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Thread: Spitfire Photograph Question

  1. #1
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    Spitfire Photograph Question

    Hi,

    i was wondering if anyone knew the serial number of this aircraft? ive only just now found the squadron/airfield/date of the photo, but not the exact serial no. of this aircraft.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    its a rather iconic photo of the RAF during the d-day landings so im surprised i cant find info on the serial number

    any help would be appreciated

    thanks,

    olly

  2. #2
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    Is this a 411 Sqn aircraft?. If so they had IXb's in June 44 I believe. On a slightly wider version of the picture it shows a vertical line as part of the serial number. I thought this might be a 1 at the end of the serial, but now think the white painted strip may be covering part of the serial? Could the vertical line be part of a H, as in the MH range. 411 Sqn did have several spitfire's in that serial range on hand in June 44.

  3. #3
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    ive only just now found the squadron/airfield/date of the photo, but not the exact serial no. of this aircraft.


    And what might be your take on the squadron/airfield/date of the photo, olly_s?
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 10th October 2017 at 00:06. Reason: Gooder word usage
    "The RAF Museum show has been forensically examined and was deeply unimpressive. I knew that their whale of a story was loaded with baloney".

  4. #4
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    I have note of three Spitfires coded DB-R at this period.

    Please date your image.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  5. #5
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    I'd say, from the way they are painting those invasion-stripes, the date is June 5th 1944!

    Unless this is a replacement aircraft later than that; but then I'd expect a slightly better paint job.
    WA$.

  6. #6
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    The inboard stripe does not look quite so 'fresh' so it could be a quick repaint/refresh job,although some of the 'messy appearance' is caused by the 'Lead' (tetra ethyl lead) deposits from the engine exhausts.

  7. #7
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    Found this following a quick Google.

    More information, but no serial --> http://spitfiresite.com/2007/12/pain...-5th-1944.html
    John

    I Wandered Lonely As A Clown...

  8. #8
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    In the link you can see the slightly wider picture with part of the serial visible. Looking again, there doesn't seem to be a corresponding other half of a H for the visible part. Could it be a J, with the numbers overpainted by the stripe. Mark - are any of the 3 aircraft you have recorded in the MJ serial number range?

  9. #9
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    Twenty seconds of Googling brought up this caption

    A scene recorded on June 5th, 1944 in Tangmere, Sussex. Preparing Spitfires for D-Day, 411 Squadron RCAF ground crew members apply invasion stripes to Spitfire Mk. IXe, DB-R, serial no. RR 201. This aircraft was flown by F/L Jack J. Boyle.
    Sixth image down: http://spitfiresite.com/tag/spitfire-mk-ix/page/10

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  10. #10
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    RR201 was not in service in June 44. So looks like it was mis-identified. See link below:

    http://spitfiresite.com/2011/03/resp...D-audet.html/2

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiteful
    RR201 was not in service in June 44.
    Yes, but apart from that minor detail ...

    Back to the drawing board

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  12. #12
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    A couple of thoughts; it would be much easier to make a mistake with the serial number than with the date, especially give it was that date in particular (and given the particular activity being photographed) so is there a similar aircraft with an easily confused serial number that was in service on 5th June 1944?

    Also, given the levels of secrecy around D-Day, was this an activity that was likely to be photographed (by outside agencies)?

    Lastly, if few (any?) genuine 'invasion stripe' painting session photographs exist, wouldn't there be a great temptation to photograph a (far less secret) later painting session and then pass it off as the real event (in which case the serial could be correct)?
    WA$.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moggy C
    serial no. RR 201.
    Doubtful.

    RR201 did not come in to service until November 1944

    The image appears to show the top of a down stroke of an 'M' or a '4'.

    MJ754 was DB-R.

    MK834 was DB-R

    PT792 was DB-R

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  14. #14
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    Date is June 5th 1944 at Tangemere.

    Plane is Spit ix DB-R

    sorry i made any confusion

  15. #15
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    Came across this better quality version of the photo on ‘WarThunder’. Did a crop on what serial we can see as well

    As there is a letter/number to the left of the ‘4’ or ‘M’ I would imagine it is a ‘4’. Looks like a straight edge so more likely MJ754 if Peter’s three serials are what we have to choose from

    or is it an ‘M’ and the rest of the serial is covered by the invasion stripe??

    Chris

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  16. #16
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    I would say its a 'M' you can see the break of the stencil between the last vertical stroke of the M & the bit of the V, then there is just the top of the first stroke of the M peeping above the tailplane.
    Keith

  17. #17
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    According to these two books (links below), MK834 was destroyed on May 19th, 1944, when flak hit the bomb it was carrying during an attack on a Railway Station at Hazebrouck, France.

