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BOAC Liberator II Landing At Prestwick

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  • longshot
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Aug 2008
    • 1645

    Ian... I would say A.I.D. is the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate which monitored the quality of Government purchases...Duggy P.E.I. presumably Prince Edward Island off Canada.

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    • ianwoodward9
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Aug 2010
      • 780

      Terrific photo, Duggy.

      It seems that AL522 served with various RAF units, the last being 511 Squadron, before being allocated to BOAC in July 1944. It operated on the Atlantic ferry service from March 1945 to June 1946, which fits well with the date ascribed to the photograph.

      Im not quite sure why it would visit an RCAF training school, though most of its graduates apparently went on to join Coastal Command, so experience of a Liberator might have been useful. Alternatively, perhaps AL522 was diverted to Summerside because of bad weather elsewhere. Does the source of the photograph clarify this in any way, Duggy?

      AL522 later became G-AHYD, but was used for spares before being restored and, in September 1947, Scottish Aviation began to convert it for in-flght refuelling trials. BOAC was anxious to emulate BSAA in this regard. These trials took place between February and May 1948. BOAC had also acquired some TCA Lancastrians or Lancasters for this purpose. I imagine that the literature on the subject will provide more details as to where these trials took place. Flight Refuelling Limited didnt move to Tarrant Rushton until June 1948.

      The attached photograph shows G-AHYD undertaking in-flight refuelling trials by night.
      Attached Files

      Comment

      • ianwoodward9
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Aug 2010
        • 780

        Some of my other activities include trawling newspaper archives and the following comes from a British newspaper report in February 1943 concerning some discussions in the House of Lords about the activities of BOAC in the 1942 calendar year: I hope it may be of some interest to others.

        OVERALL STATS:

        BOAC flew some 10,000,000 miles in 1942, providing a capacity of some 21,600,000 ton-miles (1941: 12,587,294 ton-miles) and operated 26 'different types', logging 67,250 hours in the air and carrying some 43,000 passengers, 950 tons of mail and 2,250 tons of cargo. This was approx 91,000,000 passenger-miles.

        NORTH ATLANTIC SERVICES

        Since taking over the North Atlantic ferry service in 1941, BOAC had made 217 eastward and 218 westward flights. A footnote says the primary objective of the service is to take delivery pilots and crews back to North America but the eastbound services are used for "official passengers and freight".

        BOEING 314A SERVICES

        Three services every 30 days are in operation between Baltimore and the U.K.

        OTHER SERVICES

        Services between the UK and, respectively, Durban, Calcutta, and Montreal are noted, plus several services within the Middle East and Africa. A new service to Madagascar is mentioned. The rest of BOAC's services are subject to security considerations.

        AIRCRAFT TYPES

        I'm not sure what the reported 26 'different types' are but the following is the only mention of aircraft types other than the "Boeing 314A Clipper flying boats" .

        "Short flying boats, converted Armstrong-Whitworth Whitleys and Vickers-Armstrongs (sic) Wellingtons are the only British aircraft at present in service, the rest being American-built 'planes".

        The mention of the BOAC Wellingtons was quite a surprise when i read it, because i thought this a little-known use of the type, but perhaps the Government was keen to 'maximise' the use of British aircraft by BOAC to the public..
        Last edited by ianwoodward9; 2nd June 2019, 22:13.

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        • Graham Boak
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Nov 2008
          • 941

          Hmm, I can't think about 23 US types in operation. I can add Hudson, Lodestar, DC-3, Catalina and CW-20 (briefly) to the Clipper and the Liberator. It would seem a rather tight timescale that excluded the Ensign and the Mosquito, though presumably the surviving Atlantas were in Air India's hands, when not being operated by the RAF on coastal patrol duties..

          Comment

          • ianwoodward9
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Aug 2010
            • 780

            It is indeed a surprising figure, Graham, and, on reflection, it's unexpected enough to be suspect in my mind. It just has to be less straightforward than it seems on the face of it.

