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618Sq Mosquito Highball set up

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  • powerandpassion
    Never Be Afraid to Ask
    • Jul 2012
    • 1192

    #21
    These are Madoplam fabric samples which came from Narromine Mosquitos. They show no evidence of earth brown - green paint underneath, just red dope and silver finish, which was certainly standard for RAAF Mosquitos after 1944, to counteract heat buildup in timber structures. Most reference books show a brown-green camo finish to 618 Sq Mosquitos, and many historical pictures confirm this. But these samples do not reflect that. It may be that in preparation for Pacific deployment some aircraft were being updated to the silver scheme in the workshops, while aircraft kept on the flightline for training purposes kept the camo scheme. I am chasing up rumours that practice Highballs were dropped in lakes in NSW. With 618 Sq it seems, anything is possible.

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    • QldSpitty
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Apr 2006
      • 2557

      #22
      Didnt 618 operate out of Kingaroy Airfield as well?
      "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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      • powerandpassion
        Never Be Afraid to Ask
        • Jul 2012
        • 1192

        #23
        Not sure. Often flew to Laverton in Vic and Bankstown for servicing. What makes you say Kingaroy? Was this a staging or training field?

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        • Nicko
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Mar 2013
          • 126

          #24
          The detailed part of this history of Kingaroy airfield does not mention 618 Squadron...
          https://www.ww2places.qld.gov.au/place?id=839
          Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes Walt Whitman
          http://vhjet.com

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          • Nicko
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Mar 2013
            • 126

            #25
            Ed, I was having a look at paint schemes for the 618 Squadron aircraft. Most carried the dark green on overall medium sea grey. I'm no expert on the terms for the colours, so maybe I haven't used the correct words. This would apply to the Mk.IVs and VIs held by the squadron, and this was the standard scheme for these models. Examples are DZ582 (IV) and HR623 (VI). If any aircraft carried PR blue then presumably it would have been the three PR.XVIs.
            Geoff Goodall's site has a great photo showing many of the aircraft at time of disposal:
            https://www.goodall.com.au/australian-aviation/dh98/civilmosquito.html - find it way down near the bottom of the page.

            There is a detail of the same original photo at this website.
            https://en.valka.cz/topic/view/40026/618-perut-RAF-1943-1945

            I count 19 of the aircraft having the original dark green and overall med sea grey. In the detail, the aircraft tail that can be seen bottom left corner has a reg starting 'N'. Therefore this is one of the XVIs - either NS729 or NS732. I don't think it looks PR blue, but maybe it is already faded and dusty. Given the detail shows a lot more than what the image on Geoff's site shows, the original would reveal some interesting details I'm sure.
            Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes Walt Whitman
            http://vhjet.com

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            • Nicko
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Mar 2013
              • 126

              #26
              I just noticed our signature lines have disappeared.
              Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes Walt Whitman
              http://vhjet.com

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              • powerandpassion
                Never Be Afraid to Ask
                • Jul 2012
                • 1192

                #27
                Nicko, I agree that most pictorial evidence, op cit and Mosquito Monograph, show camo on top and presumably sea gray underwear. What I cant reconcile are remains, particularly mystery Highball bits, in PR Blue. I am forming the hypothesis that Highball equipped Mosquitos were kept in hangars while training hacks were parked outside. Secret equipment in hangars was not photographed, while nosey locals could photograph hacks. Until more technical details emerge around Highball and Sea Mosquito setup, I am still just guessing. There are some books in the mail that may give some clues, hopefully...

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                • powerandpassion
                  Never Be Afraid to Ask
                  • Jul 2012
                  • 1192

                  #28
                  Nicko, it pays to drink beer ! On the wall of a pub in Narromine is a good photo of HR621 being run up. It confirms the camo scheme and a date. Next to it is HR619. Both of them show no setup of landing gear hook, so I am holding on to my theory that Highball equipped Mosquitos were kept hidden, and had a different paint scheme. How else where you to know, if you were a 618 Fitter stumbling out of the pub?

