ADF Serials Newsletter

For those interested in Australian Military Aircraft History and Serials

ã 2003

October 2003

In this Issue:


Editor’s blurb: Hi again everyone. Our mailbag this month was full of different research requests and information and I thank all those who contribute which makes my job as editor a lot easier! This month Gordon B looks at Presentation Spitfires. We will return to Gordon’s research on P-40’s in coming editions, as there have been some exciting developments in this research. With Christmas coming up, there are details of a new Australian publication and also a NZ publication that details the fate of NZ airman in RNZAF and Allied squadrons.

We have some news from Temora and the Museum of Flight that may interest some readers and we are happy to include any details of aviation happenings in future newsletters.

We have a couple of Can you help requests this month and one that is particularly important is the impressive work being compiled by Alan Chambers re serving with Bomber Command during WW2. This is particularly relevant to Aus aviation researchers as many Australians served (and died) with Bomber Command during this period. If you can assist, please use the feedback link.

Until next month,



Newsletter bits and pieces

Most people with email accounts will have complained about the increasing problem with Spam mail. To counter this, the newsletter no longer provides links to various researchers, either within the ADF-Serials group or to external researchers. Rather we provide a generic feedback link and the information is passed onto the relevant people. Information via the feedback link is also heavily protected to prevent access via spammers.

Additionally, the details of newsletter subscribers are not held on our server (or on a networked computer) and we have found that the current system of emailing a link to the current newsletter is working effectively.

The ADF-Serials group recently received feedback about whether or not it was appropriate to list the ADF capabilities on a publicly accessible website. Our information is usually of an historical nature and is already in the public domain somewhere. An example of this is the serial of a Herc used to transport wounded after the Bali bombing last year. Anyone who watched the news or the commemorative programmes saw one Herc with the serial A97-465, hence no secret. However, we do not publish details of current activities/commitments.

A recent example highlighting how seriously we consider the security and safety of our defence personnel concerned a photograph taken during a recent commitment. The photograph showed part of the face of a maintenance worker. The group decided that the photograph would not be added to our website in its current state despite the fact that there was little detail that could identify the person.








Presentation Spitfires in Australian Service – Gordon B

It was early in World War II when Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister for Wartime Production, originated the idea of the "presentation aircraft". The idea was a morale boosting exercise for a population that was facing, almost alone, the onslaught of the German war machine in 1940.

A "price list" was set out with £5,000 for a single-engine aircraft, £20,000 for a twin-engine aircraft and £40,000 for a four-engine aircraft. These did not represent the actual cost of the type of aircraft, but was considered a fair value to have one’s assigned name in four inch high yellow characters on the fuselage forward of the cockpit, as in the Spitfire‘s case.

A presentation Spitfire at £5,000 came to represent the ultimate choice, with many towns and organisations starting "Spitfire Funds" to help do their bit for the war effort. Many went to great lengths to raise the money required, resulting in around 11% of the total production of Spitfire Mk I, II, or V versions built during 1940-1942. How many is that? Nearly 1000 named Spitfire aircraft in fact.

In Australia, I have found only one example where permission was requested for the establishment of such a Spitfire Fund, the "Western Australian Spitfire Fund" during 1941 to purchase a Spitfire for UK operations. There are no further details as to whether the required £5,000 was raised or from the records available, whether a Spitfire was so named.

I suspect that the answer, following research on some War Cabinet Minutes documents dated 4th June 1941, lies in the following quote:

"The Treasurer referred to a request that has been received for authority to permit the raising of funds for the purchase of Spitfire aircraft along the lines of the appeals which have proven so popular in Britain. It was observed that any funds would really amount to contributions to the British Treasury, and that they could not be authorised. The only class of appeal for funds for overseas purposes which are to be permitted are those for special purposes, such as the relief of citizens in bombed areas".

Thus died the one and only attempt by Australia to have its own presentation Spitfire.