            From my long-ago working life, the task of counting things or counting people in largish organisations, and placing them in categories or particular groups, was rarely as simple as it seemed. The result could depend on who did the counting, on what dates they did it, how they classified the things or people being counted and what outcome was expected or hoped for in the first place.

            It is perhaps worth saying, in respect of the article, that the reference to the 26 'different types' was in an earlier part and that the question of where the aircraft were made came much later - and may just have concerned BOAC's overseas services. Therefore, the bits of information that are difficult to reconcile could have come from different sources or different respondents, using different criteria and answering different questions asked at different times.

            If, for example, the '26' figure referred to all the different aircraft types on BOAC's books, not just those employed on overseas passenger, mail or cargo services, then several British aircraft types could be added. BOAC inherited a range of aircraft from its predecessor airlines. You mention the Atalantas and the Ensigns but, as you are aware, there were several others - the Albatross, Flamingo and Dragon Rapide come to mind and there were probably others. I also seem to recall that BOAC used Oxfords for training purposes and also evaluated other aircraft for its possible use. Was the Albermarle one of these or is my memory playing tricks? Perhaps there were several of these 'one-offs' on BOAC's books.

            I'm not even sure how 'aircraft type' was defined. How many 'aircraft types' are covered by the phrase 'Short flying boats' for example? Even though the S.23, S.30 and S.33 were Empire flying boats (C-class), they might have counted as three types, as they had different power plants and different all-up weights. Around the time the article was written, Shorts were converting Sunderland Mk.IIIs for BOAC use and there were also the S.26 G-class flying boats (Golden Hind, Fleece and Horn). I don't know but perhaps (and I stress perhaps), 'Short flying boats' could encompass five different aircraft types.

            And BOAC had aircraft all around the world, not just in Britain, and some of those might be called unusual. Weren't there some captured aircraft based in Cairo that BOAC used for 'communication' and similar purposes, for example?

            Anyway, it is probably more complicated than the article suggests. Perhaps someone could help clarify the statements in the article.

            In the meantime, I checked I had transcribed the figures correctly from the article and took the opportunity to copy the relevant sections, which are attached.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by ianwoodward9; 4th June 2019, 14:05.

            Comment

            • Lazy8
              Adrian Constable
              • Apr 2012
              • 559

              I've wondered about that statement for some time. I haven't unearthed anything in the archives that actually proves it (or disproves it for that matter). I suspect it's not entirely accurate. While BOAC were concerned about the number of different airframes in their inventory, a greater concern was the number of different engine types - aircraft such as the Lockheed family came with a variety of different engines depending on the original customer, and flying capacity was more important than elegant engineering.
              My current take on the list is below. It plays fast and loose with the dates, including aircraft that they either would have known were coming, or had recently let go, and it ignores the statement that there were only three British types in the inventory, which is clearly untrue no matter how you play it.

              Wellington
              Warwick
              Dakota
              Sunderland
              S.23
              S.26
              S.30
              S.33
              L.14
              Hudson
              L.18
              Ensign
              Mosquito
              Whitley
              LB.30
              B.314
              Catalina
              Anson
              Beech 18
              Rapide
              DH.86
              CW.20
              FW.200
              Albatross
              Oxford
              Ju.52

              As 'reserves' in that timeframe, one might also include the Dragon (all impressed by then, I think), Flamingo (impressed but coming back to BOAC), Lockheed 10 (recently out of use) and the Tiger Moth (used under BOAC/NAC control for army cooperation work, as were some of the Lockheeds and occasional others). After losing Jason in the invasion of Norway, the remaining Ju.52s sere seen as a liability, and were shipped out to Africa to be used by SABENA under BOAC contract.

              Comment

              • ianwoodward9
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Aug 2010
                • 780

                The table below is derived from research undertaken by Tony Doyle, who produced a set of BOAC fleet statistics from January 1943 onwards based on a manuscript volume at the Air Ministry. The original volume contained a note saying that a time lag in getting these statistics might have resulted in some inaccuracy.

