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Thread: Spifire Mk 22 Empennage

  1. #1
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    Spifire Mk 22 Empennage

    Hi All .. about 30 odd years ago, being an avid reader of the Flypast magazine, one particular issue in the news pages told of how a Mk 22 was returned to England from Zimbabwe...

    ...the fuselage had duly arrived ... sans empennage, which at the time was an awful disappointment to the purchaser, and not without a degree of skullduggery attached to the possible whereabouts of this most important item....

    ...Did this issue ever get resolved ?..and which one was this particular machine ?.....



    .... please excuse me for trying to catch up with all these things years later.... when life was a far simpler place ...Cheers from Phil
    Last edited by detective; 15th December 2015 at 11:00.

  2. #2
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    Not a Mk.22 but a Mk.XVIII, and not from Zimbabwe but from India.

    TP367 is the one, stored in Northern France sans tail feathers...

    See here --> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...rine_Spitfires
    Last edited by jbs; 15th December 2015 at 11:15. Reason: more info added
    John

    I Wandered Lonely As A Clown...

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    Thanks for the clarification jbs .. I'm very rusty on all this stuff LOL !

    ...going through the various forum discussions via google in the last 30 minutes, it is noted with not a small degree of dismay, that the tail group was sighted in an Antipodean Spitfire workshop....which to me reads Australia..??

    ...A genuine question....Is the sub Continent also considered to be Antipodean ?..... the picture of the shabby, incomplete empennage in a roller shuttered workshop just doesn't look to be in Australia ??
    Last edited by detective; 15th December 2015 at 11:41.

  4. #4
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    Back in 1991 Canadian Pilot and friend Jeet Mahal asked how much I would charge him to dismantle and containerise a Spitfire he had just purchased at Kharagpore.

    I said if he funded everything including trips for me to see the Indian Air Force Museum, the Chandigargh Spitfire and the Taj Mahal, I would do it for that.

    He thought this was a extremely good deal for him...and it suited me fine as I already had this potential trip planned on the horizon.

    To get the fuselage plus engine in to the container the tail group has to be removed. All new 2BA at Duxford, no big deal. To remove in India with corroded bolts and 'coned' nuts ..not so easy. Many had to be carefully drilled to split the nut but not damage the the aluminium structure. I was well in to the second day with a shaky extension wiring power supply and the odd snake before it was safely parted.

    Then in India it appears you could not just order up a 40ft container. Export licences and multiple 'bumph' had to be in place. This was Jeet's responsibility and indeed it was to be many, many, months before the aircraft departed for the UK. When I departed, after a week, everything was prepared, slings etc, to get it in to the container and the vulnerable tail unit was put in to storage in the university with instructions with one of the professors.

    When the Spitfire finally arrived in the UK the tail unit was missing. All enquiries back to India just drew a blank. It had to be reasonably assumed that it had been stolen or spirited away for its aluminium scrap value.

    The lack of a tail unit reduced the Spitfire's value by about 50% and Jeet Mahal took a massive hit on it, selling it on to a French concern.

    Then on a trip to Australia/NZ three years ago, while stopping with a friend, he advised me he had seen the tail unit in a Spitfire workshop.

    This was extremely disappointing as clearly to be there implied it had been misappropriated.

    I used the word Antipodean very carefully in the 'boo'. They know who they are and shame on them.

    Mark



    Last edited by Mark12; 15th December 2015 at 16:11.
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  5. #5
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    Thanks Mark,
    I always like these background snippets.
    Cees

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    Thank you Mark12 for clearing things up and explaining what transpired all those years ago....looks as though the bushrangers are still alive and well in Australia !!

    ....I also commend you on your years of Spitfire study and perseverence....What a fabulous lifelong hobby !

  7. #7
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    Spitfire workshops here are very few and far between.Hope things will be righted and it returned.
    "If the C.O. ask's you to be Tail End Charlie...just shoot him!!!....A Piece of Cake.
    http://spitfirea58-27.blogspot.com.au/

  8. #8
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    Thanks for sharing the story, although the ending makes me incredibly sad.
    "those who know keep quiet, and those who don't are frowned upon for asking." - snafu

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    Hi All .. I hope I'm not stirring the pot too much, but could SpitfireSpares (or their supplier) explain how they may have (inadvertantly) come by the tail fillet fairing for this a/c ?