Though having been denied a named Spitfire through public subscription, our association with presentation Spitfires didn’t end there as 452 and 457 Squadrons had at various times several on strength during 1941-1942, as the following selection shows:

X4936 " In Memory of RJ Mitchell" ff17/01/41, 6MU 01/02/41, 457Sqn RAAF 23/06/41, 58OTU 22/10/41, Flying accident Cat B 26/11/42, repaired by Scottish Aviation Ltd, 5FTS Cranwell 12/07/43, Royal Navy Deposit Account 15/01/44.

P8380 "Black Velvet" 9MU 30/04/41,74Sqn RAF 09/05/41, 403Sqn RCAF 24/07/41,54Sqn RAF 04/08/41, 403Sqn RCAF 25/08/41, 457Sqn RAAF 27/09/41, hit lorry at base Cat E 01/12/41 53 OTU 15/06/42, flew into ground bad weather, Cymmer, Wales 15/08/42, Soc 21/08/42.

P8085 "Garfield Weston VII" 38MU 26/02/41, 303Sqn RAF 13/03/41, 452Sqn RAAF 27/05/41, Cat D crashed Conisholme, Yorks Cat E, 05/07/41.Soc 11/07/41.

P8361 "Krakatao (NEI)" 6MU 10/04/41,303Sqn RAF 18/04/41,452Sqn RAAF 04/06/41, FTR Ops 09/08/41, Soc 10/09/41.

X4908 "Southern Railway Invicta" ff27/12/40, 8MU 04/01/41, 457Sqn RAAF 22/06/41, 130Sqn RAF 02/11/41, 81Sqn RAF 16/02/42, 165Sqn RAF 12/04/42, 5UAS(University Air Sqn) 22/08/42, P&PSM 06/01/43 to cvt to MkVa, 61OTU 15/06/43, Flying accident Cat B 18/07/43, Soc 06/06/45.

On a final note, one that didn’t make Australian service but was accepted by the renowned red haired 452 Sqn Spitfire Fighter Ace, Squadron Leader Keith "Bluey" Truscott on the 27/08/41 was AB935, "Gingerbread". Redheads of Britain funded this particular aircraft which later went on to serve with 92 Sqn RAF and was finally shipped to the Middle East in 1943.

Thanks to Bob Livingstone for his help…



Australian Museum of Flight Public Lecture Saturday 8 November 2003, 7 pm

The extraordinary exploits of Dr Maurice Kirk, the Welsh vet who flew his tiny Piper Cub halfway around the world in 2001, will be the subject of an illustrated public address to be given at Australia's Museum of Flight on the evening of Saturday, November 8th.

The 58 year-old diminutive Cub (G-KIRK) was one of the smallest aircraft to compete in the 14,000 mile London-to-Sydney Air Race which ended with a triumphant flypast of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in April 2001.

The single-engine Cub took twenty-eight days and 200 flying hours to

complete the epic journey which was punctuated by numerous equipment

failures and encounters with foreign officials.

Dr Kirk has set his sights on attending the 2004 Oshkosh airshow in North America (the world's biggest fly-in), and has returned to Australia - accompanied by his engineer, to ready the Cub for the next epic leg of its round-the-world journey. The Cub has been on public display at the Museum since 2001.

The lecture is scheduled to commence at 7pm in the Museum's Admiral

Robertson Auditorium, admission being a gold coin donation.

Enquiries: Phone: 02-44241920



News from the Temora Aviation Museum 18/19 October 2003

Ted Sly (WWII fighter pilot) will be attending the Museum’s October 18th & 19th weekend to officially launch his new book – The Luck of the Draw and to autograph copies. Ted has also written a display for the Museum gallery highlighting his recollections of his service during WWII.

The Museum staff is preparing the aircraft and facilities for the next flying display. We are pleased to be able to announce that Matt Denning will be bringing his Boomerang to Temora for the flying days on October 18th & 19th. Also joining us will be some WWII Spitfire pilots and a D type jag that will race the Spitfire.

Mounting of Iroquois at Dandenong 16 November 2003-10-13

Those living in Melbourne may be interested to know that an ex-US Army UH-1 is scheduled to be lifted onto its display pole on Sunday 16 November 2003 at the Dandenong RSL Club.