                A few notes on the table:-

                1. It is from the end of January 1943 and shows the number of aircraft by type ('L' is for landplanes and 'S' for the flying boats)
                2. The aircraft types shown in italics are those for which stats appear on later dates but not in January 1943
                3. I have shown the aircraft types listed for January 1943 IN BOLD and then added the numbering at the start of each line (the rest is Tony's work).
                4. 'Handley Page' and 'Halifax' are on separate lines in the original, as shown here (but seethe next note - Note 5).
                5. It seems that where 'Dakota' and 'Lodestar' appear twice, this is because training aircraft are listed separately from what I might call 'service' aircraft, even if they are the same 'aircraft type' (this may apply to the separate lines to which I refer in Note 4 above}.
                6. No Dakota of any kind is shown in January 1943 but 'Dakota' appears in the tabulation from February 1943 onwards. The other marks of Dakota do not appear until 1945.
                7. Bearing in mind previous discussions in this thread, I should point out that the four Wellingtons appear in the table up to the end of July 1943. There are no statistics for August and September 1943 and the Wellingtons are not listed when the statistics resume in October 1943.
                8. The training aircraft in the list below are the Oxfords and the Beechcraft.

                BOAC FLEET @ 27 Jan 1943

                1. Airspeed Oxford............................ L 4
                2. AW Ensign.......................................L 9

                3. AW Whitley V ..................................L 7
                Avro Anson
                Avro York
                4 . Beechcraft AT7 .............................L 1
                5. Consolidated Liberator I............... L 5
                6. Consolidated Liberator II.............. L 8
                7. Consolidated Liberator III............. L 2
                8. Curtiss Wright CW 20 ....................L 1
                9. DH Frobisher ..................................L 3
                10. DH Flamingo................................. L 6
                11. DH Mosquito .................................L 1
                DH89 Dominie
                Douglas Dakota
                Douglas Dakota I
                Douglas Dakota I
                Douglas Dakota III
                Douglas Dakota IV
                Handley Page
                Halifax
                12. Lockheed 10A ...............................L 2
                13. Lockheed 14 .................................L 2
                14. Lockheed 18 Lodestar................. L 25
                Lockheed 18 Lodestar
                Lockheed Hudson II
                15. Lockheed Hudson III..................... L 2
                16. Lockheed Hudson VI.................... L 9
                17. Vickers Armstrong Wellington .... L 4

                18. Boeing 314A .................................S 3
                19. Consolidated Guba ......................S 1
                20. Consolidated Catalina................. S 3
                21. Short G Class ...............................S 1
                22. Short S23 ......................................S 10
                23. Short S30 ......................................S 2
                24. Short S33 ......................................S 1
                25. Short Sunderland ........................S 4
                Short Sunderland

                The end result is pretty close to the 26 figure quoted in the article to which I referred in Post # 363
                Last edited by ianwoodward9; 9th June 2019, 12:12.

                Comment

                • Graham Boak
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Nov 2008
                  • 941

                  I've never seen any reference to Halifaxes per se in BOAC. I suspect the 1943 reference will be to surviving HP42/45s, and a postwar reference to the Haltons. It is possible that some civil Halifaxes were made available postwar for crew training in advance of the delivery of the Haltons.

                  Comment

                  • ianwoodward9
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Aug 2010
                    • 780

                    The "Handley Page" / "Halifax" references certainly present a conundrum, Graham. I hope I haven't misled you in the layout of the chart. The italicised aircraft types were not on BOAC's books in January 1943 but in later months covered by Tony Doyle's research. I'll come on to this a liile later, as I have been doing a bit of digging.

                    Meanwhile, at the outbreak of war, the former Imperial Airways HP42/45s (or some of them, anyway) were used in Northern France,as i recall, but were no longer in use by the end of 1940. Whether any of them were ever given camouflage markings is something I don't know off-hand.

