9240, N2847, X9942, R1165, R1211, N2847, R1742, R1717, DV838, DV811.
    Pilots for above were F.Lt Millson, P.O Parkes, F/S Shaw, F/S Evans and Sgt McClellan. Finished time in "C" Flight 13/8/42.
    Moreton in Marsh 1446 Ferry Flight from 4/9/42 to 8/9/42 Wellington HX676 pilot Sgt McClellan who was an American, ( from Dads diary lovely kite we have no 676 (M) ) this was brand new straight from factory.
    Now I have two photographs of this Wellington with crew in one it shows the lettering but partially obscurered, as best that I can make out it is FD on left of RAF Rosette and X on right side.
    Ferry Flight M.E. 12/9/42 Moreton in Marsh to Portreath, Porteath to Gibralter, Gibralter to Bathurst, Bathurst to Accra, Accra to Lagos (Ikeja), Lagos to Maiduguri ( 2200 on 28/9/42 abandoned a/c bailed out over Maiduguri French Sudan Africa 6500ft. All crew survived and went on to M.E.
    Dad and the rest of crew ended up in 37, 40 and 70 squadrons, however if they hadn't had to bail out there is a strong suggestion that they would have carried on to S.E. Asia as I have a book of Dads which goes over all thr tropical difficulties that would be encountered. Whether the same plane would have carried on is not a given however in all likelyhood it would have.
    Dad was in 37 Squadron and some of the codes he flew were HD958, HX521, LA938, Z8765, HZ205, HF747 and HF805 to name a few.
    From these Wellington codes you may be able to work backwards and trace their origins which may give you more insight.
    I hope that this is some help.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

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    Nick,
    W9454 was ex 142sqdn. This same aircraft was subject of a search i did back in 2001 for the son of Sgt R.S.Wallwork kia with 142sqdn 24/7/41, he was rear gunner on this aircraft when attacked by 2 ME109's, he shot one down but was killed by the second, for this action he was awarded a MID.
    Last edited by AlanW; 26th February 2009 at 07:10.

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