Bookshelf -

New Title "Fairy Battles in the RAAF" John Lever

John Lever, who has authored a number of books on RAAF Units and aircraft including "No 6 OUT, Base Torpedo Unit", has just released a new title dealing with the history of the Fairy Battle in the RAAF and its role in the training of RAAF Observers/Navigators and air gunners at the RAAF’s Bombing and Gunnery Schools and Air Gunnery School.

The book contains three or four photos of what John believes are part course photos and several group photos of members in the Sergeants Mess. The book is available from John Lever at the following address:

Post Office – Koorlong Vic, 3501.


For Your Tomorrow – Errol W Martin (limited edition of 300)

Those interested in NZ aviation history might be interested in this title which is "A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF
and Allied Air Services since 1915"

The two-volume set contains the following:

VOLUME ONE: FATES 1915-1942 (304 pages - fates of 1900 casualties described)
VOLUME TWO: FATES 1943-1998 (448 pages - fates of 2900 casualties described

This title documents in detail for the first time all New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF or Allied Air Services since 1915. Volumes One and Two set down in chronological order fate information for all known fatal casualties from the First World War through to December 1998. The final volume, to follow, will provide brief biographical facts (including full cemetery and memorial data for all of those who died during WWI and WWII) for each of the 4800 personnel whose fates have been described in the first two volumes.

Coverage is comprehensive, not only are operational losses described but also those resulting from accidents, or natural or other causes. In addition to those of the RNZAF, nearly 700 New Zealanders who died belonged to the AFC, FAA, RAAF, RAF, RCAF, RFC, RNAS, USAAF, etc, or were civilians fully employed in wartime military aviation.

Thanks to Ivan Prince, our NZ expert for details of this title.

Bomber Command Project – Can you assist this worthwhile research project being undertaken by Alan Chambers in England?

Alan explains his project….

I am working on a huge database that, hopefully, in the fullness of time, will record every Bomber Command sortie flown during the war. This database was started with the intention of helping out former Bomber Crewmembers re-discover what they actually did during the war. One benefit has been to assist families of these men out and has helped to put crews back together again for the first time since they were operational. My ultimate aim is to give copies to establishments that will enable it to be used as a learning tool for future generations, so they may more fully understand the sacrifice made for world peace.

My database is formed of some sixty-five sub-databases, each of which represents what I have been able to record about a particular squadron. Thus far, just over 84,000 sorties have been recorded from all squadrons. This, I’m sure you will agree, leaves a massive shortfall, though also, represents some considerable efforts from the former aircrew who have already helped me out. I have already collected over five hundred logbook copies that have been generously donated to my cause. Added to this, I have been able to obtain thirteen different squadron’s full Operational Records Books, with another three squadrons where I have obtained over half of all sorties recorded by each squadron, much of this at my own expense, though I ask no fee to help people out. Many other squadrons already have very good coverage in my database.

I started researching the operational history of Bomber Command when I was thirteen years old, this was thirty years ago and the project is still going strong. I am often asked why I started this project, it’s hard to come up with a definite answer to that question as I have a number of reasons, all true but one definitely not likely to be the reason.

  1. From aged eight to thirty I lived in a small hamlet just to the east of Lincoln called Cherrywillingham, bordering the village is the old RAF Fiskerton airfield, the wartime home of 49 and 576 squadrons. This was my childhood play arena and many happy hours were spent on the old drome.
  2. Further to the above, my middle school was actually housed in the old Sergeant’s Mess of RAF Fiskerton. Although many of the buildings still standing in the playground area were decrepit, I enjoyed my time at this school enormously – thankfully, such dangerous conditions are no longer allowed where children are playing.
  3. I lived on the flight path to RAF Waddington at the time and the Lancaster PA474 was based there, often it would draw the whole neighbourhood out as it went overhead.
  4. I chose the Lancaster as my English project at senior school, as a result of this project I was able to reunite a crew and they suggested there was a need for this kind of research.