                    Returning now to the chart, Tony Doyle reported '1' in the "Handley Page" category and '2' in the "Halifax" category but at the end of 1945 not the beginning of 1943. I suspect that Tony Doyle's original chart was mis-typed or something and these three were the Halifax aircraft (PP325, 326 and 327) that Peter Moss wrote were provided to BOAC and flown to Whitchurch in late-September 1945 Combining information from both gentlemen, this appears to be the situation. Apparently, though Whitchurch was their listed base, it was not really suitable for them, so they were temporarily hangared at Weston-Super-Mare before transferring to Hurn, from where they flew freight on the Accra route in October and November 1945, supplementing the Dakotas which could then carry more passengers.. The first of the three was written off the following year and the other two got civilian registrations by September 1946 (G-AIAS and G-AIAR respectively). Both were later returned to the RAF but subsequently reappeared .on the civil register with other owners.

                    BOAC had other Halifax aircraft, too. For example, I attach the registration certificate for G-AHYH. BOAC is shown as the first owner but this wasn't until 1946. Moreover, there is a note on the document that it actually operated under RAF markings, presumably as PP261. As far as I can establish, this particular aircraft was on loan from the RAF for training purposes, perhaps in connection with the arrival of the Haltons on to the fleet list, as you suggest, Graham.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 10th June 2019, 11:37.

                    Comment

                    • Graham Boak
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Nov 2008
                      • 941

                      Thanks Ian. I have seen at least one photo of an HP42 in camouflage. I hadn't realised that they stopped being used in 1940, I was under the impression at at least one was still in use in Africa after this.

                      Comment

                      • Lazy8
                        Adrian Constable
                        • Apr 2012
                        • 559

                        HP.42s

                        'Handley Pages' in this time frame are most certainly HP.42s Unlike most of, if not all the rest of the combined Imperial / British Airways fleet, it seems the HP's were not camouflaged by Imperial / NAC when the war started, but remained silver until the RAF got hold of them. Part of this will be because several were in India when the war started, and so missed out on the initial rush to camouflage, and partly because they had small entry doors and so were less use than Imperial's other large aircraft for carrying the RAF to France, so it wasn't necessary. Some were used in the first few months of the war around North Africa, the Middle East, and India, others in the UK.

                        G-AAXE Hengist was destroyed by fire at Karachi on 31 May 1937.
                        G-AAXD Horatius was destroyed in a force landing on Tiverton Golf Course on 7 November 1939.

                        G-AAGX Hannibal disappeared between Jiwani ans Sharjah on 1 March 1940. There's a lot published about this, including several conspiracy theories; it's a good 'disappearance' story, even including a garbled radio message, and no wreckage or other trace has ever been found. It seems likely the aircraft went into the sea somewhere not too far from Jask. As a result the remaining aircraft were withdrawn to the UK, and 'requisitioned' by the RAF on 3 March. Even Peter Morris in his Impressments Log says "requisitioned" not "impressed", but nowhere have I found what the difference was, nor why they were different. They did initially go into RAF service wearing their civil registrations, but were far from unusual in that. Impressment, in this case a paper exercise, happened on 31 May, with reality catching up a few days later. The military serials were not painted on until the latter part of July, and if they weren't camouflaged by then, they certainly were afterwards.

                        G-AAUD Hanno and G-AAXC Heracles were blown together by a gale at Whitchurch on 19 March 1940 and written off.
                        G-AAUC Horsa was released to the 271 Sqn RAF at Doncaster on 31 May as AS981. It was destroyed in an over-weight force landing on Dissington Moor on 7 August 1940 after both starboard engines failed.
                        G-AAUE Hadrian was released to the 271 Sqn RAF at Doncaster on 4 June as AS982 and was destroyed in a gale there on 6 December 1940.
                        G-AAXF Helena was released to 24 Sqn RAF at Hendon on 8 June as AS983, but appears to have been damaged almost immediately and required Hadrian to be detached to Hendon to fill in until it was repaired and ready for use on 22nd. Helena was almost written off in a heavy landing at Donibristle on 1 August 1940. She appears to have been repaired during October, but seems not to have flown usefully again. She was dismantled in August 1941 and used as a squadron office by the resident Royal Navy flying units.

