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Hurricane mk 1

27 Aug
2012

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Merchant Ship Fighter Unit Sea Hurricane Mk IA V7504

One of the more unusual applications of airpower at sea was the use of ‘throw away’ Hurricanes to protect merchant shipping as the vessels crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Hurricane’s fuel was exhausted, the aircraft either had to be abandoned or ditched; ahead of the convoy if the action
A new unit, designated the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit, or MSFU, was formed on 5 May 1941 at Speke. The MSFU also had detachments at Abbotsinch, Nova Scotia, Canada; Archangel, northern Russia; and Gibraltar. The MSFU was ultimately disbanded on 7 September 1943, having been assigned ‘KE’, ‘LU’, ‘N)’ and ‘XS’ codes. Its Hurricanes were informally called ‘I lurricats’ or ‘Catafighters’.
The concept behind the MSFU was a simple one, whereby a Hawker I lurricane would be launched from the deck of a Catapult Armed Merchant ship, or CAM ship, at the first indication of either surveillance or attack by far-ranging Luftwaffe aircraft, especially the Fw 200 Condor. The fighters were also expected to attack any surfaced U-boats. The major drawback to the scheme was that once the mission was completed and/or the
Some 35 ships were re-fitted with rocket-propelled catapults in their bows and it should be noted that not all the catapults were to the same design. Some were mounted perfectly horizontally, while others were noticeably angled down toward the bow of the ship.
The photographs presented here specifically show Sea Hurricane Mk 1A V7504. 

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Left: A starboard view of V7504 on its cradle on a ship in the Bedford Basin, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visible are the yellow outboard leading edges as well as the covered ejection ports. The dark engine panels are simply in shadow.

It had previously been assigned to Nos 303 and 253 Squadrons, before being converted for MSFU use. V7504 was never used operationally by the MFSU, however, since it was not lost at sea and was later on the strength of No. 56 OTU, and then by No. 1 Tactical Exercise Unit at Tealing, where it was damaged beyond repair on 19 March 1944.

Mk hurricanes

V7504 had Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey uppersurfaces, in the A Scheme, with Sky undersurfaces. The aircraft was coded ‘LU-M’ and carried an insignia on the port side of its fuselage below the cockpit. The insignia, also in Sky, was of a winged angel carrying an uplifted sword. The codes, fuselage tail band and spinner were also in Sky. The code letters were of an unusually thin dimension and were approximately 30 in high. The fuselage roundels were 35 in in diameter and red/white/blue/yellow, and the fin flash was the 24- x 27-in size. The overwing roundels were of the 49-in diameter red/blue type, with the under-wing roundels being 50 in in diameter and in red/white/blue. This aircraft also carried yellow leading edge markings between its landing and wingtip lights.
Aboard ship, the ‘Hurricat’ was securely mounted to the catapult by a set of five stays, in addition to the launch cradle. These stays were used while in transit and removed during preparations for launch. Two stays were positioned under each wing, just outboard of the centre section, with the fifth immediately ahead of the carburettor intake. The stays were attached to the airframe at attachment points located under purpose built panels.
V7504 was also modified with a heating system to keep it ready to launch in cold weather. A large heating tube was attached beneath the centre section, feeding up through the catapult structure. The tube was then fitted to a cover over the radiator that helped force the hot air through the airframe. The excess air was bled off via two hinged vents beneath each wing tip.
Lastly, the aircraft’s machine-gun openings were covered by dark red doped fabric. A detail most often missed is that the case-ejection ports beneath the wings were also covered with the same dark red doped fabric. This fabric was attached to thin ropes that were pulled prior to flight. Not normally seen on land-based aircraft, this modification was made to keep out the ever present salt-water spray and to help seal the airframe so that the heated air would remain inside. V7054 was equipped with only the two inboard machine-guns in each wing. A modified panel, with just the inboard ejection ports, was therefore fitted under each wing.
Eight operational catapult launches were made from CAM ships, with six enemy aircraft shot down for the loss of one RAF pilot.

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1 144th scale aircraft

Hurricane mk

In Dale Clarke’s RAF update column in the February 2006 (27/12) issue, he made an appeal for any photographs of FAA aircraft serving with the RAF. I immediately recalled my friend allowing me to copy photos from his album. Also, it was agreed that I could borrow his log book, so that the details could be extracted. The outcome was some interesting photos and the entire flying log copied into an exercise book!
Sadly, the gentleman is no longer with us, but I know he would be proud to know his photos are seeing the light of day. He ended his service in World War II as a Warrant Officer, having flown a good variety of aircraft in the UK, North Africa and Aden. It is the Aden posting that was an eye opener for me, when I realised that here the RAF used the Albacore. He was posted to the Communication Flight, Aden, in December 1945 and flew this aircraft, and

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the Wellington and Ventura, as second pilot. He was there until June 1946 when his demob number came up and he was posted back to the UK.
From his log book I can list the serials of the Albacores: X9287, X9259, BF588, X9232,X9231 and N4388, two of which appear in the attached photographs.
Les Scarlett, the man in question, is seen in
Photo 1. He told me the aircraft were used owing to the poor landing task was supplying army units, occasion when he had to take earlier aircraft ended up with a consumed their iron rations wh did they get onto the tailplane? interesting shots.

