Albemarle DNA test

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Waynos, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Reading about British bombers today (off work with swine flu - loads of time to kill :D)

    I noticed a rather serious discrepancy between some very trusted volumes on the subject

    For instance Putnams Aircraft of the RAF (Owen Thetford version) states 'The Albemarle began life as the Bristoll 155 until it was transferred to AW for completetion.

    This is something that I had previously read and accepted, and it does, after al,l look every inch Bristol's baby, looking like an overgrown offspring from the Blenheim/Beaufort line with no resemblance to the AW product line at all.

    Tony Buttler, in his British Secret Projects - Fighter and Bomber projects 1935-50 volume, however has it that the AW 41 and the Bristol 155 were completely separate and indigenous designs and and when the Air ministry cut back on the project the Bristol 155 died and the AW 41 continued.

    To try and resolve the question I referred to C H Barnes 'Bristol Aircraft since 1910', alos from Putnam, and there it clearly states the so called mythology that the Albemarle is just the Bristol 155, with reworked internal structure, built by AW.

    Can you help me? for the sake of the child, as Jeremy Kyle puts it every bloody morning, who's the daddy?
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    According to Combat Aircraft of WWII by Bookthrift, the Air Ministry had issued Spec B.18/38 which insisted on minimal use of light alloys and instead called for steel and wood. The Type 155 was built before this was issued so the exterior would probably have been different as well. I'd think it would be kind of odd to spend all the time developing an aircraft only to hand it off to somebody else and get nothing out of it.
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Hi Waynos. I don't know if you have the same edition of Thetford's 'Aircraft of the RAF since 1918', but I've just checked my Fourth Edition, revised and published 1968, and can ask my brother to check his First Edition (1957), to see if there's any difference. In the Fourth Edition, Thetford writes "The twin-engined bomber which eventually became the Albermarle started life as the Bristol Type 155, designed to Air Ministry Spec.B.18/38. Responsibility for the design was transferred to Armstrong Whitworth, where it became the A.W. 41, with Hercules engines in place of the Taurus as originally planned. The second prototype (P1361) made its maiden flight on 20 March...." etc. The next passage continues; "One of the features of the design.....use of composite steel and wooden construction....instead of...alloy more current. This enabled...widely sub-contracted among small firms.....and conserved strategic materials."
    Has your copy got the same explanation? I seem to recall reading somewhere that the design responsibility, and subsequent manufacture, was 'farmed out',I believe at the behest of the Air Ministry, or MAP, in order to allow Bristol's to concentrate on the production of the Beaufort and Beaufighter, the requiremnt for these two types being more pressing at the time.
    Certainly the aircraft has 'the look' of a Bristol design, so it wouldn't surprise me if the design was passed on in order to allow production of established types, the tooling and jigs for which would already be in place.
    Sorry it's not much, but maybe it's helped a bit.
     
  4. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Hi, I have the 1987 reprint plus the strange large format verion from the 90's and they both say the same thing. Tony Buttler is usually spot on and researches his sources very thoroughly so it seems a strange thing for him to come out with this and make no reference to the legendary explanation? I'd love to know what sources contradict the findings of the Putnam volume that deals with nothing BUT Armstrong Whitworth, but he must have seen something?
     
  5. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    #5 Waynos, Jul 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
    Viking Berserker. Have you a source that states the 155 originated before B.18/38?

    EDIT - already answered my own question below. Do you think I should maybe read my own books? ;)
     
  6. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    I turned to the Big Book of Bristols again (my pet name for C H Barnes' Putnam) and the first passage of the section covering the Beaufighter supports Buttler, even though it seems to read, at first, like a description of the Albemarle.

    [​IMG]

    It may haveen VB, or possibly someone else, but in another thread someone said that this book contains a picture of the Bristol 158. Could someone direct me to it? I have seen the mock up of the Beaumont (type 162) which is only a framework of the front fuselage, and ther more complete mock up of the H.7/42 which never got a type number, but I seem to be missing this image. I have the 1988 edition of this book
     
  7. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Well if you take a little sample from the mouth and send it to me... eh.. oh, you mean the aircraft :oops: :lol:
     
  8. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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  9. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Similar story to Butler is given by Eric Morgan in Profile Volume 1 No. 11...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Well that's three very credible sources. Now I just need to figure out how the AW.41 came to look soo much like a Bristol design. It is easy to see how the story came about when you look at the Albemarle.
     
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