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Thread: RAF Autogyros in France 1940

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    Default RAF Autogyros in France 1940

    Hi guys

    I'm sure there's someone out there with the information I seek!

    The Avro Rota was purchased by the RAF in the late 1930s (12 ordered) and a number of ex-civil machines were also requisitioned.

    My research suggests that five of these were transferred to France in 1939 and were used until the German invasion May 1940. With which unit did they operate? I have information that three were destroyed (u/s) but two were flown back to England. Has anyone the date of the returning machines?

    The French air force also operated a number of these - what happened to them?

    Cheers
    Brian
    Last edited by brian; 15th July 2010 at 20:16.

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    Hello Brian,

    There are two pages devoted to the Avro Rota in Air-Britain's "K File" (Pages 301-302).

    10 were ordered and delivered between August 1934 and May 1935. Two more were built for experimental purposes, plus the C-40 "jump-start" autogyro.

    "Only four survived to the outbreak of war and, supplemented by some impressed Cierva C-30As, were formed into No. 1448 flight (later No. 529 squadron), for radar calibration duties. At the end of the war, these four, and the surviving impressed aircraft were sold for civilian use.

    They were K4230 to 39.

    Those who were still serving at the outbreak of WW2 were :
    K4232, K4233, K4235 - SOC 6 March 1939 but reimpressed, 74 Wing by 31 December 1941.
    K4239 : 26 Sqn on 15 February 1936, 26 MU 13 February 1939, Odiham 10 July 1940, SD flight Christchurch 3 September 1940, 5 RMU 11 September 1940, damaged 8 December 1940, 74 Wing by 31 December 1941.

    I've also read about Rotas being sent in France (in 12 Days in May ?). Civilian impressed machines probably ?

    About the French LeO C-30, there's a full book about them, published by LELA presse. What are you looking for in particuliar ?

    Joss

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    I had a look through Air Britain Impressment logs and only a couple of Autogiros (CIERVA C.30A AUTOGIRO (Rota 1)) were impressed prior to the evacuation of France..

    They were alloczazted to ATF (Autogiro Training Flight) on 1st April 1940..

    G-ACWR V1186
    G-ACWO V1187

    Other Military Autogrios were: CIERVA C.40 AUTOGIRO (Rota

    L7589, L7590, L7591, L7594 and L7595, P9636 and T1419.

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    Cierva Autogiros: the development of rotary-wing flight
    Peter W. Brooks

    "Two or three C.40s (L7589, probably L7590 and possibly T1419) went to France to join the British Expeditionary Force between October and December 1939. Two more were to have followed them after the army authorities asked for further trials. When British forces were driven out of France, one or two of the C.40's were flown back"

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    Hello,

    to follow on Paul's message, five Cierva C-40 Rota II were delivered in January and May 1939 (I failed to spot them this morning, looking for Avro Rota and not Cierva Rota !). From Air-Britain's volumes :
    L7589 : Mkrs/RAE, swung on take-off and overturned, Odiham, 29 April 1940
    L7591 : Mkrs and RAE / Old Sarum / 81 Sqn / Autogiro Training Flight, SOC 5 October 1941
    L7592 : Coastal Command Communication Flight / Autogiro Training Flight SOC 29 June 1943
    L7594 : Coastal Command Communication Flight / Autogiro Training Flight / 74 Wing / 1448 Flight / 529 Squadron, SOC 7 September 1944
    L7595 : Coastal Command Communication Flight / Autogiro Training Flight / 5 Repair and Servicing Section, Dived into ground after jump take-off, Manby 18 January 1941.
    P9635 allocated but not delivered
    P9636 : 74 Wing / 1447 flight (sic) / 529 Squadron, SOC 7 September 1944
    T1419 : Autogiro Training Flight, delivered in December 1939 but no detail in the book.
    T1186 : Autogiro Training Flight / 74 Wing / 1448 Flight / 529 Squadron, crashed in sea off Worthing, Sussex, 24 October 1943
    V1187 : Autogiro Training Flight / 5 Repair and Servicing Section / Special Duties flight / 74 Wing / 1448 Flight / 529 Squadron, sold 9 May 1946 ; to spares.

    Re-reading these entries helped me to remember the bit about No. 81 Squadron, which was a Communication Squadron based in northern France. Its ORB is in AIR 27/677, but April and May 1940 were lost during the retreat. No mention of Rota in the pages I have copied for March 1940.

    Joss

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian View Post
    Hi guys
    I have information that three were destroyed (u/s) but two were flown back to England. Has anyone the date of the returning machines?
    I don't suppose you have any info on the 3 destroyed? The serial numbers don't shown any 'missing'.... However... P9635 was allocated but not delivered.. Peter W. Brooks in Cierva Autogiros: the development of rotary-wing flight (1988) says


    "Two others were initially registered as civil aircraft (G-AFDP and G-AFDR) but were impressed into the services the outbreak of war. The first of these was lost in France in June 1940. An eighth aircraft, which was to have been allocated to the Cierva Company, was probably not completed."

    I wonder if P9635 was allocated??... actually to G-AFDP and this was lost?? Just a theory

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    Have you tried this book?
    http://www.mmpbooks.biz/mmp/books.php?book_id=109
    I don't have it, so don't know if the answer is there.

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    Or this recent one?

    Autogiro - Rotary Wings Before the Helicopter
    by Arthur AWG Ord-Hume

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    Hello Brian,
    A member of our "Studygroup Air War 1939-1945" has six snapshots of French autogyros came upon by the Germans in 1940. Of any interest ? He will mail them to you. Contact huubvansabbenAThomeDOTnl (replace AT and DOT by obvious).
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Default Autogiros

    Thanks for all the gen, guys.

    I will have to acquire the books mentioned, not in my collection.

    I doubt if any autogiro was encountered in the air by the Luftwaffe during this period?

    Cheers
    Brian

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