Post by Dave Homewood on May 17, 2012 1:31:18 GMT 12
Looking at Dick Branch's logbook, after he completed his navigation training in Canada, he had a brief stinit with RAF Ferry Command, in which he flew as navigator in a B-25 Mitchell from Hamilton Field, San Francisco, USA to Brisbane, Australia over the period of 18-21 April 1942.
The Mitchell's serial number is 112490. Does anyone know, was this being ferried from the factory to the USAAF or US Navy in Australia, or was it RAF? Or was it being delivered to the RAAF? Any clues?
I'm just curious. I wonder where it ended up and what its fate was.
Post by Luther Moore on May 17, 2012 2:20:27 GMT 12
Does this help?
On 30 June 1941 the ML-KNIL ordered 162 North American B-25C Mitchells with first deliveries scheduled for March 1942. The ML-KNIL serials N5-122 to N5-283 were reserved for these aircraft. To speed up deliveries it was decided to swap the aircraft for similar aircraft earlier on the production line. The initial batch of 162 aircraft, which had NAA charge numbers 90-11819/11980, was eventually delivered to the USAAF as 42-53332/53493. The ML-KNIL serials were used again at a later date.
To replace them, and also reflecting the changed urgencies of the time, the USdiverted 60 B-25Cs from other orders to the ML-KNIL in January 1942.
These aircraft concerned had USAAF serials 41-12437, 41-12438, 41-12439, 41-12440, 41-12441, 41-12442, 41-12443, 41-12444, 41-12445, 41-12447, 41-12448, 41-12449, 41-12450, 41-12451, 41-12452, 41-12454, 41-12455, 41-12457, 41-12460, 41-12462, 41-12464, 41-12466, 41-12468, 41-12470, 41-12472, 41-12476, 41-12478, 41-12480, 41-12481, 41-12482, 41-12483, 41-12484, 41-12485, 41-12486, 41-12487, 41-12488, 41-12489, 41-12490, 41-12491, 41-12492, 41-12494, 41-12495, 41-12496, 41-12497, 41-12498, 41-12499, 41-12500, 41-12501, 41-12502, 41-12503, 41-12505, 41-12506, 41-12507, 41-12508, 41-12509, 41-12511, 41-12512, 41-12513, 41-12514 and 41-12515. The match-up between USAAF serials and ML-serials differs between reference sources however, the match-up published in 2006 was based on original research and corrected some mistakes that were introduced in the 1970s. A photo of a Mitchell displaying both the USAAF serial 41-12499 and the ML-serial N5-149 appeared in 2009 but it is believed this photo has been electronically modified with the wrong USAAF serial, which was 41-12438.
These aircraft were all test flown at Long Beach, apparently with NEI markings and serials in the range N5-122/181 and were considered to have been delivered to the ML-KNIL. From there they were flown to a Modification Centre in Memphis, TN, where the aircraft were brought up-to-date with the latest equipment. From here they were flown to Sacremento, CA or West Palm Beach, FL, from where they were to be ferried to the NEI. The plan was to fly aircraft N5-122/136, N5-149/163 and N5-172/181 from Sacramento to Australia whilst N5-137/148 and N5-164/171 were to be flown from West Palm Beachto India. From Australia and India they would have flown to the NEI. However, because the aircraft were not delivered to Sacramento and West Palm Beach in the planned order, the actual aircraft that were ferried had little to do with the plan. Because they had been accepted earlier, they were flown out as ML-KNIL aircraft.