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Thread: 43 Squadron 'Fighting Cocks'

  1. #1
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    43 Squadron 'Fighting Cocks'

    An oddity this one folks........I'm looking for info of 43 Squadron RAF known as the Fighting Cocks, the Squadron once flew Gamecocks and it is thought that its crest derived from this bird.

    I seem to recall that there was once a crest on the nose (nose art) of Hunters depicting a cockerel wearing boxing gloves when I was at El Adem in 1965 'ish when this Squadron was on exercise or transitting the place.

    Doing a Google brings up a couple of topics together with one almost indecipherable c0ckerel wearing said boxing gloves on a Hurricane. I'm sure some of you modellers or other aviation historians will come up trumps with something

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    Hi there John.
    You are right about the crests origins being the Glouster Gamecock.
    I have modelled two of 43's Hurricanes, Pete Townsends, and Frank Careys.
    They were depicted as flown from RAF Wick in northern Scotland.
    I have also modelled a Mk1 Hunter in 43 Sqdn markings, but it isnt a particular aircraft.
    They are all RC.
    Ive not seen the modified crest wearing the boxing gloves before, and Im interested in this as well.
    Looking forward to a spate of 43 Sqdn info flowing forth.....

    Barry
    Last edited by miniman; 16th November 2007 at 12:00.

  3. #3
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    Hi John,
    Not many of those pics around. This one is from the squadron history by J Beedle. Back in the 50/60s they were common in model mags. Scottish newspaper, 'Sunday Post' did a series on the squadron in the 50s. I remember they did have at least one pic.
    A magazine of the 60/70s called 'Planes' had a side view profile in issue no1: someone may have one. The squadron also had the real thing: 'Fighting Cocks', until c 1960s these were supplied by a bird breeder at Broomhill near RAF Acklington, Northumberland. Fighting Cocks did some of the flying for the film 'High Flight' but I don't think those depicted carried the emblem.
    Pic is dated as being 1959. If I remember rightly, from modelling days, tail feathers were Red White And Blue.

    Best Wishes.
    Robert.
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    Barry and Robert

    That is fantastic, I have enlarged this to 400% and that definitely is the Charlie! I have written to The Adjutant at 43 Squadron Leuchars to see if they have anything on it in their Squadron Histories.

    It is surprising what you can recall from 44 years ago but perhaps not from yesterday. I was stuck down the intake (port side) of a Hunter of 43 doing an igniter plug change, you know how thin I was to be able to do that once the aerial dubree (??) was removed!



    A whole group of us were discussing this on Sunday at Duxford, this then came up regarding 43 Squadron as it was one of their kites regarding the Gamec0ck and The Fighting C0cks and the Boxing Gloves, no one had seen this logo before or couldn't remember it.

    Often these detachments resulted in a bit of unofficial nose art and the way it is depicted on the photo seems exactly right to the one brain cell I have left, and I'm trying to nurture that with loving care.

    If anyone else can shed some light on this I would be very grateful, thank you in advance

  5. #5
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    Hi Again John,
    Found this one, forgot I had it: 'Profile Publication Number 167'. A two seater but it looks better.

    Best Wishes.
    Robert.
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    Thanks Robert

    It is getting better

    Must start trawling through some more of my old photos

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    pb::

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    John,

    Back in 1971, I toured RAF Halton and was very luck to find many Hunters there still with their 1950s squadron colours on them. This included this Hunter F.4, XF302, of 43 Squadron, complete with "Fighting Cocks" insignia which I duly photographed.





    In 1956, 43 Squadron formed a four-ship Hunter aerobatic team called "The Fighting Cocks" when based at Leuchars, which were led by Sqn.Ldr.Roger Topp, who later went on to lead the "Black Arrows". These were Hunter F.1s and they continued the team when they re-equipped with Hunter F.4s. 43 Squadron carried this nose marking on their Hunters right up to the early '60s
    when they requipped with F.6s and FGA.9s.
    Last edited by ALBERT ROSS; 17th November 2007 at 23:12.
    Adrian

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    Adrian/Albert

    If one person on this forum would have a pukka pic of said c0ck it would be you thank you very much, I'm still nurturing the one cell.

    I wonder if anyone ever did a topic on RAF Nose Art?

  10. #10
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    Interesting.

    From Alex Crawford's recent book on the Nimrod & Fury:



    (Details: http://mmpbooks.biz/books/o1805/o8105p.htm )

    Alex also refers to a book which may be of interest, in his bibliography:

    43 (F) Squadron ‘The Fighting Cocks’ by J Beedle, Beaumont Aviation Literature,
    1985, ISBN 0 902230 04 2

    John, drop me a PM, and Alex posts here regularly too; he might be able to help.
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  11. #11
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    43 Squadron Hunters

    A very good evening to all.

