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  • l.garey
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Feb 2006
    • 1939

    Fairchild Argus FZ827

    I am trying to find out more about Argus II FZ827. So far I have:

    UC-61A-FA c/n 767, built 1943 as 43-14803 USAAF, - RAF as Argus II (?1943-1947), - HB-EMI 1947 - F-AYMI 2015. It still flies in this region (Lausanne area).

    I have not found more and would be very grateful if anyone can shed more light on its career, if possible with photo references (I have my own of it in the last few years both Swiss and French registered).

    Many thanks. Click image for larger version

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    Laurence
  • M-62A
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jul 2012
    • 45

    #2
    Laurence,
    F-AYMI was the subject of an enquiry to Air-Britain about 18 months ago. Here is a summary of my own investigations.

    From the USAAF record card:

    43-14803 UC-61A
    Fairchild, Hagerstown
    Accepted 17.12.43.
    For BRITAIN
    Port of Embarkation Brooklyn, delivered 31.12.43.
    Port of Embarkation New York City, departed. 17.1.44


    From the RAF record card.

    FZ827 Argus II
    SS. Harvey C Miller sailed New York to Oran 10.2.44.
    [SS. Harvey C Miller departed New York independent on 10.2.44. Sailed from Hampton Roads with Convoy UGS.33 on 13.2.44 bound for Port Said. SS. Harvey C. Miller arrived at Oran on March 3, 1944.]
    Mediterranean Allied Air Forces July 1944.
    MED/ME 21.6.45. [Census date]
    Mediterranean Theater Operations Field Officer, Rome (Recapture) 28.11.46.

    Argus II, FZ827 would appear to have been delivered to North Africa and followed in the Allied advances across the Mediterranean.
    The M.A.A.F. was a joint U.S./British Command which covered most Allied operations in the theatre.
    The Field Officer in Rome (perhaps a member of the U.S. Air Attache staff?) would be responsible for the surplus sale of this and similar Lend-Lease and USAAF aircraft.
    Typical of Lend-Lease aircraft serving abroad, the RAF record shows only general and census details.
    Whereas, most of the Argus delivered to the UK served with the A.T.A., those delivered to Africa, the Middle and Far East seem to have mainly been employed as HQ or Group communications aircraft or as squadron hacks.
    To uncover anything further will require serial no. FZ827 turning in up someone's personal logbook, a Station or Squadron record book or in an accident report. So far I have nothing like that.

    Many on-line European registers no longer show historical data. Here is some information I collected earlier.....

    Registered HB-EMI on 16 January 1947.
    Dismantled 1962
    Flown again from 1964 until wfu 1977.
    Full restoration began in 1991.
    Registered F-AYMI on 25 November 2015 .

    Sadly, I cannot help as regards photographs of it in earlier markings.

    This Argus was the subject of an Aeroplane Monthly Preservation Profile in June 1994.
    Whosoever compiled the RAF service reported in that article does not appear to have consulted the USAAF and RAF record cards.
    I realize both sources can be incorrect and incompatible on occasions but I see no reason to believe they are in respect this aircraft.

    Hope this helps, Tony Broadhurst

    Comment

    • l.garey
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Feb 2006
      • 1939

      #3
      Thanks Tony for that comprehensive account.
      I hope I can persuade the present owner to apply a more realistic colour scheme.

      Laurence

      Comment

      • M-62A
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Jul 2012
        • 45

        #4
        Originally posted by l.garey View Post
        Thanks Tony for that comprehensive account.
        I hope I can persuade the present owner to apply a more realistic colour scheme.
        Laurence,
        I have to say I am not sure exactly what colours would be appropriate for an Argus in the Med theatre.
        It is fairly safe to say the Argus delivered to the UK were were in standard camouflage for the period with yellow undersides.
        I expect it is more likely those shipped to Africa were painted in a desert scheme, but I cannot sure from the few photographs I have found.

        The one shown in the link might be relevant. Could be yellow undersides or light blue
        Incidently, I have no family connection with the named officer!
        Tony Broadhurst
        A Fairchild Argus of the Desert Air Force Communication Flight, takes off from the beach at Vasto, Italy, which served as the landing ground for the Forward Headquarters of the Desert Air Force, based there from December 1943 to March 1944.

