Post by Daniel Cox on Mar 15, 2014 14:34:08 GMT 12
Does anyone have copies of the RNZAF equivalents (?) of the British Air Ministry Form 78 Aircraft Movement Cards and RAAF Status Cards (Form E/E/88) that they can share with me, for all of the Blackburn Baffin aircraft that were delivered to New Zealand? Or alternatively can point me in the right direction for getting copies of them?
There are no individual aircraft cards for Baffins. the only record is the AF380 (the doomsday book) which records their arrival and final disposal. The RNZAF accident records show accidents for individual aircraft. errol Martyn's book for your tomorrow details fatal accidents for these aircraft
The two photographs identified as the same Baffin were taken at Wigram in 1939/40, you can see (in second photograph) one of the two original "Government hangars" built at Wigram in about 1920/21 (when Wigram was known as Sockburn aerodrome) to house a proportion of the original British govt "Gift" aircraft. To the right of the govt hangar is the original stores shed, which survived into the 1980s or thereabouts, along with the two govt hangars in their original positions as built. The stores shed was later used as the "chippie" (carpenters) shop, and finally as the qymnasium. This Baffin (NZ161) is fitted with the original "Monodisc" wheels which were subsequently viewed with the greatest suspiciaon after one collapsed on landing, and were replaced by conventional spoked wheels with fabric covers, although I have absolutely no idea where the RNZAF managed to obtain so many sets of wheels (probably about 25 pairs) to fit these comparatively heavy aircraft at this late stage. One of the minor mysteries of the early RNZAF! The only ones I can think of that may have been strong enough were those from Bristol fighters, and DH 4s and 9s, but this seems doubtful. Allocations of individual Baffins are not too difficult tp work out if you study exisiting documentation, as only a few units used them, mainly the Wgtn, ChCh and Auck TAF Squadrons (latter till only about June 1939 when they were replaced by V Vincents), the NZGR Sqdn at WP, and survivors to No. 3 GR Sqdn at Harewood till about August/Sept 1941, although these operated from both Harewood and their "advanced" operating field at Taieri. Between about Sept 1940 and March 1941, all surviving Baffins were stored in hangars at Harewood (No. 3 EFTS) as there were by now sufficient numbers of Vincents and Vildebeests in service, which were far more suitable for maintaining the coastal patrols previously flown by the Baffins. Another point against the Baffins (and to an extent the equally vintage Fairey Gordons) was their obsolete design, with a tail skid instead of a tailwheel and brakes, which tended to conspire to wreck the grass operating surfaces of the aerodromes they operated from. This design feature made them right b.....s to taxi about on aerodromes, as this configuration placed a lot more weight on the tail skid for braking purposes. This was almost certainly the reason for all the Baffins being withdrawn from service at Harewood and ferried to Rongotai for scrapping in period Sept/Dec 1941. They were just too much trouble to maintain in airworthy condition when far better alternatives were by then available. David D
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 11, 2017 11:02:15 GMT 12
When I was based at Wigram in 1991-1993 the Chippie shop was still in one of those old hangars, and the gym was the big new gym over beside the Harvard Lounge. I cannot recall though if the chippie shop was the rounded-roof hangar next to the pool, or if it was the other one with the pointed roof further east on the other side of the car park.
Evening news article about the Baffin crash in Island Bay.
Yesterday, about midday,-a Royal New Zealand Air Force Blackburn. Baffin bomber, when crossing Cook Strait ivil/i two-other machines, ivas compelled to put back to Rongotai owing to engine trouble, and finished up in the sea off Island Bay. Top right, fishing launches towing the aeroplane to the shore. Above, the bomber on the beach at. I stand Bay, where the tail was broken off in the course oj salvage operations,. Right, Pilot-Officer S.G. While (facing the camera), Coming-ashore after the rescue, Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 144, 15 December 1939
Dad 'bunked' school to see the blackburn-baffin crashed. They towed it (upside down) near shore with the pilot standing on top, dry and uninjured... until they decided to attach to the tail and try to right it... The rope broke and slashed the pilot who now had to be taken to hospital. We may have an altimeter from that wreckage but possibly its from later collection.