                        Last edited by Lazy8; 10th June 2019, 21:14.

                        Comment

                        • ianwoodward9
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Aug 2010
                          • 780

                          I too suspect the camouflaged HP42 that Graham mentions was in RAF service at the time the photo was taken, as lazy 8 suggests.

                          My understanding is that, when the order came for the HP42Es to return to the UK, G-AAGX happened to be in India, so had to return to the Cairo base first and, whilst en route, went down, in the way that lazy 8 describes.

                          The other two (G-AAUC and G-AAUE) were in Cairo, I believe. They made their way back in silver finish but with some addition to the markings to meet the requirements of the French authorities. Though the latter were requisitioned/impressed on the dates stated, their civil registrations were not discontinued until 7 and 25 July 1940 and it was only then that their military serial numbers (AS981 and AS982) were applied.

                          In respect of the demise of G-AAUC, it was carrying ammunition to Stornoway when both starboard engines failed a mile north-east of Whitehaven and it force-landed on rough ground, whereupon the undercarriage collapsed and the lower engine on the port side caught fire. The crew got out before the aircraft exploded. I've seen the location also given as Moresby but, since both Moresby and Distington (that's the right spelling, I'm pretty sure, as I lived in north Cumbria for 25 years) are on the right orientation and roughly the right distance from Whitehaven, it'll be the same location.. The payload for an HP42E was supposed to be 7000lbs and 'AUC was reportedly carrying 3000 lbs of ammunition - was it really overweight? But then, two of the four engines had failed and both on the same side, too.

                          G-AAUE also suffered engine failure during its RAF service but just one engine and with less disastrous results. Following a force-landing, it was able to return to Doncaster on three engines.
                          Last edited by ianwoodward9; 11th June 2019, 08:58.

                          Comment

                          • longshot
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Aug 2008
                            • 1645

                            There was an airlift of munitions from the Gloster factory at Brockworth (presumably just before France fell)...the photo shows 1x Scylla class, 1x Ensign and 2xHP.42 all camouflaged with civil registrations. Click image for larger version

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                            Attached Files

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                            • Lazy8
                              Adrian Constable
                              • Apr 2012
                              • 559

                              Interesting photo, Longshot. I've not seen that before.
                              The BOAC War Diary records that Heracles, Horatius, Hanno, Scylla and Syrinx were all based at Brockworth from 6 November 1939 for carrying loads to France. Horatius didn't survive the first such trip, so presumably the photo was taken after the 7th, when perhaps an Ensign was drafted as a replacement. The replacement was initially suggested to be four DH.86s, but these were neither suitable nor available, and the presence of an Ensign in the photo (otherwise unrecorded) suggests they didn't go to Brockworth.
                              Scylla and Syrinx were back at Croydon by 15th, when they left for France in support of the deployment of 607 and 615 Squadrons - IIRC there was a thread on this forum about that some years back, including a picture of one of them as at Brockworth, but with 'targets' as well.
                              Of these three HP.42s, there is only mention of camouflage for Hanno, but much earlier (9-11 September, when it was also due to visit Brockworth) and there was apparently a flurry of signals questioning whether camouflage was actually applied (this went unanswered, unfortunately). Digging a bit deeper, there is an implication that Hanno, and possibly other HP.42s, may have been camouflaged by the RAF upon their arrival in France, whereas the bulk of the rest of the NAC landplane fleet was camouflaged by their operators in the UK.
                              Last edited by Lazy8; 12th June 2019, 12:43. Reason: Clarifying and adding some detail.

                              Comment

                              • longshot
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Aug 2008
                                • 1645

                                The Brockworth photo came from https://glostransporthistory.visit-g...Brockworth.htm

                                Comment

                                • ianwoodward9
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Aug 2010
                                  • 780

                                  Been away from a PC for a few days.

                                  Terrific photo, longshot. I just love the bikes and the kids surveying the scene, innocently excited. Apart from G-ACJJ "Scylla", is it possible to identify the individual aircraft?