    .....It's advertised on their website as coming from TP 367 (HS 669), along with a mod plate for the Mk XV111.
    Last edited by detective; 27th December 2015 at 00:21.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    Thanks for the clarification jbs .. I'm very rusty on all this stuff LOL !

    ...going through the various forum discussions via google in the last 30 minutes, it is noted with not a small degree of dismay, that the tail group was sighted in an Antipodean Spitfire workshop....which to me reads Australia..??

    ...A genuine question....Is the sub Continent also considered to be Antipodean ?..... the picture of the shabby, incomplete empennage in a roller shuttered workshop just doesn't look to be in Australia ??
    'Antipodean' normally also includes NZ in the area of possibilities. A few Spitfires have been restored here.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    .... the picture of the shabby, incomplete empennage in a roller shuttered workshop just doesn't look to be in Australia ??
    It is not Australia or New Zealand. It was the 'secure' workshop at Kharagpore where the tail group was entrusted for safe keeping.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    Hi All .. I hope I'm not stirring the pot too much, but could Spitfire Spares (or their supplier) explain how they may have (inadvertently) come by the tail fillet fairing for this a/c ?

    .....It's advertised on their website as coming from TP 367 (HS 669), along with a mod plate for the Mk XV111.
    Kharagpore May 1991
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark12 View Post
    Kharagpore May 1991
    When I read this bit about the Antipodean Spitfire FAcility in Vikram Singh's book, I couldnt understand what happened .. now i get it!.

    So did the college professor or someone resell the section again?

    And for those who are not aware.. the fine aircraft on the cover of "Spitfires in the Sun" is the said HS669 that is now languishing sans the tail..

  14. #14
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    ...What has me utterly perplexed, is/was the need for a Mk X1V / XV111 tail group for any Australian restoration...this style of empennage just simply could not suit anything under restoration in Australia ?

    .... There is but one Mk X1V, and apparently the vestigial remains of the smashed Mk XV111 recovered from Nth America only recently to focus all eyes on ... just a bit obvious I would've thought !
    Last edited by detective; 28th December 2015 at 11:56.

  15. #15
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    Was a ransom demand ever received?
    Why be your own worse critic, that's what the forum is for.

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    Nice to see the remains of the sky fuselage band and the dark green underneath the fillet. Was the whole of the fuselage sprayed before the fillet was fitted?
    Cees

  17. #17
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    Presumably the fuselage was painted as a subassembly before the tail (and fillet) was fitted.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagan View Post
    When I read this bit about the Antipodean Spitfire FAcility in Vikram Singh's book, I couldnt understand what happened .. now i get it!.

    So did the college professor or someone resell the section again?

    And for those who are not aware.. the fine aircraft on the cover of "Spitfires in the Sun" is the said HS669 that is now languishing sans the tail..
    Hello Jagan,

    I do not know precisely the events from May 1991 of how an item locked away in a far off city, 100+ km west of Calcutta and hardly on the beaten track, comes to be in an Antipodean Spitfire facility, arriving at an unknown date...but I have my suspicions.

    Just asking around brings four further separate 'missing' significant Spitfire items in to sharp focus.

    Yes, here is the tail group and and the fillet panel in better days.

    Mark

    Last edited by Mark12; 28th December 2015 at 16:12.
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark12 View Post
    Hello Jagan,

    I do not know precisely the events from May 1991 of how an item locked away in a far off city, 100+ km west of Calcutta and hardly on the beaten track, comes to be in an Antipodean Spitfire facility, arriving at an unknown date...but I have my suspicions.
    Thanks Mark.

    What is the possibility that the tail was not pilfered in Kharagpur, but after its arrival in the UK at the port? I mean, whoever did the supervision of loading it at KGP who would have confirmed if the tail was sent or not?


    on a related topic, what is the background of Jeet Mahal. he sounds (Canadian/)Indian.. he was also involved in the XI at the USAF Museum right? what went wrong with that acquisition? Where is he nowadays?

