ADF Serials Newsletter
For those interested in Australian Military Aircraft History and Serials

December 2002
in this issue
-- The ADF Serials Team - Jan Herivel
-- World War 2 Nominal Roll
-- Can you help? - Neptune modifications
-- ROULETTE Mid-air Collision 15 Dec 1983 - John Crawley and Dean Norman
-- Gloster Gladiators - Gordon Birkett
-- Aussie Nightfighters of 456 Sqn - Beaufighter Kills (Gordon Birkett)
-- Oooops - Pass That By Me Again
-- Phantom Updates
-- More on the Turana's

We hope you are enjoying the ADF Serials Newsletter. This month we have a wide range of topics so there is sure to be something to interest everyone. One new section that will be appearing occasionally is the "Ooop - Run That By Me Again", the ADF Serials version of bloopers. I would like to acknowledge the hard work of one of the team, Dean Norman, who has been able to obtain some accident reports from the Directorate of Flying Safety - Air Force. Our grateful thanks to John Crawley from the Directorate for permission to reproduce these. We hope you all have a safe and happy Xmas and look forward to bringing you more information in the new year!

Coming up in future newsletters: * Friendly fire - the fate of Beaufort A9-225 * Sabre Mid Air Collision - Quirindi 19 Sep 1964 * Update on the Neptune question - what was SARAH? Why was she the crew's best friend? * How to access WW2 records from the National Archives of Australia

The ADF Serials Team - Jan Herivel
The first newsletter gave details of the group's interests and roles in the adf serials group. Over the next few newsletters, I will be profiling various group members and as I am editor, I am the first guinea pig! As a member of the adf-serials mob, my main research area is Bristol Beauforts and I also update our resources page. In my "other job" I am a librarian with a large city council and am currently working on the WW1 memorials and soldiers from the local district. Unfortunately for me, this has resulted in gaining the title of "military expert" from other staff members, which is definitely not the case!

My interest in Beauforts (World War 2 bombers) was sparked by my family history research. At an early age, I had been told the story of my great uncle Geoff, a Beaufort observer, who had been shot down by the Americans near Rabaul and died in the incident. Three of the four crew survived and were able to scramble into a life raft. They were spotted twice in the next 3 1/2 weeks before being lost forever. Over the years, I had tried to do a bit of research on the subject, but had little success. Last year, I decided to start looking again and was able to find out more about the story. I located the other members of the crew via the Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour and tracked down surviving relatives who were able to fill in details of the crew members. When I started searching for information on beaufort bombers, I opened a can of worms! First I checked out the adf-serials site and found that there was little on the incident. Then via the wonders of the Internet, I was able to contact an American researcher, who had the US Navy accident report on the incident. I was starting to get somewhere at last! Then I contacted the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons Association who were wonderful and able to put me in touch with a member of the last crew to see Geoff's crew alive in the life raft. This wonderful fellow even had the search map with the location of the last sighting on it. As I continued my research into Beauforts, I started gathering information and before long, decided that perhaps being administrator of the Beaufort page would assist in further research. Currently I am working on the compilation of Beaufort course lists and I have an extensive database on beaufort accidents (fatal and non fatal). I joined the adf-serials group about a year ago and at present am the only female administrator. The guys are all wonderful, there is a lot of cooperative research and assistance between members. Most of us have a "virtual friendship", that is, we have not met one another in real life. Darren Crick is the glue that holds the website together while the rest of us contribute as much (or as little given our busy lifestyles) as we can manage. We are always looking for additional people to assist us with researching our aviation heritage. If you are interested please email darren@adf-serials.com

World War 2 Nominal Roll
In November 2002, the World War 2 nominal roll was released. This project, undertaken by the Department of Veterans Affairs, also involved the Department of Defence, National Archives of Australia and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The roll comprises soldiers, sailors, airmen and merchant seamen.

Information that can be obtained from the nominal roll includes: *full name, * the service they enlisted in (army etc) * Place and date of birth (TREAT date of birth with CAUTION as many put their age up or down to join) * Date and place of enlistment * Next of kin * Date of discharge/death and rank on discharge/death * Posting on discharge/death * Any WW2 honours * POW status If you find a relative on this roll, you can then request the service records. More on this in our next newsletter.