    I would like to share this photo with all the guys who have a keen interest in 43 Squadron. The aircraft is Hunter F-6A, XF515 and is based with Hunter Flying Ltd at Exeter airport. This aircraft served with 43 Squadron in the late 1950s and is maintained in airworthy condition.

    Freebird
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    Freebird

    Thanks for sharing, interesting to see a flying ex 43 Sqn kite in the livery that I recall, any idea why/how the nose art came to be on this example. There must be someone currently attached to this aircraft that recalls the 'boxing gloves' logo.

    I also recall way way back seeing two fighting c0cks squaring up to each other or is that my imagination running wild? It is surprising what you guys dig up, again many thanks.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Cooper View Post
    An oddity this one folks........I'm looking for info of 43 Squadron RAF known as the Fighting Cocks, the Squadron once flew Gamecocks and it is thought that its crest derived from this bird.

    I seem to recall that there was once a crest on the nose (nose art) of Hunters depicting a cockerel wearing boxing gloves when I was at El Adem in 1965 'ish when this Squadron was on exercise or transitting the place.

    Doing a Google brings up a couple of topics together with one almost indecipherable c0ckerel wearing said boxing gloves on a Hurricane. I'm sure some of you modellers or other aviation historians will come up trumps with something
    When serving at Nicosia Cyprus 60-62 on TASF (Transit Aircraft Servicing Flight) my main memory of 43 Squadron was the Christmas morning battle flight which we as a full time operator prepared for flight. The Hunter took off at dawn and 'bombed' the Army at Larnaca with toilet rolls tucked under the flaps. The local English language paper described them in an article as the 'Fighting Socks' which ever since is how I remember them. I am sure they had the cockerel with boxing gloves on the beak, sorry nose.

  14. #14
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    43 Squadron

    John,

    Your interest in 43 prompted me to join the forum.

    After graduating from Halton as an Airframe Fitter I joined 43 in August 1959 and left them in October 1963 giving me time at Leuchars, Nicosia, Khormaksar and various other odd places in between.

    If your still interested I have some photographs of my days with the squadron. Unfortunately most seem to show us ground crew types in various states of alchoholic disrepair but I do have a couple of aeroplanes.

    Let me know and if I can figured out the attachment procedure I will let you have what Ive got. Sadly they are in black and white being the state of the art technology at the time.

    Regards
    Bee Gee

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    43 Squadron

    "In 1956, 43 Squadron formed a four-ship aerobatic team called "The Fighting Cocks" when based at Leuchars, which were led by Sqn Ldr Roger Topp, who later went on the lead the "Black Arrows"

    This is news to me as I allways thought that the 43 Squadron Hunter team was formed in March 1955 by the CO, Sqn Ldr Roy le Long. He was replaced the following August by Flt Lt Peter Bairsto, who continued to lead the Hunter team until September 1957.

    Roger Topp was on the staff of the RAE at Farnborough and joined 111 Squadron in January 1955. He later formed and led the squadron Hunter team until replaced by Sqn Ldr Peter Latham in October 1958.

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    wasnt the first female fighter pilot posted to 43 for her first tour?

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    Apropos very little,

    1. Remember in those days the saying was take Courage, you're entering the Strong country.

    2. Things move on. http://www.wellsandyoungs.co.uk/well...gs-and-courage

    3. Someone mentioned Frank (Chota) Carey? http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...2/streak44.jpg

    = Tim

  18. #18
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    Errrm.....some bloke seems to have written a 43 Squadron History.

    Here:

    http://www.ospreypublishing.com/stor...bookcode=s4396

    Hopefully won't fall foul of the Mods for advertising? If so, I accept my slapped wrist. However, in mitigation I am not in receipt of Royalties and have no commercial interest in Osprey.....and....somebody was asking!

  19. #19
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    This .455 Eley, Smith & Wesson I own was issued to 43 Squadron RFC in 1916 and is so marked.


  20. #20
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    Very nice piece, Malcolm.

    Is it just marked 43 Squadron....or named to a specific individual?

    Will quite understand if you do not wish to divulge details or identity.

    Andy Saunders

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    Quote Originally Posted by northeagle View Post
    Hi John,
    Fighting Cocks did some of the flying for the film 'High Flight'
    Robert.
    This included shots at the 1956 SBAC show which included yours truly on one of them, as part of the crowd. (My one claim to fame!)
    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by freebird View Post
    A very good evening to all.