Should you decide you would like to contribute to this project, then below is an outline of what I am seeking. Obviously, it represents the whole spectrum of what I am looking for, though I would be happy with anything you are prepared to let me know. I would not presume to try and push you past a point that you are happy and comfortable with.

  1. Individual aircrew members.
  2. Whole or part aircrew.
  3. Aircraft flown – Bombers only.
  4. Panoramas of the airfield.
  5. In flight shots.
  6. Anything else considered by you to be relevant.

  1. Details of combat.
  2. Details of damage.
  3. Overview of single operation.
  4. Overview of tour.
  5. Off duty moments.
  6. Time on camp.

Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter which will contain some of Alan’s research on 460 Sqn Lancasters.

Alan’s comprehensive project has enormous relevance to Australian military history as many RAAF crew served with Bomber Command during WW2. – Ed


On this Day…

3 Oct 1992 Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated in Canberra

6 Oct 1971 2OCU Mirage A3-109 crashes into the sea off Sydney killing the pilot FLGOFF Kenneth Dale. The cause of the accident remains a mystery.

16 Oct 1967 Royal Australian Navy helicopters deploy to Vietnam

23 Oct 1943 Flight Lieutenant W E Newton granted the Victoria Cross posthumously

26 Oct 1969 Loss of 9 Sqn Iroquois A2-769 after being hit by heavy enemy ground fire.

29 Oct 1991 Worst peace time loss for the RAAF in almost 20 years when 33 Sqn B707 A20-103 crashed into the sea near East Sale while on a training flight killing all crew.

Thank you to Dean whose aircraft losses research assisted me with dates for this month’s On this Day - Jan


Can You Help?

Dorin Luck would like assistance with the following research:

Do you have or know where I might get colour photo documentation for a Dehavilland DH94 Moth Minor? I noticed the yellow one on your website, and thought someone might have some photos.

If you can assist, please email: and we will pass it on.

More on VH-ABR – from Chris Charland

The aircraft is a DC-3-202A and indeed served with No. 8 Squadron R.A.A.F. The aircraft was taken on strength with the squadron on the 11th of September 1939. It was subsequently given the civil rego VH-ABR and entered commercial service with A.N.A. on the 17th of May 1940. This is when it received its name 'Kanana'. Incidently, four airline DC-3's were chartered in September 1939 by the R.A.A.F. as a stopgap measure while they built up their operational inventory. The aircraft were assigned R.A.A.F. serial numbers A30-1 to A30-4. They remained in service with the R.A.A.F. until 1940.

During the Second World War, Australian commercial airlines such

as Guinea, A.N.A. and Q.A.N.T.A.S. operated a number of DC-3's on loan from the U.S.A.A.F. They were exclusively used for military transport duties. These aircraft used Australian regos and each issued with a Certificate of Airworthiness. The R.A.A.F. used the following series of regos for the DC-3's. They were:




It can get very confusing as many of the VH-C series of regos were used a number of times by the U.S.A.A.F. The rego block VH-RCA to VH-REZ was used by No.'s 19 and 20 Squadrons of the Netherlands East Indies Air Force.

Many thanks for the information Chris – we’re always happy to add to what we already have – Editor.



We value the feedback of the people who visit our website and those who read the newsletter. If you would like to tell us what you think of the website or newsletter please use this link:

Recent Feedback:

Bob sent us the following comment: I have a excellent photo of A30-10 from the photo collection of a deceased family relative who served with RAAF/120(NEI)Squadron. I would like to send you a JPEG file of it for you to add to the A30-10 listing and possibly get some descriptive feedback about it, as I have no documentation or information about it. It shows the cargo door being opened with a "top brass" standing in the doorway of A30-10 being greeted by a group of people.

Subject: VH-ANA crash, near Guildford 1950

James Chapple comments: I am the Grandson of Captain Robert Chapple, mentioned in the Graham Higgs article within the "Crash Sites" part of the website. Over the past years I have casually researched the crash but have had much trouble finding info on it. If you could help with any research directions with which I could find details of the crash or other related information, I would be very grateful for contacts, information or places I could try to help gain a better knowledge of what happened.


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