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...0MK834&f=false

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...0MK834&f=false

    It's pilot, Sqn Ldr Norman Fowlow was killed.

    So, MJ754 perhaps?

    Cheers

    Paul
    The most usless commodity in aerobatics is the amount of sky above you!

  18. #18
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    Unfortunately MJ754 arrived in Casablanca on 17 March 1944.

    I believe it to be an M followed by a J covered by the Invasion Marking.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  19. #19
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    Unfortunately MJ754 arrived in Casablanca on 17 March 1944.
    Yes Mark, I just checked myself, and indeed it did!

    So still believed to be an MJ serial then?

    Cheers

    Paul
    The most usless commodity in aerobatics is the amount of sky above you!

  20. #20
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    MJ754 - 33MU 10-1-44 222MU 5-2-44 Fort Liard 1-3-44 Casablanca 17-3-44 2SAAF Hit by flak and abandoned nr Veghereto 27-7-44 recat A 31-8-44

    Not sure this fits either?

  21. #21
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    Looking at the June 44 ORB, it looks like MJ454, MJ468, MJ125, MJ237, MJ831, MJ985, MJ474, MJ229, MJ905 were all with 411 sqn at the beginning of June.

  22. #22
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    411 Sqn had 36 'MJ' serial Spitfires in total.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiteful
    Looking at the June 44 ORB, it looks like MJ454, MJ468, MJ125, MJ237, MJ831, MJ985, MJ474, MJ229, MJ905 were all with 411 sqn at the beginning of June.
    I am surprised that all these serials are in the ORB for early June. MT831 for example was lost in battle on 15 May 1944.

    We know that MK834 was DB-R and was lost on 19 May 1944. So what we are looking for is the replacement(s) DB-R from post 19 May until 5 June, the reported date of the photo.

    Only one of the above MJ serials fully fits the requirement...MJ229 allotted to 411 Squadron on 2 June.

    That said these were turbulent times and paperwork accuracy would not have been the highest priority. There is no date for the on charge date to 411 for MJ468 and MJ905 but both were lost on 25 and 20 June respectively. If they appear in the May 1944 ORB they can be eliminated.

    MJ454, MJ474 and MJ985 were not allotted to 411 Squadron until 22 June and can reasonably be eliminated.

    MJ125 and and MJ237 were not allotted to 411 Squadron and could have been 'borrowed' from 405 and 411 Aircraft Reception Flight.

    So, MJ229 is the best shot but certainly not 100% conclusive.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  24. #24
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    Hi Peter

    Link below has Spitfire IX MJ229 of 411 Squadron being lost on 2nd June 1944 with Fl/Lt R.W. Orr at the controls (see below map)

    http://aircrewremembered.com/hodgson-john.html

    Hit by flack and baled out over channel and was rescued

    cheers
    Chris

  25. #25
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    As mentioned earlier though, those stripes look like they are being repainted, the inner white band still looking somewhat worn.

  26. #26
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    Looking at an enlarged photo image on computer screen in post # 15 and the hill beyond the top of the starboard wing it is very similar to today's view of the South Downs in the area around Halnaker windmill. One website

    http://www.bognor.co.uk/lifestyle/no...-day-1-4026025

    states that from the top of the Chichester Cathedral tower in 1944 nine airfields were visible. Five were established RAF airfields and four were ALG's. Most probably any of those nine sites could have provided a similar view. The inland coastal plain is very flat. I also note there's a serial number of the image shown in the bottom right hand corner - does that suggest any source / archive identity where an alternative view of the Spitfire in question might be uncovered?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAF-UK
    Spitfire IX MJ229 of 411 Squadron being lost on 2nd June 1944
    Chris, Re-reading the data, indeed it does.

    I would now suggest that the image was taken some time after D-Day and the caption if 'official' was a convenient date for the media.

    This looks to be a posed image for propaganda purposes.

    The white paint looks to be being re-applied and the inner wing stripe is grubby and yet to receive its second application.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  28. #28
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    The link below has the photo being taken on 22nd June ’44 (scroll to sixth image)

    http://www.thescale.info/news/publis...quadrons.shtml

    Makes sense of the invasion stripes being reapplied

    cheers
    Chris

  29. #29
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    Not Tangmere. It's Westhampnett.
    A Thousand Shall Fall

  30. #30
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    Just out of curiosity, what makes you think that? I can't find any reference to 411 being at Westhampnett although I guess some aircraft could have been dispersed there while the squadron was at Tangmere.

    Also, if the date of 22 June for the photo given in the link in CAF-UK's post is correct, then it's unlikely to be at either Tangmere or Westhampnett - the squadron left on 18 June for France and began operating from B4 on 19/06.

    P.

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