        Comment

        • l.garey
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Feb 2006
          • 1939

          #5
          That's a great photo, Tony. Now to find what the desert scheme might be. Yellow or blue below? But if they were shipped in factory camouflage it could be that those arriving in the ME were repainted locally with daubs of sand-like colour, perhaps leaving the yellow as is.
          Laurence

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          • feroxeng
            Rank 3 Registered User
            • Jun 2018
            • 20

            #6
            Not sure if this helps. It shows EV787 (possibly EV767) in North Africa, almost certainly Egypt late war period post German collapse. It doesn't look particularly as if it's camouflaged, but maybe just very faded. Roundels look non-standard. I've had this photo for 50 years and it's not been previously published.
            Feroxeng

            Comment

            • M-62A
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jul 2012
              • 45

              #7
              feroxeng,
              Thank you for posting what is a really interesting and useful image to an Argus researcher.

              Respectfully suggest this actually EV757.
              EV767 and EV787 were delivered to the UK and served with the Air Transport Auxiliary.

              EV757 was an Argus I shipped to the Middle East abroad the SS. Dalfram departing New York, circa March 1942. The first Argus shipment to the Middle East was lost when the SS. Lihue was sunk by U-161 in the Caribbean on February 23, 1942..
              The Dalfram also had a difficult passage but reached Cape Town safely by 6 April 1942. After engine repairs the vessel departed Cape Town for Alexandria on 2 May but struck a mine the following day. Badly holed and flooded it returned to Cable Bay for repairs. There is nothing on the ship's movement card to suggest it arrived at anywhere in the Middle East during the next few months so it seems likely the six crated Argus on board the Dalfram were unloaded at Cape Town and completed their journey on another vessel.

              FV757 remaining history is reported on it's RAF record card as follows:
              Arrived Middle East [by] 30 September 1942.
              Assigned to Northwest African Air Forces 1 November 1943.
              Struck off Charge 8.3.44.

              I can find no accident reports relating to EV757 so it may have been struck off as "fair wear and tear".
              Ray Sturtivant's ever useful "RAF Training And Support Units since 1912" reports EV757 as serving with the Desert Air Force Communications Flight.

              Thank you again. Does the photograph come from a personal collection? May I down load the image for my own collection?
              Tony Broadhurst

              Comment

              • l.garey
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Feb 2006
                • 1939

                #8
                A very interesting photo, feroxeng. Tony has filled in the details. The question of the desert colour scheme still needs a lot more research and your picture certainly helps.

                Laurence

                Comment

                • M-62A
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Jul 2012
                  • 45

                  #9
                  Further musings...
                  Some of my old books on WW.2 types included photographs taken on, what I think, was called "orthographic film".
                  Fine grain, but it had the unusual property of making yellow appear much darker than it really was.
                  The IWM pic of HM181 below is probably an example of image from this type of film.

                  I think feroxeng's photo of EV757 may be from similar film stock.
                  The under fuselage colour is very dark and there is no sign of the yellow outer ring of the fuselage roundel.
                  Suggests to me that EV757 may have had the yellow undersides.
                  I also think there changes in shade on EV757's fin and rudder which do suggest a camoufage pattern

                  EV757 is known to have been a Mk.I and the lack of the antenna posts above the wing supports the fact that this mark had no wireless and little electrical equipment.
                  Recalling this and other minor external differences between the Marks 1 & II Argus, I looked again at IWM image of the anonymous DAF Comm. Flight Argus taking off from an Italian beach.
                  This is also a Mk.I - note the struts on the pilot's r/h side. Just where the wing struts meets the u/c oleo there is a dark mass. This is exactly where the Mk.I's wind-driven generator was located.
                  You can make out the small airscrew that drove the generator just ahead of the strut in the IWM image of HM181. The better equipped Mk.II had an engine-driven generator and wireless antenna.

                  "Fairchild Aircraft 1926-1987" (Kent A. Mitchell) includes a rare colour pic of four RAF Argus awaiting delivery at the Hagerstown factory field.
                  All have the green and earth upper surface camouflage, and three have the yellow undersides, the undersides of the fourth aircraft cannot be seen.
                  Identifiable in the image are EV776 and EV777. which were delivered to the U.K.

