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Thread: 2 Seat Spitfires. How Many Are There?

  1. #31
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    As I say, I have no specialist knowledge. I just found this on-line, however. Is it the right explanation? Between SAAF service and 261 Squadron service?
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  2. #32
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    The same website ( http://www.saairforce.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3306 ) has another photo of it but the same explanation:
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  3. #33
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    "Just an enthusiast magazine"?

  4. #34
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    "An experiment with RR232. It is tight."
    Just for fun, I presume? Shame, would be cool to see it fly like that

  5. #35
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    Couldn't a T14 be made?

  6. #36
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    I would be interested to learn why a Maintenance Unit in Sicily is undertaking a two seat Spitfire conversion for 261 Squadron based in India, Ceylon and Burma at this period of WWII flying Hurricanes and latterly Thunderbolts.

    A more likely scenario would be the editorial staff at the Aeroplane Spotter or whoever in 1947 did not have the benefit of the Squadron codes information that we now have and got the code wrong.

    I would suggest that the conversion was at the behest of the CO of the Maintenance Unit for general communications work in the area, using parts as available. As over 60% of the fuel would have had to be displaced to accommodate the passenger one might imagine the armament was removed to generate space for non standard fuel tanks.

    No shortage of surplus Mk V's at 156 MU Blida in Algeria at this time. Probably in excess of 100 fuselages on site.



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

  7. #37
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    Where are the keys to my time machine?....
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  8. #38
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    In answer to your question, Mark12, I;m afraid I have no idea.

    The South African website says that 261 Squadron had a two-seater Spitfire and that ES127 was allocated to that squadron. You may know - are these two statements correct?

    The photo shows ES127 as a two-seater, everyone seems to accept that the photo was taken in Scicily and none of the South African personnel there at the time can recall a two-seater Spitfire on their charge. Adding two and two together doesn't always come to four but it's good starting point, surely?

    AEROPLANE SPOTTER may not be a definitive source but why would they say "261 Squadron"? There was no need to mention the squadron number at all if they didn't know it.

  9. #39
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    Merlin 70,
    Spitfire ML417 was never in Irish Air Corps service, the others listed are correct there were originally six but one MK721 No 160 was destroyed in a crash in 1957.It is all there in Greg Davis' new publication, well woth having.
    Tony K

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanWoodward
    AEROPLANE SPOTTER may not be a definitive source but why would they say "261 Squadron"
    Why would a certain UK monthly aviation magazine recently publish a load of inaccurate 'tosh' about the BoB film Buchons?

    Why would the Daily Telegraph on the 2nd April this year carry a large colour air to air photograph of a Spitfire on its front page taken by Richard Paver and credit it to another person?

    ...just sloppy journalists with neither the time to research nor the inclination to check there facts at prime source.

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

  11. #41
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    @Tony K
    Listing corrected.

  12. #42
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    "The same website ( http://www.saairforce.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3306 ) has another photo of it but the same explanation"

    A poster on this site also provides a short history - ES127 - Vb - CBAF - M46 - 39MU 10-11-42 82MU 27-11-42 Empire Clive 11-12-42 Takoradi 23-1-43 NAfrica 30-11-43 417S second cockpit install Catania Sicily 1944 SOC 8-3-44 to GI airframe.

    This suggests that it may have gone to 417 squadron rather than 261, which seems more plausible. Either way, it was not around long, seemingly struck off charge in earl March 1944.

    Out of curiosity, why did SM520 only adopt ES127's codes? Would have been rather nice with orange centred roundels!

  13. #43
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    @black knight
    There was a discussion on here some years back arising from the Burma expedition thread that concluded a T8 being of the same lineage as a XIV could be constructed from a XIV but there is no mandate for a T14 as no such Vickers design existed.

  14. #44
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    Look, I know very little about this subject. For example, I'm not quite sure how, in 1947, journalists at AEROPLANE SPOTTER went about their trade, what sources were available to them nor how they checked what was put in print. On the whole, I have found the publication pretty reliable but it did make errors, of course. One, as I recall, was a photo caption which went, "Two Spitfires in formation with a Hurricane which is not shown here" or something like that.

    The misattribution of a photograph in THE TELEGRAPH (or elsewhere) could be the result of all sorts of causes but, to the best of my knowledge, should not (and certainly not necessarily) be put down to the journalist who wrote the article. Sometimes, media outlets don't even publish a photo of the right person, let alone get the photo credit right, if they include the photo credit at all, that is. As for 'tosh' in a recent aviation magazine, I have no idea how that would occur; it's bad enough that the journalist in a specialist publication would get it wrong; how does it get past the editor? I don't know.