Can you help? - Neptune modifications
Ron Cuskelly has been working through the status cards for P2V-5s and has a few questions: 1 During 1960,, the remaining 11 P@V5 were cycled throught CAC at Avalon for Mod 208. During 1961, they went back to Avalon for Mod 201. Does anyone know waht Mods 208 & 201 entailed? Ron's first thought was that they might have been the Mk 2 conversion (removal of nose and tail turrets) and the Mk 3 conversion (removal of the mid upper turret). However, by this time all aircraft were already in Mk 4 configuration with jet pods. The status cards DO NOT reflect the Mk 2 and 3 conversions - in fact the first work mentioned on the status cards is the jet pod modification (all aircraft were sent back to Lockheed for this) 2 Ron knows what JEZEBEL and JULIE (the anti- sub/sonarbuoy systems) but what was SARAH????

The challenge is on!!! Who can answer these questions first? If you can assist with either of these queries, please email ron@adf-serials.com

ROULETTE Mid-air Collision 15 Dec 1983 - John Crawley and Dean Norman
The following article has been reproduced courtesy of the Directorate of Flying Safety-Air Force with special thanks to Mr John Crawley. Thanks also to Dean Norman who was instrumental in obtaining permission for us to publish the article. ACCIDENT REPORT: On 15 December 1983 two Macchis of the Roulette aerobatic team collided near East Sale in Victoria. Both aircraft crashed and both pilots, who were flying solo, fatally injured. The changeover of the 1983 Roulette team to the 1984 team had occurred on 21 October 1983. Roulette 1 was unchanged while Roulette 5 became the new Roulette 2. The remainder were all new to the Roulettes. On 15 December the Roulette training sortie was the second "full show" practice and was briefed and authorized to fly not below 2,000 feet AGL. The accident occurred in the middle of the display sequence. Following a porteous loop, Roulette 3 positioned himself for the inverted departure opposition pass with Roulettes 1 and 2. Roulettes 1 and 2 were to fly their opposition pass in line abreast formation from behind the crowd line. This manoeuvre was to be done at right angles to the simulated crowd line with the pass occurring in front of the crowd line. This manoeuvre had been part of the Roulette display sequence for over two years and no problems had been evident in that time. Meanwhile Roulettes 4 and 5 had completed an opposition pass parallel to the display axis in front of the crowd line and were positioning behind the crowd line for the next manoeuvre. These pilots were not in a position to see the collision. Approximately 10-15 seconds after Roulettes 4 and 5 had completed their opposition pass, Roulettes 2 and 3 collided head on at a point over the crowd line. Roulette 1 sustained no damage. The pilot of Roulette 2 was killed instantly and both aircraft broke up in flight. During the break-up the pilot of Roulette 3, still restrained in his ejection seat, was separated from his aircraft. At seat separation, the barostat unit of his seat was activated; and, as the pilot was then released from his seat the main parachute was deployed, however, the seat remained attached to the parachute via the drogue bullet. The pilot landed safely in a swamp from which he was rescued initially by a local farmer's wife, then by Esso helicopter. The wreckage from both aircraft was strewn over a wide area approximately 1.5km long and 0.5km wide.

An Accident Investigation Team (AIT) was formed by DAFS and a Court of Inquiry was convened by the AOCSC to investigate the accident. The AIT commenced its investigation late that same afternoon. Wreckage reconstruction and analysis found no malfunction or unserviceability of either aircraft which had any bearing on the accident. The analysis of the wreckage did show however that Roulette 3's aircraft (the inverted aircraft) was approximately 40 degrees nose down in relation to the horizon at impact. Investigations centred on the reason Roulette 3 was 40 degrees nose down at impact and why Roulette 1 did not perceive that a collision was imminent and take evasive action from Roulette 3. Roulette 1 in fact noticed nothing unusual with the routine until a very short time before impact when he saw the silver underside of the Macchi rather than the yellow and white upper surface of the wing. This occurred at too late a stage to carry out any manoeuvre or transmit a warning call. Roulette 1 did say however that when he had rolled out for the opposition pass, Roulette 3 was heading slightly off track. Therefore for the collision to have taken place, Roulette 3 must have carried out a track adjustment whilst flying inverted. One interpretation of the evidence was that perhaps this track adjustment may have distracted the pilot of Roulette 3 sufficiently to allow the nose to drop slightly. When this was perceived by the pilot he considered that a collision was imminent and decided to pull clear rather than push or roll upright and pull. Another aspect examined concerned the ability of the human sensory system to perceive minor changes in relative motion. The aviation psychologist attached to the investigation provided evidence to show that the change in perspective from Roulette 3 as viewed from Roulette 1 during the initial stages of the manoeuvre could have been below the perception threshold, ie the change could be so small that although the eye could see it, it wouldn't be enough to trigger a response from the brain. Additionally, Roulette 1 may have expected to see Roulette 3 in a particular position which would have delayed recognition of a confliction. Another possible explanation for Roulette 3's actions may have been that as this was his first solo for this particular sequence, when he first saw Roulettes 1 and 2 they would have been above him and descending to fly beneath him. This may have given him the impression that a collision was imminent. Unfortunately no satisfactory explanation for this accident will ever be found and the lessons learned are therefore not as clear cut as they possibly could be. Display formation aerobatics is a demanding and exacting profession. There is an element of risk as there is in all flying, but the margins for error are slimmer than in a lot of our roles. Our selection of crews for this type of flying must be stringent, their supervision must be exacting, their training must be sufficient and their flying professional. On this occasion all of these factors were examined and found correct, and yet, frustratingly, they could not on this occasion prevent a mid-air collision. This type of accident, where no satisfactory explanation can be determined, fortunately is rare. The investigation and results are always published nonetheless for all aviators to read and digest in the hope that somehow lessons can be learned and as a result, similar accidents can be avoided in the future. If you would like further information on the Roulettes including the current Roulette team:

Link to RAAF Roulette home page

Gloster Gladiators - Gordon Birkett
Gordon has been busy chasing up details of Gloster Gladiators. The following is a list of the total number of Gladiators manufactured and serial allocation for the RAF. Gladiator I Serials: K6129-K6151 - First production batch, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1936-37. K7892-K8055 - Second production batch, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1937. L7608-L7623 - Second production batch, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1937. L8005-L8032 - Production follow-on order (intended originally as replacement machines), built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1937. Notes: L8005, L8012-L8028 were sold to Egypt and delivered in April 1939 were they are believed to have been re- numbered with Egyptian serials K1331-K1348. Some of these were subsequently taken back on RAF M.E. charge. Gladiator II Serials: N2265-N2314 - Built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938. N5500-N5549 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39. N5565-N5594 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39. N5620-N5649 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39. N5680-N5729 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39. N5750-N5789 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39. N5810-N5859 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39. N5875-N5924 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39. Notes: N2265; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39. N2267-N2277; modified as Sea Gladiators (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39. N2281-N2282; modified as Sea Gladiators (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39. N2296-N2299; modified as Sea Gladiators (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39. N2300; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 13/05/40. Loaned to 18 Squadron in June 1940. N2301; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 09/04/40. N2302; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 22/08/40. N5500-N5549, N5565-N5574; 60 aircraft transferred to Admiralty during manufacture and completed to full Sea Gladiator standard

Gordon's Rule of thumb, if it's N**** it's a Gladiator II's others are Gladiator I's

Aussie Nightfighters of 456 Sqn - Beaufighter Kills (Gordon Birkett)
Following the establishment of 456Sqn RAAF on Defiants, 30/06/1941, no kill s were achieved till the night of 10/11th January 1942, when the Unit was in the process of converting to the Bristol Beaufighter 11f's (Merlin engined Beau's). At that stage only one flight was so equipped. On that night , the Luftwaffe raided Liverpool, but with most of the 9th Group, RAF fields were closed due to weather. Only Valley RAF was opened, from which one of 456Sqn RAAF Beaufighters( a/c # unknown at this time) SqnLdr Hamilton with P/O Norris-Smith as Nav) manage to intercept a Dornier 217 near Nuneaton and shoot it down. This was 456's first action and kill of the war. The second kill came some months latter on the 18th May 1942, when P/O Wells and Sgt Lowther in T3022, while patroling near a convoy between Wicklow and Bardsey shot down a Ju88D( latter confirmed as 4U+FL of 3(F)Ausf 123 on reconnaisance). The German crew successfully ditched and were latter rescued. The third and last Beaufighter kill came on the night of the 29/30th of July 1942, when the CO of the Squadron, (a/c # unknown at this time) WgCmdr E.C.Wolfe, shot down a He111 at 8000ft, which exploded and crashed on a beach near Pwllheli. Towards the end of the year (November 1942), the squadron was converting to the MkV1 version, but the use of this version was short lived. Soon after in December 1942, the first Mosquito II's were accepted. The Beaufighter had had its day in Nightfighting. Some of the Beaufighters used by 456Sqn RAAF:Code initially SA then RX T3028/SA-V del 7/10/41(Colour :All Black)(a/c codes were to change Mid 42) T3370/RX-Z del 29/03/42(Colour:All Black)called the "Bunyip" with motif on left side)