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                  • powerandpassion
                    Never Be Afraid to Ask
                    • Jul 2012
                    • 1192

                    #29
                    Serendipity 1. Some time ago I took a photo of a landing gear hook mechanism displayed at the most excellent Narromine Museum, and dredging it up, it confirms part of the remains in a previous post as a hook clamp. Further, it shows that the hook was supported by two tubes of a certain diameter.

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                    • powerandpassion
                      Never Be Afraid to Ask
                      • Jul 2012
                      • 1192

                      #30
                      Serendipity 2. Dug up out of the dry farm earth where a Mosquito sank into the dust was a unidentifiable heavy casting, no part numbers. So it sat for years unrecognised. Then from another shed, came another of the same castings, opposite handed, but with the telltale PR blue and a little bit of reinforced bakelite. So these MUST have been fixed to the underside ! Could these possibly be the anchoring points for a hook mechanism ? Then in a box of anonymous steel bits came a heavy eye fastening, forged, was this the end of a hook tube? The Narromine Museum hook looks like it was cut off from the tube, and the eye end was also cut off by a gas axe, but the tube diameters looked the same. Did 618 Sq gas axe their 'secret' hooks as well as gas axing the Highball cradles?

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                      • powerandpassion
                        Never Be Afraid to Ask
                        • Jul 2012
                        • 1192

                        #31
                        Then the eye fastening had this silly aluminium extension, why? Thinking about deck landing, the last thing you would want your hook to do is bounce up once it hit the deck, and miss your wires. So the damper was put in there to slow the fall, minimise the rebound and damp the rebound. So logically the damper would connect to this aluminium 'ear'. Putting it all together, it seems to work. Now the damper would most likely fit between the anchor points to damp the rebound, but it could fit the other way too. Does anybody have an AP for Sea Mosquito that illustrates the hook arrangement?

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                        • powerandpassion
                          Never Be Afraid to Ask
                          • Jul 2012
                          • 1192

                          #32
                          Now there are enough remains, in all these pieces, to pattern and reintroduce the missing tube 'triangle', to actually reconstruct the entire hook arrangement on a Highball Mosquito. It looks like the hook retainer was mounted underneath a bulkhead, and there are enough remains of bulkhead to figure out which one. Anybody got a Mosquito that they can measure a bulkhead that's 550mm across 150mm off the base? Once the position of the hook retainer bulkhead is determined, the position of the anchor castings can be determined. I think these also connected up to a bulkhead, as well as internal 'strakes', as evidenced by the metal fixing brackets. Probably this is the same as Sea Mosquito, additional timber added to manage the stresses of the hook arrest of 4-8 tonnes of aircraft stopping on a pin.

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                          • powerandpassion
                            Never Be Afraid to Ask
                            • Jul 2012
                            • 1192

                            #33
                            Now here is the only photo I have found out there of the Highball arrangement, which might be from Airfix in 1974. The actual cradle looks like the type of construction used in RR Griffon engine mounts, or early riveted Lancaster engine mounts, lots of T45 tube fishplated over into a fairly rigid, light assembly. This is telltale "British structural member" in the same way that forged magnesium engine bearers are telltale German. What would I do if I needed to make a short run of custom bearers for an evolving cradle design? Probably this method. Now if I had to gas axe it in 1945 to prevent my secret technology from falling into the wrong hands, and I ended up with chunks of low value mixed steel tube and aluminium fishplate, far from urban scrap metal dealers, I would probably just bury it in a hole in the ground without telling the local farmers. So I would need secure burial away from prying eyes, what better place than a military airfield under guard? So probably chunks of Highball cradle are buried on Narromine airfield, where the grass refuses to grow. Time for some ground penetrating radar. So the object here is to recreate a Highball setup, stage out of Guam to Tokyo Bay and drop a Highball on a commuter ferry or floating sashimi restaurant, do a bit of living history. Alternately this could be a great birthday Pinata concept for the 8 year old who has everything.

