Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 12, 2011 18:32:57 GMT 12
Does anyone have colour and marking details of Royal Navy Fairey Firefly Mk. 1 fighters flown by New Zealanders in WWII?
Particularly in the dark sea grey scheme, and of particular interest would be the Fireflies in the British Pacific Fleet crewed by kiwi pilots and/or observers.
I know of only one crew, pilot Berne O'Neill and observer Ian Darby who were shot down over Japan on 10th of August 1945 in a Firefly, both becoming POW's. I have interviewed Ian and have copies of his photos but none clearly show serial numbers. Does anyone know what the serial of their aircraft was that was shot down that day?
Or has anyone details of other kiwis who flew Fireflies in the British Pacific Fleet, and of their aircraft (serial number, squadron, code letter, nose art?).
My mate is building a model in 1/48 and wants a kiwi scheme.
Post by Andy Wright on Dec 12, 2011 22:39:30 GMT 12
I reckon the best source for basic details of the markings of a BPF Firefly would be the old girl at Duxford. Might be able to ask about colours used etc. Probably some Osprey books etc out there but just trying to think outside the box for you, Dave. I'm afraid I can't think of any Kiwi Firefly chaps but will check David Alison's book but I think you have that so you'll have already looked there.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 12, 2011 23:01:08 GMT 12
Hi Andy, it's not the colours as such that are in question but the markings for specific Fireflies flown by kiwis. We're looking for aircraft identities that connect to NZ'ers.
I actually don't have a copy of Dave Allison's book.
By the way that BPF Firefly "Evelyn Tentions" hasn't been at Duxford for some years, it is now at Yeovilton. There is an ex-Swedish one at Duxford in yellow though, stored. I wonder if any kiwis flew in "Evelyn Tentions"?
Post by Andy Wright on Dec 12, 2011 23:16:24 GMT 12
Yeovilton is a good place for it. The aircraft is a good base to work from at least for detail etc.
I found reference to another crew in the Allison book but only the observer was a Kiwi:
Sub Lt (A) Thomas Chalmers Glen McBride RNZNVR with No. 1772 Sqn when on Friday, Aug 10, 1945 he, with pilot Glyn Roberts flying Firefly DT979 off HMS Indefatigable, was on a strike against Koriyama airfield 30 miles from the coast and 100 miles north of Tokyo when they were shot down over the target. The aircraft and graves have not been found although the sale of an RR engine by locals in the area to a fishing company created some interest (am assuming fairly soon after date of crash).
TCGM was 27 when he died and was survived by his wife Linda Ivy McBride. Can scan the rest if you like, Dave.
Detail from pages 278-9 of Flying Navy - New Zealanders Who Flew In The Fleet Air Arm by David Allison 2009 ISBN 978-0-473-14460-9.
I noted other detail of Firefly chaps but some were post-war and the rest seemed to be involved int he attacks on Tirpitz and Norway. Will check again tomorrow. Bed time!
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 13, 2011 1:20:18 GMT 12
Ah, of course, several of the FAA chaps I talked with mentioned Glen McBride, he was a very popular chap, and had not long been married when he was killed, a few days before the war ended and on their last raid of the war. Ian Darby had been close friends with Glen, they had trained together and were shot down on the same strike. From memory they served on the same squadron on the same carrier, not certain of that though. I had forgotten all about him till you mentioned him.
A scan of that McBride entry would be of interest, thanks.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 13, 2011 1:53:52 GMT 12
Dave spent over 20 years putting the book together and it finally came out just before he passed away. I was lucky to visit him only weeks before he died, and he was a great chap to talk with about the Fleet Air Arm.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 16, 2011 11:44:44 GMT 12
OK, so my mate has settled on the idea of modelling the 1/48 Firefly as the one that Glen McBride was lost in. he was the last New Zealand airman lost on air operations in WWII so it's a fitting tribute.
I found the aircraft's serial number in Errol Martyn's 'For You Tomorrow' Volume Two, which is DT979. However it does not list a code letter, and at that time it is thought that the aircraft all wore clode letters. Does anyone here know what that code letter was please?