Oooops - Pass That By Me Again
This is going to be an occasional column looking at errors in books or magazines I or others come across. It is inevitable that in writing a book or an article for a magazine that mistakes will be made. Sometimes I've heard of authors throwing up their hands in horror at the errors that have crept in during printing. Other times it is just that the material was not available, or the author didn't research all leads, or just didn't have access to some of the material that is available later on. Anyway it is my nightmare at the moment as I write my book. I'm paranoid as I check and double check references, or don't put something in until I have it confirmed in triplicate. Told you I was paranoid! Perhaps that is just me, but I'm sure others are like that too. Fortunately these days if one has access to the web, updates to the book can be displayed there for purchasers to make corrections. It is an option I'll be using and Darren has generously allowed, hopefully a small part of the ADF web site, to be used for this. (I'd like to think it is a miniscule part of the web site.:) I think we can expect to see more book authors in the future going for this option. For magazines it is easier because once the error is found a correction can be put in a future issue (provided it is still in circulation). So to the first oooops in this issue.

To those people who have a copy of "The P-40 Kittyhawk in Service" by Geoffrey Pentland which was first published in 1974 by Kookaburra Technical Publication P/L, this is to be te first book we'll have a look at. In fact we'll start with the cover of this book which features a painting by Geoff of 5 Kittyhawks with 2 in the foreground and 3 in the background skirting some smoke arising from a coastal target. I wish to concentrate on one of the foreground Kittys that just about fills most of the picture. The details of this P-40 in the picture are A29-401 HU- R with "EL TORO" on the cowl above the engine exhausts. The comments on the inside cover about this picture are: 'Sqn Ldr Arch ("Curl the Mo") Simpson in his aptly named P-40M "El Toro" leading a Kittybomber strike on a Japanese-held village near Noemfoor Island in 1944'. So let's have a look at the painting first. A29-401 was a P-40N-1 model, that depicted is a P-40N-5 or later with the cut down section behind the pilot's seat. Also according to Arch Simpson "El Toro" was not on any of the aircraft he flew. I think Geoff Pentland was using some poetic license or putting 2 and 2 together to get 5. The reason I say that is Arch Simpson's nickname was 'Bull' and putting "El Toro" on his aircraft seemed obvious, but it was not the case. I have not been able to confirm that 'R' was on A29-401, but I'm not confident in it as Arch was unable to remember or had recorded what its code was. As regards the the cover comments. Arch Simpson was never a S/L with 78 Sqn, the highest rank he held in the Sqn was F/Sgt when he left around late July 1944. As for the nickname 'Curl the Mo' he was never known by that in the Sqn but he was known as 'Bull'. As already mentioned above the Kittyhawk was a P- 40N-1 not a P-40M and the scene depicted probably never existed. The only time 78 Sqn could have been on a "strike on Japanese-held village near Noemfoor Island" would have been when they were based at Hollandia or at Noemfoor Is itself. The latter situation is not possible because the Sqn moved to Noemfoor Is on 20/6/44 but A29-401 was not longer with them due to being shot down and lost on 3/6/44 in action over Biak Is. The Sqn's move to Hollandia happened around 15/5/44 but none of the missions I've been able to find had them as far west as the caption suggests until the aircraft was shot down near Biak Is. My sources for this article were: Arch Simpson, ORB (Operation Record Book) of 78 Sqn, combat reports from 78 Sqn, numerous photos from many members of 78 Sqn (too many to list) and the status card for A29- 401. So if you have come across some errors or omissions in books or magazines please drop me a line giving details of the material and where the issue is and what sources you have used in determining this error. Common now there is heaps of material out there. Go for it. Please email gordonc@adf-serials.com
Phantom Updates
I have had the chance to go the the RAAF status cards for the Phantoms and have updated delivery dates as well as some other information.

We are lacking some construction numbers and looking for some images, so if you can help with anything on this page please let us know.

Darren Crick

Link to ADF Serials Phantom Page...

More on the Turana's
The information coming in the on the Turana's is varied, but thankfully we have been able to prove the location of a few and know the location of others but need to verify the id's.

The Turana Page has been updated to reflect these changes and can be visited by selecting the link below;

If you can help with further information please visit the website and click on the option to provide updates..

Darren Crick

To view what we have to date, click here...

Hits to this Page since 22/05/03.

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