                  Perhaps the early Argus deliveries to the Middle East were in the standard UK dk. green/dk. earth and yellow colour scheme. FZ827 was a later Mk.II and may have been different scheme.

                  Tony Broadhurst
                  Argus Mark I, HM181, on the ground at Heston Airport, Middlesex, following erection by the Heston Aircraft Company. This aircraft joined the Air Transport Auxiliary at White Waltham, Berkshire.
                  Last edited by M-62A; 14th March 2019, 16:27.

                  Comment

                  • feroxeng
                    Rank 3 Registered User
                    • Jun 2018
                    • 20

                    #10
                    M62A Feel free to use the photo as you wish. I did do the record cards at AAHB in the 1970s, looking for this aircraft, but I didn't check my notes before the last post, so thank you for conf of the serial.
                    The photos came from a set I was allowed to copy in 1961 on the promise that I wouldn't circulate them, but as I haven't seen the owner since then I don't feel entirely bound by this restriction.
                    I'll have a look through the others regarding orthographic film (you can develop the negs using a safelight), My feeling that it isn't on orthographic film as the contrast would be much more marked.
                    If you're into Arguses I have a fuel or oil filler off one of the wrecks in the garage at Reigate circa 1961.

                    Feroxeng.

                    Comment

                    • M-62A
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Jul 2012
                      • 45

                      #11
                      Feroxeng
                      Thank you for your kind permission to use the photo. EV757 must have one of the earliest used in the Middle East which makes the photo rather special.
                      Fairchild Argus and Cornell, (along with the training schools employing Cornells) are my particular interest. The "garage at Reigate..." sounds very interesting. Can you recall any of the inmates? I seem to recall seeing photos of a pair of Argus frames with the remains of their camouflaged fabric out in the long grass somewhere but this sounds like something else.
                      Tony Broadhurst

                      Comment

                      • l.garey
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Feb 2006
                        • 1939

                        #12
                        Colour photos of RAF Arguses (or is it Argi?) ready for delivery from the factory show them with the wide white band in the roundel, but I wonder if they were modified in service. The photo of HM181 in post 9 looks as if the edges of the white might be hand-painted.

                        Laurence

                        Comment

                        • feroxeng
                          Rank 3 Registered User
                          • Jun 2018
                          • 20

                          #13
                          M62A
                          The Arguses at Buckland, a few miles west of Reigate, were allegedly FK346, HB592, 598 and 604. My fairly rubbish photos (accidentally opened the back of the camera) show at least three of them in September 1961. I could find no identities, the attribution comes from Wrecks and Relics.
                          Feroxeng

                          Comment

                          • avion ancien
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Aug 2007
                            • 5218

                            #14
                            W&R 1st Edition (1961):

                            'BUCKLAND, Surrey. There are four Fairchild Argus fuselages behind a hut on a lorry park half a mile down Cliftons Lane. These are Argus Mk.2 HB604, HB598 and Mk.1 FK346. All are camouflaged but have received attention from vandals.'

                            W&R 2nd Edition (1963);

                            'BUCKLAND in Surrey. The forlorn remains of four Argus fuselages used to be behind a hut on a lorry park half a mile down Clifton's Lane. These include Argus I FK346 and Argus IIs HB598 & HB604. All were in reasonable condition until visited by pseudo-enthusiasts, but they have now gone.'

                            There is no entry for Buckland in W&R 3rd Edition (1968).

                            Comment

                            • M-62A
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Jul 2012
                              • 45

                              #15
                              Feroxeng and Avion Ancien,
                              Thank you for the images and the additional information.
                              Fills in a few blanks in my Argus database. The earliest edition of W&R I had must have been the 1963 edition - but it is probably hidden in the attic now.
                              I must admit to having made the same mistake with a box camera back more than once - and having putting a 35 mm reel through the camera twice whilst on a trip to the U.S.!

                              FK346, HB592, 598 & 604, all have rather similar final entries on their RAF record card. Typically "S.O.C. Cat.E 29.5.47. F.149/50".
                              ​​​​​​​
                              Tony Broadhurst

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