    I would like to share this photo with all the guys who have a keen interest in 43 Squadron. The aircraft is Hunter F-6A, XF515 and is based with Hunter Flying Ltd at Exeter airport. This aircraft served with 43 Squadron in the late 1950s and is maintained in airworthy condition.

    Freebird
    This aircraft was one of the non-111 Sqn a/c which took part in the 22 Hunter loop,
    Jim

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
    Very nice piece, Malcolm.

    Is it just marked 43 Squadron....or named to a specific individual?

    Will quite understand if you do not wish to divulge details or identity.

    Andy Saunders
    Here you are Andy -

    Last edited by Malcolm McKay; 19th January 2010 at 10:45.

  24. #24
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    Really very nice, and interesting to see. Intriguing to see how they are marked.

    Just out of curiosity - and forgive me for asking - but presumably you are certain that 43 refers to 43 Squadron? I have no idea about these things, nor how individual weapons were marked. Was it normal practice (ie to identify by Squadron/Unit) and a practice that is well recorded, or is it a case that you have come to this conclusion by a process of elimination - or maybe there is other provenance that ties it in? I am not in any way doubting you, and I know very well your meticulous approach to these things. However, just curious to know more since this is the very first time I have ever seen such a stamp. But then, not being into weaponry the way you are there is no reason why I should have!

    Thank you for sharing, Malcolm,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
    Really very nice, and interesting to see. Intriguing to see how they are marked.

    Just out of curiosity - and forgive me for asking - but presumably you are certain that 43 refers to 43 Squadron? I have no idea about these things, nor how individual weapons were marked. Was it normal practice (ie to identify by Squadron/Unit) and a practice that is well recorded, or is it a case that you have come to this conclusion by a process of elimination - or maybe there is other provenance that ties it in? I am not in any way doubting you, and I know very well your meticulous approach to these things. However, just curious to know more since this is the very first time I have ever seen such a stamp. But then, not being into weaponry the way you are there is no reason why I should have!

    Thank you for sharing, Malcolm,
    That was the way they were marked - just the way they did it then.

    The marks translate from the top -

    8.16 = August 1916 which is the month of issue.

    43.RFC = 43 Squadron RFC

    147 = is the pistol's individual number, what one calls a rack number.

    43 Squadron was still flying One and a Half Strutters at the time this pistol was issued. From the various memoirs one reads about the use of pistols by aircrew in WW1 their principal use was by pilots potting at rabbits on their off days. Pretty much impossible to hit anything in the air with one, also the trajectory of a .455 slug tended to be a bit like a brick. This revolver is, I suspect, a kit bag special as while it has all the standard service marks it doesn't have the -><- marking it out of service which is normally found on service weapons disposed of to the civilain market, so someone purloined it. Also it has seen very very little use. I suspect many of its companions wound up rusting away in the mud of the Western Front after their owners had been shot down. There are quite a few out here because they are popular collectors items - and there are lots of variations on the unit marks. They weren't as rugged as the Webley Mk VIs and tended to be easily jammed up because of mud etc.

  26. #26
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    Interesting stuff, Malcolm, and thanks for taking the time to reply.

  27. #27
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    Only just noticed this resurrected thread, but thought anyone still interested might like to see the 'nose art' carried on a pair of Ex-43 Sqdn Hunters that passed through Changi, Singapore on their way to 28 Sqdn Kai Tak. This was July 1962.


    'The Fighting ****' on the nose of Hunter XG272.



    The re-fuelling crew try and work out where to put the AvTur on Hunter XG293 on it's delivery flight to Kai Tak.


    The two Hunters on the pan.
    David
    ps I love the way this forum has sensored my description of the 'male chicken' on the nose of the Hunter!
    Last edited by Postfade; 23rd August 2010 at 19:23.

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    It took two years and two months to answer Johns question correctly with some great pictures, well done David!

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    Strathallan Vampire
    Last edited by Robert Whitton; 24th October 2011 at 11:14.
    Robert Whitton,
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    Quote Originally Posted by cotteswold View Post
    Apropos very little,

    2. Things move on. http://www.wellsandyoungs.co.uk/well...gs-and-courage
    = Tim
    The cockerel is probably better off with Wells & Young than with Scottish & Newcastle (now notorious for brewing in neither Scotland nor Newcastle). They maintained for many years that no-one bought the stuff - but that should be no surprise when you discover that one year, about ten years ago, they spent on advertising for the entire set of Courage real ales a whole £87. No, there's no noughts missing from the number.

    Adrian
    "Snow clearing equipment has been found under snowdrift" - message sent from RNAS Hatston, Orkney, 1944.

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