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                            • powerandpassion
                              Never Be Afraid to Ask
                              • Jul 2012
                              • 1192

                              #34
                              I wus wronk, I mean rong, ahh wrong ! It is not often until you really concentrate on something that you unpeel the layers of the onion and get to the juicy heart. So here is a Narromine, Englander made Elevator with PR Blue on one side and camo on the other, with the leading edge shewn in close up to see how the edges 'misted' into each other. So I will definitely say that 617 Sq Mosquitos, in Narromine, in 1945, had PR Blue underwear, and photographic evidence shows camo on top. The silver on top theory, at this stage, lacks definitive evidence. RAAF Mosquitos were definitely silver all over by 1945, to stop timber airframes heating up. The use of PR Blue was, as far as I can make out, unique to 618 Sq. On its camo schemes, the RAAF used a colour called 'Sky' underneath, shown in this photo of a Beaufort cockpit at ANAM Moorabbin Museum. Its kind of 'very light grey overcast'. These colours were matched by the Australian War Memorial, based on a Wirraway panel that remained preserved, so it is an accurate representation of "RAAF Sky", quite different to PR Blue.

                              Comment

                              • currawong
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Apr 2012
                                • 33

                                #35
                                Umm, there are other pretty feasible reasons why there are places where the grass does not grow at Narromine. As with many other "rural" airfields.

                                But you never know, so good luck.

                                Comment

                                • scotavia
                                  scotavia
                                  • Nov 2005
                                  • 2720

                                  #36
                                  The Mosquito museum at London Colney has a section of rear fuselage from a Sea Mosquito( ex St Davids airfield) which includes the arrester hook mountings. You might find someone here who could grab some close ups.

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                                  • powerandpassion
                                    Never Be Afraid to Ask
                                    • Jul 2012
                                    • 1192

                                    #37
                                    Wow Scotavia, great information, thank you ! Is anybody visiting there soon ? Can anybody take some photos? Very interested in internal details like reinforcing timber work inside the fuselage, as well as external details, mounting arrangements, thank you in anticipation ! Ed

                                    Comment

                                    • scotavia
                                      scotavia
                                      • Nov 2005
                                      • 2720

                                      #38
                                      My mistake it is Sea Hornet...https://www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk/...-tail-section/

                                      Comment

                                      • powerandpassion
                                        Never Be Afraid to Ask
                                        • Jul 2012
                                        • 1192

                                        #39
                                        Easy to get the insects mixed up, Mosquito, Hornet ! The hook gear looks very similar, would still be very interested in getting a few detail photos if anyone wants to risk the roundabouts in.

                                        Comment

                                        • Nicko
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Mar 2013
                                          • 126

                                          #40
                                          Re post #28
                                          Ed, I thought you have a copy of David Vincent's Mosquito Monograph? Either you don't have one or you had too many beers at that pub.
                                          The HR series aircraft are Mk.VI. These aircraft were just for flying around, and had no special equipment. That photo is the one in the book that I referred to by email.
                                          The highball aircraft were Mk.IV - DZ series of regos.
                                          Although I said before that I don't think that the Mk.XVI in the photo I posted (#25) was in PR blue, I think that the Mk.XVI aircraft were the ones that were painted in PR blue.
                                          I think that the RAF were cluey enough to know that overall PR blue was not at all suitable for the low altitude attacks that the highball aircraft would carry out. Remember the post early on about not wanting dark colours on the underside. In camouflage speak dark on top and light underneath is 'countershading' and this is best for low viz.
                                          Are you sure you have PR blue? It is not clear to me on all the photos you have posted - maybe I agree in some cases. CMA has a trashed cowl in what I believe is PR blue. Probably also from Narromine. It is a disgusting weak purple colour now, but not quite as bad as the borscht I had a Sheremetyevo airport.
                                          I think that the XVIs had different Merlins to the Mk.IV. Did this mean a different cowl? IIRC, the cowl did not have any number or ID scrawled on the inside, but I can check.
                                          Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes Walt Whitman
                                          http://vhjet.com

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