    I see the photo of the tail lying in KGP workshop and cant help thinking that the indian securing style of running a thick iron chain trhough all the holes in the empennage and then the window bars and grilles would have helped
    Last edited by Jagan; 28th December 2015 at 18:31.

  20. #20
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    Does anyone have the details of who in France now has the fuselage? I have some parts that may be of use to them (no, not a tail section!)

  21. #21
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    .....I have a theory .. Might've Gary Cooper been riding around on his elephant in the back blocks of Kharagpore, and spotted this lovely piece for his Mk XIV in the University shed ? LOL !!!
    Last edited by detective; 29th December 2015 at 04:27.

  22. #22
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    Interesting theory Detective, he would have needed a wide load escort))) Mark I am curious as to the other 'missing items' you mention, there are no real spitfire shops here IMO except perhaps Avspecs, certainly none like the UK shops, Pays look after their own machines, can you elaborate on what identified parts?? On a different note HS669 looks awesome in that Indian scheme, would love to see a spit on the display circuit in those colours!!!Pete

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    Is that the same shop where about five Spits were being rebuild simultaneously? I remember seing a pic of a Merlin type tailsection in a jig.
    Cees

  24. #24
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    Hhhmm Mark,

    An interesting and sad storey but possibly reflective of the time.

    I seem to recall at that time a storey that an enterprising Russian entrepreneur sold various substantial remains of a single crashed ex Russian Air Force Hurricane to multiple western purchasers who intern all thought they had the right to claim providence of the original aircraft.

    As I said an interesting time.

    Perhaps one of our enterprising Indian friends thought along similar lines.
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    Is that the same shop where about five Spits were being rebuild simultaneously? I remember seing a pic of a Merlin type tailsection in a jig.
    Cees
    Wangarrata?
    "If the C.O. ask's you to be Tail End Charlie...just shoot him!!!....A Piece of Cake.
    http://spitfirea58-27.blogspot.com.au/

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    Don't know, but is that still an ongoing project?
    Cees

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    ...I hope I'm not being too naive (or at least overly optimistic)..... What are the chances an unscrupulous so-and-so on sells something knowingly not theirs to a totally innocent third party ?. The third party eventually becomes aware of these misdeeds, but the money is gone, the "new" owner now has a moral issue, the head is buried in the sand, and from here it's a game of cat and mouse ( possibly with a fair sprinkling of tact and diplomacy) to right the wrongs. This must have surely happened in the past, and is bound to occur in the future....

    ....What a mess if that's in fact the case here....Caveat Emptor !!
    Last edited by detective; 30th December 2015 at 08:41.

  28. #28
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    It has been very quiet the past few years regarding imports from the east. Has the source dried out?
    I was always under the impression that first they would sell the wrecks and then the better stuff.
    Heard some rumours over the years about impressive stocks but nothing was ever confirmed. No not
    talking about the Stirling
    Cees

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    ...I hope I'm not being too naive (or at least overly optimistic)..... What are the chances an unscrupulous so-and-so on sells something knowingly not theirs to a totally innocent third party ?. The third party eventually becomes aware of these misdeeds, but the money is gone, the "new" owner now has a moral issue, the head is buried in the sand, and from here it's a game of cat and mouse ( possibly with a fair sprinkling of tact and diplomacy) to right the wrongs. This must have surely happened in the past, and is bound to occur in the future....
    This happens all the time in the world of militaria collecting - especially medals, uniforms etc.

    The standard there : if you buy something from a seller and it turns out to be stolen (i.e the original owner can prove it was stolen through a police report etc).. then the new owner will turn it over to the police/old owner no matter what! There is no moral dilemma.. One of the reasons that the collectors and many sellers (auction houses) ensure they stand by with what they sell. An auction house will refund the new owner their money if it turns out to be stolen.

    (I am not saying this applies to warbird collecting.. but not a bad standard to emulate)

  30. #30
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    Whether the current custodians of the HS669 empennage are the original misappropriators, as I suspect, or not, it would be abundantly clear to a Spitfire workshop that this unit had in recent times been attached to a fuselage, vis-à-vis the fresh/clean paint witness marks at the Frame 19 separation point.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

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