In the 8th picture there is an aircraft carrier which must be Indomitable (Formidable arrived at Colombo at the end of March and did not visit Trincomalee before the Japanese attack) and the light cruiser Enterprise. The only period prior to 5 April when they were both at Trincomalee was 14-16 February (Indomitable was there 2-16 February, Enterprise 14-19 February), so this picture must have been taken then. The 4th picture must have been taken during the same period, since what appears to be the same ship is alongside Indomitable and Enterprise is still there, but not at the same moment, since some of the merchant ships are absent.
I'm not sure about the 2nd picture. Moored to starboard of Indomitable is what appears to be a light cruiser and beyond her a battleship. If the light cruiser is still Enterprise then the battleship has to be Royal Sovereign, as it was the only battleship at Trincomalee between 14 and 16 February. (It was there 8-17 February. Revenge was there from 12 December to 9 February.)
Well, the blokes seem to have nailed the larger ships, but the biplane with tapered ailerons remains a mystery, and so close to the camera too! Come on chaps, what is it? Such ailerons were probably rather rare on biplanes, more of a style thing I guess, so perhaps a civilian type, maybe local aero club machine? Also appears to be a Vildebeest or two in the Ratmalana picture; any chance of a sharper enlargement of this one of the two suspects, in the interests of science? However I fear they may be just a bit too fuzzy around the edges for positive i/d. David D
One possibility for the tapered aileron biplane is the dear old DH84 Dragon, which has ailerons of this shape. However in the photograph one gains the impression that THIS aileron has an aerodynamic balance, but this could be an optical illusion caused by the tip rib and sun reflections on same. I think that DH84s popped up in most countries which were coloured pink in pre-WW2 atlases, so the presence of one of these in Ceylon at this date would not have been that unlikely - any comments from the floor? However a word of caution - I note that vast majority of Dragons had an external link strut connecting upper and lower ailerons on each wing, and the aircraft in photo does not. However at least one later Dragon (Jim Mollison's "Sea Farer II") lacked this strut, presumably having an internal (hidden) linkage system, which might explain our problem, if indeed it is a Dragon. David D
Don't think it's Dragon, taper on the aileron is wrong- on the Dragon it starts about 2/3 of the way out. Also, the interplane strut is different. On Stan Smiths one there is a fairing around the strut that tapers at the top and bottom to where it attaches to the wing and there are also flying wires attached where the strut joins the wing.
but the biplane with tapered ailerons remains a mystery,
The only thing I can think of that might fit the location is the Swordfish, although the trailing edge taper looks like its in the wrong place; too far inboard. On the Swordfish the strut is attached to the upper aileron and attaches, like in the photo, to the lower wing just ahead of the lower aileron's leading edge.
Grant, Swordfish have a wingtip curve which advances part way along the trailing edge inwards, but definitley no taper as in the photograph, which has an abrupt change from parallel to taper about half way along aileron. The DH 84 Dragon theory was just that, and I agree it is looking pretty shakey, so more work to do I'm afraid. As pointed out, it might be a light aircraft, as I cannot suggest any likely service types. The production Avro 504Ns (with AS Lynx radial) originally had so-called tapered ailerons, but again these should probably be called parallel chord with very generously curved trailing edge towards tips! David D
If not a Fairey Swordfish, then perhaps a Fairey Seal? The aileron-shape, and strut location/shape would seem to fit, and as a result of the log-book entry, we DO know that the type was on station at China Bay at the time.
Also appears to be a Vildebeest or two in the Ratmalana picture; any chance of a sharper enlargement of this one of the two suspects, in the interests of science? However I fear they may be just a bit too fuzzy around the edges for positive i/d. David D
One Vildebeest perhaps (although the top wings appear shorter length than the bottom so possibly not) and the other aeroplane looks to be a low wing monoplane?
Thanks Andy. The book is called "Looking Back - Memories of Life as a World War Two Pilot.
It's not a published book, purely done for himself, his family and friends back in 1997. However his grand-daughter did lend her copy to the Duke of Edinburgh who read it and was most impressed. Don has given me permission to publish the text and photos of the book online so more people can read it. However apart from scanning all the photos I just have not gotten round to it yet. Too much else on.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 3, 2014 18:00:36 GMT 12
In the back of Don's logbook it says he flew the: Tiger Moth Gipsy Moth Moth Minor Moth Major Puss Moth Miles Hawk Miles Magister Vickers Vincent Vickers Vildebeest Vickers Walrus BA Swallow Fairey Seal Fairey Seafox Gloster Gladiator Fairchild Argus Fox Moth Hawker Hurricane Ic, IIC, IId, IVc, IVe Westland Lysander Westland Wapiti Wacko NA Harvard III Vultee Vengeance I & II Harlow Curtiss P35 Hawk Supermarine Spitfire I, II, Vc, VIII Hawker Audax Fairey Battle Auster III Percival Proctor Lockheed Hudson III, V, VI, IIIa Vickers Wellington III Bristol Blenheim IV Bristol Bisley NA B-25 Mitchell Consolidated B-24 Liberator Douglas C-47 Dakota Avro Anson de Havilland Dominie de Havilland Mosquito VI Airspeed Oxford Lockheed 12A Percival Q6 Lockheed Electra
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 3, 2014 18:02:11 GMT 12
Most of the photos don't involve aeroplanes I'm afraid, as Don was very interested in the places he went to and took lots of photos of local life around Ceylon - a real time capsule. But there are a few more shots to come of later aeroplanes.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 3, 2014 18:11:02 GMT 12
Here's a fascinating shot from Don's collection. In the foreground is some sort of Stinson. In the background there are B-17's, a B-25, Hurricanes, Mohawks, a Lysander, a Dakota, and various other types, somewhere in India.