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Les shrugged his shoulders \ ing of his aircraft, or its markin an interest in such detail. ding sites in the area. Their main Tits. Photo 2 was taken on the ake spares out to a strip after an th a puncture. The crew patiently ; while they waited for help. How эпе? Photos 3 and 4 are simply srs when asked about the colour-irkings. Crews just did not take

Tornado GR. Mk 4 comments from The Aviation Workshop

Dear Paul
Regarding the Tornado GR. Mk 4/4A article in the March 2006 (28/1)
SAM, I would like to make the following comments and additions relating to the Kits, Decals and Accessories List
1:72 scale kits:
The Hasegawa Tornado GR. Mk 1 and Revell Tornado GR. Mk 1 both need upgrading to GR. Mk 4 standard, but are far superior to the Airfix kit, which does not represent a full GR. Mk 4 upgrade anyway

Decals:

The Euro 1:32 Scale Decals are produced in conjunction with Model Alliance Decals
1:72 scale accessories:
The Aviation Workshop produces a wide range of 1:72 scale accessories for the Tornado GR. Mk 4:

Spitfire and Seafire information required

Dear Paul
I’ve been researching Spitfire F. Mk 24 VN496, and Seafire FR. Mk 47 VR971, for a number of years as they were the last Spitfire and Seafire, respectively, to be built. Sadly, they were not preserved for posterity as the last Hurricane was.
CS-100 Storm Shadow missiles CS-101 Tornado GR. Mk 4 update set CS-104 RAPTOR recce pod CS-105 Martin Baker Mk 10 ejection seats CS-107 Vinten recce pod CS-108 1,000Tb ‘iron’ bombs CS-109 JP233 dispensers CS-110 ‘Hindenburger’ fuel tanks CS-112 TIALD pods
CS-114 Tornado F. Mk 3 update including standard GR. Mk 4 fuel tank
CS-115 2,000-1 b Paveway II LGB
CS-120 Brimstone missile pack (to be released shortly)
CS-121 Paveway III LGBs (to be released shortly)
CS-122 BOL Rails (to be released shortly)
CS-125 ALARM missiles plus rails (to be released shortly)
CS-126 Enhanced Paveway II GPS/INS bombs (to be released shortly)
CS-127 Enhanced Paveway III GPS/INS bombs (to be released shortly)

Gary Madgwick, The Aviation Workshop, via e-mail

Surprisingly, there is very little information available about these two aircraft. My aim is to add these important aircraft to my Spitfire family collection. Does any reader have any information, or photographs, of these two which they’d be willing to share?

Robert Humphreys, robat_humphreys@yahoo. co. uk

El Adem on the move?

Dear Paul

On page 684 of the December 2005 (27/10) issue, Keith Sherwood places El Adem in Egypt. I was in the RAF at El Adem in 1968-69 and British forces were definitely persona non grata in Egypt; a small matter of the Suez crisis in 1956, did nothing to sweeten relations.
El Adem is 18 miles into the desert south east of Tobruck, Libya, and the Egyptian border is still a long way further east.

David Howley, via e-mail

… as it might have been

Dear Paul

I was very interested in the Concorde series that appeared in issues 27/12 and 28/1 (February and March 2006). It reminded me of a recently unearthed copy of the Royal Air Force Golden Jubilee Souvenir Book, dated 1968. An article within, entitled A Bold Assessment of the Next Fifty Years, suggests – complete with an artist’s impression – another use for Concorde: as a platform for three Blue Steel standoff nuclear missiles, providing an ultra-long range, relatively inexpensive manned strike aircraft! It goes on: ‘this might even be an economical way of doing the job if universal opposition to the sonic boom prevented the use of supersonic airliners on overland routes, leaving a lot of shiny new cancelled airframes available at sale price!’ Noting like optimism, but the article does go on to propose an updated TSR.2, compete with swing-wing!

Mark Clements, via e-mail

Hurricane codes

Dear Paul

I read with interest the article Hurricanes on a Budget in SAM Vol. 27, No. 11, January 2006. I think there has been an error with the No. 6 Squadron aircraft, JV-S. On the port side of the aircraft the unit letters, ie JV, should be aft of the roundel, not forward of it.