                                  The webpage the photo came from was really interesting, too, nd the additional information from lazy8 was very informative, too. Great stuff.

                                  The support to the BEF in France and the other aviation activities in continental Europe in that period predated the establishment of BOAC as a legal entity. Who would that make the owner(s)?

                                  I found an image of another HP42 in camouflage but there was no other information identifying the date or place. The "G" is hidden by the RAF roundel, the "AAU" bit of its civil registration is still visible under the lighter shade of camouflage paint but the final letter is obscured. Does anyone know which aircraft it is?
                                  Attached Files

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                                  • longshot
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Aug 2008
                                    • 1645

                                    Presumably the remaining two HP42s were Heracles and Hanno? Various photos of the evacuated fleet at Whitchurch when war broke out
                                    Last edited by longshot; 13th June 2019, 22:23.

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                                    • longshot
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Aug 2008
                                      • 1645

                                      In previous top pic from PDF of Dacre Watson's RAeS talk, bottom two from Putnam Aeronautical Review 'Westwards to Whitchurch by Hugh Yeo.
                                      The Sutton Libraries book on Croydon and the Battle of Britain has some shots of the Imperial and BA Ltd 'Armada' setting off for FranceClick image for larger version  Name:	croy45a.jpg Views:	0 Size:	161.4 KB ID:	3865238Click image for larger version  Name:	croy44a.jpg Views:	0 Size:	111.8 KB ID:	3865239Click image for larger version  Name:	croy40a.jpg Views:	0 Size:	208.8 KB ID:	3865240
                                      Last edited by longshot; 13th June 2019, 22:47.

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                                      • Lazy8
                                        Adrian Constable
                                        • Apr 2012
                                        • 559

                                        Ref post #376: I'm pretty sure that there were only two HP.42 with that high demarcation between upper and lower (camouflage on top, probably yellow below). Imperial hated the bright colours, so it's highly likely that the paint was applied by the RAF. G-AAXF Helena was certainly one of them. I found a copy of the photo in the post online somewhere captioned as G-AAUD (Hanno), which is not implausible, but doesn't fit with the lower demarcation in the photo of the two HP.42s at Brockworth - unless the photo was taken on 6th November and Hanno is not one of the two HPs in shot. Not implausible either that the aircraft was camouflaged more than once, as I've said before, but the HP.42 was such a complicated shape that I'm sure they'd have tried very hard to repaint it as few times as possible.
                                        Last edited by Lazy8; 14th June 2019, 21:29.

                                        Comment

                                        • ianwoodward9
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Aug 2010
                                          • 780

                                          Again, some great photos, longshot, that I don't recall seeing before. They seem to have been taken on the same day some time in the autumn of 1939 but I wonder on what date.

                                          There are various Gladiators around and they carry the "AF" code of 607 Squadron. Some time in November 1939, the squadron transferred from RAF Acklington in Northumberland (now the site of a prison and young offenders institution) to Merville in Northern France (close to the D-Day beaches and where a static invasion-striped Dakota is on display, I believe). I would conclude that the photos were taken some time in November 1939

                                          Does this seem a reasonable conclusion? How does this fit with the other aircraft seen in the photos?

                                          I seem to recall that, in September 1939, various Imperial Airways and British Airways Limited aircraft, having been dispersed to Whitchurch, were speedily and rather haphazardly given a camouflage makeover. The colours were not the standard ones. If there were standard camouflage patterns, they weren't used. It was an 'all-hands-to-the brush' situation. The Ensigns in the three photographs, for example, seem to lack the red,white and blue banner under the fuselage registration marks. Would this be consistent with a photograph taken in November 1939?

                                          The BAL Fokker XII (G-AEOS) that appears in two of the photographs (and perhaps, more distantly, in the third) does not appear to have been camouflaged at all. Maybe, if it was not to be used in France, it was not on the priority list. I attach an earlier photograph of it in BAL days and its colours seem unchanged. Again, would this be consistent with a photograph taken in November 1939?

                                          Attached Files

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