P-47 Thunderbolt with the RAF

Courtesy: Joe Baugher

The Royal Air Force was supplied with a total of 830 P-47Ds. In RAF service, the “razorback” P-47D was known as the Thunderbolt I and the “bubble canopy” P-47D was known as Thunderbolt II. Thunderbolt Is were delivered in two batches–serials FL731 to FL850 and HB962 to HD181. They were delivered to the RAF from the P-47D-22-RE production blocks. The “bubble-topped” Thunderbolt II fighters were from the P-47D-25/-30-RE and the P-47D-30/-40-RA production blocks, and four main batches were delivered–serials HD182 to HD301, KJ128 to KJ367, KL168 to KL347, and KL838 to KL976. A few aircraft in the last two batches were equipped with the dorsal fin strake.

The RAF Thunderbolts were evaluated in Europe, but most of them were shipped to SEAC, where they fought against the Japanese. The following RAF squadrons — 5, 30, 79, 123, 134, 135 , 146, 258 and 261  Squadrons in 1944, and the 34, 42 (Renumbered from 146), 60, 81 (Renumbered from 123), 113, 131 and 615 Squadrons in 1945. However, many of these late arrivals were not in time to see any action and some like 615 were short lived.

Following V-J Day, most of the Thunderbolts rapidly disappeared from RAF squadrons, which were either disbanded or were reequipped with British-built aircraft. The last RAF squadron (No 60) disposed of their Thunderbolts in October of 1946.

Thunderbolt Serials

919 Records (Last 89 Not delivered – Total on Charge – 830)
FL Series : 120
HB Series : 38
HD Series : 202
KJ Series : 240
KL Series : 319
(KL888-KL976 not delivered)

Thunderbolt Units 

Thunderbolt losses in SEAC

Thunderbolt  Losses 257


Some Photographs




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