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Thread: RAF Hednesford - Wellington and Spitfires

  1. #1
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    RAF Hednesford - Wellington and Spitfires

    Here is a shot cropped from a recruitment parade at RAF Hednesford in 1950.

    The Wellington is possibly a left over form No 6 School of Technical Training that disbanded in 1948. It was gone by 1952. Any takers for an RAF or instructional serial?

    Look in just about any reference on surviving Spitfires and both BM597 and AR614 are the reported pair that moved on from Hednesford to Bridgenorth circa 1955.

    BM597 - no problems with that.

    AR614 - not a shred of evidence that I can find. Anybody care to challenge that?

    Mark


  2. #2
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    Three shots to add to yours Peter, Two of BM597 (one with Meatbox) and one of another as yet unknown Spitifre, but all taken between 1950 and 1955.
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    Ian

    MAKING A LIVING IN PHOTOGRAPHY BUT ONLY ON MY WIFE'S TALENTS

  3. #3
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    ...and the unknown one is EP120 and that seems to have slipped through the history books.

    EP120 - RAF Hednesford to RAF Wilmslow March 1955

    AR614 - RAF West Kirby to RAF Bridgenorth direct 1958.

    To be fair, in the 1950's the RAF had four, possibly five, all silver totally unmarked, save for roundels, MK V Spitfire shuttling between Hednesford, Credenhill/Hereford, Bridgenorth, Wilmslow and possibly Padgate. The identities of these machines was only slowly revealed through the late 1960's to 1980's as each was totally stripped and inspected during restoration to flying or museum static.

    Mark

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    Could the Wellington be the Hendon T.10 or were there still dozens in service then?

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    And this must be ...

    AR614?
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-ORDY
    AR614?
    Er Nope.

    This is BL614 (at one time thought to be 'AB871') taken at RAF Bridgenorth by Alan Pickston in 1948 (possibly 1949).

    From there to Hereford, if not somewhere in between, but at what date, is still to be determined.

    Note three branch exhausts with fish tails, Dowty broad root prop., external armour windscreen and as an ID bonus, no gear doors.

    Confusing. Isn't it?


    Mark

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    I don't know if you've found this interesting but rather confusing site:

    http://www.rafhednesford.com

    Some of the points it makes about the three Spitfires:

    "There were two Mk V Spitfires at RAF Hednesford spanning 1952 to 1955:
    The known RAF serials, not displayed on the aircraft, being EP120 and BM597.

    "EP120 was located adjacent to 1 Wing until 1955. (in front of which most of the photographs of Recruits were taken). Thence it was transfered to the gate at RAF Wilmslow".

    "BM597 was initially located in the 2 Wing lines adjacent to hut 121 but latterly removed to the main gate to share the "guarding" duties with a Meteor jet. With the closing of RAF Hednesford this Spitfire was transferred to RAF Bridgnorth".

    "AR614 This was the one adjacent to 1 Wing and in front of which most of the photographs of recruits were taken. In July 1945 it was grounded at 4 School of Technical Training at St Athan as an instructional airframe with the serial 5378M. Gate guardian duties followed at Padgate, RAF West Kirby, RAF Hednesford and RAF Bridgenorth with further Maintenance serial allocations '371M', 6371M, 31:30D & 7555M until finally put up for tender by the MoD in 1963 at RAF Dishforth".

    "BM597 Relegated to display duties it paired with AR614 at RAF Hednesford where she was gate guardian from 1952-54, then to RAF Bridgenorth before transfer to RAF Church Fenton".


    There's also a recent photograph of BM597 at Duxford, oddly captioned as "only having had a single cockpit at Hednesford". http://www.rafhednesford.com/gallery...age=HED144.jpg

    All a bit strange, but maybe of assistance!

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    Hednesford website.

    Webpilot,

    I think you will find that Pat Honey will change this website within the next couple of days to reflect the current thinking.

    Start the clock.

