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Thread: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

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    Default Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    Gents
    Were record cards kept for ground instructional airframes - M series - or were changes annotated on original donor aircraft cards? Otherwise where to find out a history of particular M aircraft?
    Thanks in advance
    Franek
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    Hi Franek
    From my experience it was simply an entry on Form 78 for the standard RAF serial something like "21SoTT became 1234M". However I have never asked if there was a separate record series.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    Franek,

    Bruce Robertson, in the final edition of his compilation, British Military Aircraft Serials 1878-1987, provided a listing of Instructional Airframe Numbers (510M - K3172 to 8932M - XR718. Robertson's version of events, is as follows:

    Appendix C - Instructional Airframe Numbers - RAF Airframes.

    In 1921 airframes and engines used for instructional purposes on the ground were re-numbered into a simple numerical series for each, with 'M' and 'E' suffix letters respectively to denote the series. The records for the early allocations have not been traced, and little photographic record exists. It is known that a Sopwith Snipe was 16?M and Bristol Fighters were 213M and 540M.
    Of all the allocations the M-suffixed series are the most inconsistent, since in many cases they were re-numbered on being transferred to new locations. In not a few cases the numbers allotted were duplicated and in others the allocation was cancelled and the aircraft restored to airworthy status with its original serial number. Also some 'M' numbers were allotted to airframes disposed of as scrap before the new number was marked, but in general the 'M' number replaced the original serial. Where the 'M' number was cancelled this has been indicated by an asterisk.
    Given below are the known allocations of 'M' numbers with the serial number of the aircraft to which it was allocated and in most cases applied, or civil registrations , British Gliding Association (BGA) or USAAF number as appropriate.

    Listing follows.

    Robertson continues:

    Astute readers may notice that this listing is in some cases at variance with other published material on 'M' serials, but is based on many years patient and careful research, and deliberately avoids the inclusion of 'speculative' entries which would give credence with publication, and over the years become 'fact'. In particular, other sources record 'M' serials where the aircraft was known to be flying many years after the M number would have been allocated in sequence.The official records are now less complete than when the author first examined them in the Air Ministry archives before they passed to the AHB, and can be shown to contain an alarming number of clerical errors. Thus our cautious attitude, which we commend to readers on this subject.

    See:
    British Military Aircraft Serials 1878-1987.
    Robertson,Bruce (Compiler).
    Earl Shilton:Midland Counties Publications,1987.
    pp.230-246.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 31st January 2023 at 07:31.

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    Default Re: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    Thanks, Gents!
    So it looks that the record keeping was not at its best with M series, and worse some paperwork was reduced to ashes.
    Still, is there anything like F.78 for M series or otherwise how to verify service and ultimate fate of those aircraft? Or is it the way, nobody bothered, and the aircraft were disposed not noticing AM?
    Franek
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    No record cards to my knowledge but there was a register in AHB's domain, last known to me in the 1980s (when I had a contact who worked there) but they probably still have it. Usually it gave more information than that found on the F78s.

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    Default Re: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    Hello Chris
    Thanks!
    The question arose in a discussion about aircraft reduced to M status at one place, but then reappearing at another in quite a distance. It is unclear if the aircraft was transported to a new place or broken up and only some parts and assemblies did. There is no record in relevant ORBs.
    Would the register solve that mystery?
    Best wishes
    Franek
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    Quote Originally Posted by COL BRUGGY View Post
    Franek,

    Bruce Robertson, in the final edition of his compilation, British Military Aircraft Serials 1878-1987, provided a listing of Instructional Airframe Numbers (510M - K3172 to 8932M - XR718. Robertson's version of events, is as follows:

    Appendix C - Instructional Airframe Numbers - RAF Airframes.

    In 1921 airframes and engines used for instructional purposes on the ground were re-numbered into a simple numerical series for each, with 'M' and 'E' suffix letters respectively to denote the series. The records for the early allocations have not been traced, and little photographic record exists. It is known that a Sopwith Snipe was 16?M and Bristol Fighters were 213M and 540M.
    Of all the allocations the M-suffixed series are the most inconsistent, since in many cases they were re-numbered on being transferred to new locations. In not a few cases the numbers allotted were duplicated and in others the allocation was cancelled and the aircraft restored to airworthy status with its original serial number. Also some 'M' numbers were allotted to airframes disposed of as scrap before the new number was marked, but in general the 'M' number replaced the original serial. Where the 'M' number was cancelled this has been indicated by an asterisk.
    Given below are the known allocations of 'M' numbers with the serial number of the aircraft to which it was allocated and in most cases applied, or civil registrations , British Gliding Association (BGA) or USAAF number as appropriate.

    Listing follows.

    Robertson continues:

    Astute readers may notice that this listing is in some cases at variance with other published material on 'M' serials, but is based on many years patient and careful research, and deliberately avoids the inclusion of 'speculative' entries which would give credence with publication, and over the years become 'fact'. In particular, other sources record 'M' serials where the aircraft was known to be flying many years after the M number would have been allocated in sequence.The official records are now less complete than when the author first examined them in the Air Ministry archives before they passed to the AHB, and can be shown to contain an alarming number of clerical errors. Thus our cautious attitude, which we commend to readers on this subject.

    See:
    British Military Aircraft Serials 1878-1987.
    Robertson,Bruce (Compiler).
    Earl Shilton:Midland Counties Publications,1987.
    pp.230-246.

    Col.
    Hello Col,
    Thanks for the reminder of Bruce's British Military Aircraft serials 1878 - 1987.
    I eventually found one on a shelf, Midlands Counties Publications, ISBN O-904597-61-X, cost 10.95.
    So was this the revised or original ?
    I have since added to it with 8933M up to 9344M.
    Thanks
    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 4th November 2023 at 20:20.

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    Default Re: Ground instructional airframes - record cards?

    In a variation on the theme, the AM Form 59 for Fortress I AN526 has the RAF serial lightly struck out and the instructional airframe serial 4449M added in the top right corner.

    The word Instructional has been added at the top of the form while there is a final dated entry for its allocation to 4 SofTT, St Athan, at the bottom. There is no subsequent SOC date.

    The text Instructional purposes has been added under the St Athan entry while above the first entry - its original arrival at the Burtonwood Repair Depot - appears the instruction Aircraft to be maintained serviceable in the same handwriting.

    Robert

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    Alex Smart (5th November 2023)

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