    The one element in that 70-year-old report that you dispute is the reference to "261 Squadron". I have little doubt that AEROPLANE SPOTTER included that information in good faith but that doesn't make it correct. Obviously, the author of "The Spitfire in SAAF Service", writing more recently and with access to a wider range of sources, concluded that the two-seater version of ES127 was not flown by 4 Squadron SAAF and that the aircraft went into service with 261 Squadron.

    Whether it seems likely or even logical or not, the author made two statements that you can presumably check, namely that 261 Squadron had a two-seat Spitfire and that ES127 was on the strength of 261 Squadron.

    I am not asserting that ES127 served with 261 Squadron. I simply do not know but two publications (one rather old and another more recent) have made that assertion. Rather than simply dismiss it out of hand, why not look into it?
    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 16th April 2018 at 17:27.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ianwoodward
    I know very little about this subject
    Well to get some balance here, the book that you referred to - 'The Spitfire in SAAF Service' by Steve Mclean. Steve invited me to write the first chapter as guest author.

    I was also technical adviser on the painting of Boultbee's SM520 and produced all the mylar full size marking overlays to get the balance of the marking elements.

    Jut because something is written and published in does not make it automatically correct. A researcher looking back to a 1947 report would be inclined to think it is correct without looking at the geography of how you might get a highly modified, fuel suspect, Mk V from Sicily to India/Burma...a different theatre.

    The Burma Seafires. There are a number of respected published books referring to these aircraft has being de-navalised and fitted with Mk XVIII non folding wings. Each author has blindly used the previously published reference and perpetuated the story. In fact this is total tosh. It is a nearly impossible task to modify a Seafire XV to accept a Mk XVIII wing. The wings were not changed.

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

  16. #46
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    I agree with you Mk12 about the Buchon article. When all the details and facts are readily available and the story has been high profile due to the sales of these long stored airframes, one wonders how in the modern age, where cross checking with established researchers and type specialists is just a mouse click away, such a piece could be both written and published without the factual inaccuracies being picked up at the proof reading or editorial stage...

  17. #47
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    I'm not seeking to fall out with anyone here. Not only do I know little on this subject but aviation is not my primary interest. I saw the thread, it brought to mind something I remember from the past, I found it and posted it. The subsequent interchange in this thread prompted me to look further on-line and I found the two 'extracts' from the SAAF Spitfire book and posted them as well. That's about it from my point of view - and I certainly do not regard anything I posted here as unbalanced.

    You had no need to establish your credentials, by the way. It was clear enough to me, even without those being stated, that you know this subject well. I acknowledge that without reservation.

    For myself, I have been: a consultant to the BBC (credited on screen and in the publicity material); credited in a PBS-TV programme; and acknowledged for contributions to several "respected, published books". I have had many an article published and I wrote and edited a specialist newsletter for 28 years. None of it was to do with aircraft or aviation but something very different - nevertheless, involving what I might call 'transferable' skills and a similar mindset. I fully understand the points you are making about the reliability of "accepted" sources and I do not have a habit of accepting something in print as necessarily true or accurate. I know well that a much-repeated error can become accepted wisdom.

    Your 'colleague' Steven McLean twice referred to 261 Squadron in connection with ES127. Perhaps you could ask him the source of his assertion. Specifically, what is the source of the information that [1] 261 had a two-seat Spitfire and [2] ES127 was on 261's strength?
    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 16th April 2018 at 22:00.

  18. #48
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    TonyL1962 solves this in post #42. The movements show 417S. Elsewhere on the web the exact same data shows 261S. Seems to have been a typo somewhere along the line. Britmodeller attributed their 261S version down to Morgan and Shaklady. Anyone able to check their copy?
    Last edited by otis; 17th April 2018 at 15:25. Reason: Typo !

  19. #49
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    Reference Morgan and Shacklady page 223, Guild Publishing, London, (1989). "ES127 39MU 10-11-42 82MU 27-11 Emp Clive 11-12 Tak 23-2-43 NA 30-11 261S second cockpit instal Catania Sicily 1944 SOC 9-20-47"

    For completeness http://allspitfirepilots.org/aircraft/ES127 quotes the same as above with the exception that it lists 417S in place of 216S.

    A nice model of it here. http://www.pwm.org.pl/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=84459

    Last edited by merlin70; 17th April 2018 at 13:11. Reason: Added full reference
    Watching the planes fly by...

  20. #50
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    Two Seat Spitfire book now available -

    https://www.thegreatbritishbookshop....seat-spitfires
    Under my gruff exterior lies an even gruffer interior...

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  21. #51
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    Thanks for the update Bob. Book ordered and paid for.
    LAHarveIs this the real life, or is this just fantasy ?

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