    You have caught it part way through a transition. There was no EP120 a week back. There will be no AR614 in a day or so other than a reference to the perpetuated error.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark12; 22nd February 2006 at 15:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark12
    Webpilot,

    I think you will find that Pat Honey will change this website within the next couple of days to reflect the current thinking.

    Mark

    That'd be good. It's an interesting site - I might have to aim my Father at it as he passed through the gates of Hednesford at the beginning of his RAF career.

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    Just to help visualise their movements

    This map may help
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    Another shot, this maybe 597, though from the quality of the photograph I am unable to be certain, it looks like the aircraft has 6 exhaust stacks rather than the 12 of 120.
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    Ian

    MAKING A LIVING IN PHOTOGRAPHY BUT ONLY ON MY WIFE'S TALENTS

  12. #12
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    RAF Hednesford

    Quote Originally Posted by EN830
    Another shot, this maybe 597, though from the quality of the photograph I am unable to be certain, it looks like the aircraft has 6 exhaust stacks rather than the 12 of 120.
    Ian,

    This is BM597 circa 1952. It was initially located in the 2 Wing Lines adjacent to Hut 121 but latterly moved to the main gate to share the ‘guarding’ duties with a Meteor.

    Mark

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    I must admit it looks more like a Stalag POW camp than an RAF Camp, I suppose that was National Service for you.
    Ian

    MAKING A LIVING IN PHOTOGRAPHY BUT ONLY ON MY WIFE'S TALENTS

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    1958 - Instructions for Sgt. J. Shutte and party.

    "Dismantle the Spitfire at RAF West Kirby and transport it to RAF Bridgenorth...go directly to RAF Bridgenorth ...do not pass RAF Hednesford...do not collect £200...re-erect".

    At the time of the transfer the aircraft was clearly painted as 871M, reported later in the 1970's as '371M'. Clearly not a Fairey Gordon I. Both 5378M & 7555M appear to have been allocated to this airframe.

    Mark

    Last edited by Mark12; 25th February 2006 at 14:05.

  15. #15
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    Mark, looking at the various shots that I have of "BM597" at Hednesford and Bridgenorth, I note that the prop spinner was painted in a dark colour at Hednesford, however at Bridgenorth it's yellow. It's quite possible that it was repainted or swapped at Bridgenorth as the the back plate to the spinner is black in the photos by D M Hannah. Could it be that the two have been confused as I note that AR614 has a light coloured prop hub in this shot, though it doesn't appear to be painted silver.
    Ian

    MAKING A LIVING IN PHOTOGRAPHY BUT ONLY ON MY WIFE'S TALENTS

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EN830
    Mark, looking at the various shots that I have of "BM597" at Hednesford and Bridgenorth, I note that the prop spinner was painted in a dark colour at Hednesford, however at Bridgenorth it's yellow. It's quite possible that it was repainted or swapped at Bridgenorth as the the back plate to the spinner is black in the photos by D M Hannah. Could it be that the two have been confused as I note that AR614 has a light coloured prop hub in this shot, though it doesn't appear to be painted silver.
    Ian,

    A close study of all the available B/W shots of AR614 at West Kirby, the transport shots and re-erection shot at Bridgenorth show, tonally, that the spinner and back plate were silver, as the main structure. The aircraft was fitted with a DH prop and complimenting DH spinner/backplate that was not removed for transportation. Subsequent shots at Bridgenorth circa 1961 show the spinner but not the back plate was repainted, and confirmed by colour photos, as Red.

    B/W shots of BM597 at Hednesford, fitted with a Dowty Rotol broad root prop and complimenting Dowty Rotol spinner, both at Hut 121 and by the gate, show a tonally darker spinner and back plate, most probably Red. Latterly at Bridgenorth the spinner was repainted a tonally lighter colour confirmed in colour shots as yellow, whilst the back plate was painted black.

    Logical and therefore no change of propellers and spinners in my view. The spinners would not interchange by the way.

    Mark

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