Graham Booker, via e-mail

Missing Та 152

Dear Paul

Jerry Rutman’s full resin and etched-metal kit in 1:32 of the Focke-Wulf Та 152 is not in the Kit List of the February 2006 (27/12) issue’s Aircraft in Profile article on the Fw 190D and Та 152. It’s my next build but one!

Tony Grand, via e-mail

Seafire Mk XVII and more B-17C colours

Dear Paul

I liked very much the feature on the Seafire which appeared in SAM Vol. 27, No. 7 (September 2005), as I share Tony O’Toole’s opinion about the Mk XVII being the best looking Seafire. I would like to add a small bit of information about operational squadrons with this variant, which were in fact three, not just two:
No. 805 NAS operated the Seafire XVII between April 1947 and June 1948. At the time this was an RN unit (it was later transferred to the RAN) and operated in the Mediterranean from HMS
Ocean. Incidentally, the picture on page 62 of Wings of Fame Volume 16, that Tony O’Toole refers to, shows a No. 805 NAS Seafire XVII (coded 105/0), probably a visitor on HMS Triumph, right behind the aircraft he modelled, ‘173/P’.
No. 805 NAS had initially operated Seafire XVs and, like other squadrons operating the Mk XV, remained shore based for a few months (at Hal Far, Malta) until technical problems with the Griffon engine were overcome. Surprisingly, in view of its shortcomings, the Seafire XV appears to have been

‘262s and Tomcats

Dear Paul
I’ve just finished reading the March 2006 (28/1) issue of
SAM and it was wonderful to see Ted Taylor’s build of the Trumpeter Me 262. I remember seeing his original, based on the Revell kit, years ago. Ted was, and still is, a great inspiration to me and I’m always amazed at the quality of his work.
In answer to Gordon G. Ness’ question re-Tomcat and Phantom cockpit colours in the 27/12 (February 2006) issue, the F. S. number is 36231, ie Humbrol 140 or Xtracolor X403. I would add a little white to both of these as they appear too dark for 1:48 scale, although, having said that, I’ve yet to find two colour pictures that show the same shade of this colour and have been known to grab the first medium-ish grey that looks right.

David Finch, via e-mail

B-17C colours

Dear Paul
With regard to Dave Fleming’s letter in the September 2005 (27/7) issue, in particular the delivery scheme for the B-17C, Geoff Thomas provided a photograph, in his article for the November 1987
Aircraft Mode/world, captioned: ‘AN529 at Squires Gate in April 1941, with the temporary Dark Olive Drab finish already worn away from the nose, wheel hubs, engine cowlings and leading edges’. In the text this finish is described as: ‘water based Dark Olive Drab 31 and Neutral Grey 32’.
There is another photograph later in the article with the caption: ‘B-17Cs for the RAF were refurbished at Boeing Field. Basic camouflage was applied before they were ferried to the UK. Note incorrect AM-serials’. The aircraft are shown in natural metal finish with dark Olive Drab fabric areas. Since the RAF scheme was not available at the time, it was to be applied in the UK.

Richard Moore, via e-mail

Martinet muddle

Dear Paul

The Occasional Colours on Fleet Air Arm support aircraft in Vol. 27 No. 6 (August 2005) was excellent. However, Martinet PX134 is from No. 722 NAS, not 772 NAS.
I suspect that this error arises from the Sturtivant/Burrow’s book
Fleet Air Arm aircraft 1939-1945, where PX134 is listed as being with 772 NAS, although a photograph of it appears under 722 NAS in Sturtivant/Ballance’s book Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm.

Roger Andrews, via e-mail

more widely employed than the XVII; can any reader comment on this?
In the same issue of
Scale Aircraft Modelling, a letter from Dave Fleming comments on Fortress Mk I colour schemes. The colours were described rather accurately by Michael J. F. Bowyer in his book Bombing Colours 1937-1973. The book is long out of print, but is based on colour observations made by the author himself. Fortress Is are said to have worn a Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky finish, with medium grey codes, until late June 1941. Before operations started in July, the Dark Earth was replaced by a dark grey shade and the codes became Sky. At the beginning of August 1941, the aircraft’s undersurfaces received a new colour. Quoting Bowyer: ‘It was Azure Blue, which became the standard colour until their withdrawal from European operations. … although over their period of service I managed to see all of 90 Squadron’s aircraft, I never at any time saw any in the supposed Deep Sky finish, and none after July wearing brown-green camouflage’.

Claudio Narduzzi, via e-mail

Please send your letters to: The Editor, Guideline Publications, Unit 3, Enigma Building, Bilton Road, Denbigh East, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, IVIK1 1HW, UK, or by e-mail to: steve®regallitho. co. uk_I

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1 Response to Hurricane mk 1

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John Engelsted

May 22nd, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Any chance of seeing the logbook of Les Scarlett?

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