Danish Air Force, Danish Army Air Corps and Royal Danish Naval Aviation

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Master Sergeant
Jan 1, 2010
Before the outbreak of the war, Denmark was extremely unprepared having downgraded its military force. The air defence was divided into the Naval Air Service and the Army Flying Corps. The Naval Air Service had a squadron of outdated Hawker Nimrod (Danish version of Fury) fighters and seaplanes. Some were for use in Greenland and there was a growing interest in torpedo launching. The Army Flying Corps had Gloster Gauntlets fighters and was upgrading to Fokker D XXI fighters The first was bought in Holland the rest were built in Denmark. A Danish production of Fairey Battle bombers had started but none were finished. Licence to build the Fokker G-1 heavy fighter was acquired.

On the morning of April 9th 1940 the German occupation started finding Denmark as unprepared as many other countries. An attack by a stafel of ME-110 fighters destroyed most planes at the Vaerloese Army Airfield. One Danish aircraft was shot down during take off. From that day Danish military aviation stopped. Aircrafts were kept in storage. Some were taken by the German occupation force and reused elsewhere. The majority of the aircrafts were destroyed at a later stage by the Danish resistance. Two incidents may be noted as they formed the background for Ken Folletts novel: Hornet flight. In 1941 two lieutenants managed the refurbish a deHavilland Hornet Moth and to take off for a flight to Britain where one joined to RAF the other served in a special capacity due to his knowledge of German radar systems. In the fall of 1943 another Danish pilot under the same difficult circumstances took off in a deHavilland Moth to fly to England. He joined Special Intelligence Service.

A great number of Danes joined allied forces. Some of these as airmen. Quite a few come to RAF via the Norwegian training camp built up in Canada. After the training The Norwegians formed their own squadrons in RAF. Others joined became operational through other channels. Danes were flying in the RAF, in the Norwegian RAF squadrons, in the Royal Canadian Air Force and in the South African Air Force. Danes served as pilots and in other capacities in RAF. One example is Morian Hansen predicted winner of the 1939 speedway world championship that was never held. He was too old to be a pilot and won a DSO as a tail gunner. A Danish born woman served as one of the ferry pilots. Danes living in Britain collected money and donated three spitfires to RAF. Sadly two of them only lasted a fortnight before they were shot down. Of the Danish pilots 26 were killed in action. The size of the Danish involvement was, however, limited compared with other nations. Danish opposition to Nazi Germany was inside Denmark and in the merchant navy.

Danes escaping to Sweden also included military personnel. A Danish Brigade was formed very discretely due to Swedish neutrality. This brigade also had a Danish flying squadron. It was flying as a part of the Swedish air force. The squadron was nominated to 15 SAAB B-17 dive bombers intended for ground support for the brigade when it should participate in the recapture of Denmark. The German forces surrendered on May 5th 1945 and the fighting following was relatively light. The brigade did not use the air support. The squadron was flying in Swedish colours until May 5th when all planes were painted in Danish colours.

Danish Air Force Photo Page
The Heinkel HE 8 was a reconnaissance seaplane built in Germany in the late 1920s. It was developed at the request of the Danish Navy, which had noted the success of the HE 5 in Swedish service, and wished to purchase a similar aircraft as well as licensed production as the Orlogsvaerftet HM.II. Apart from its new Armstrong Siddeley engine, the HE 8 also differed from the HE 5 and previous members of the HE 1 family in having a conventional empennage. 22 aircraft were operated until the German invasion in 1940, after which one example was impressed into Luftwaffe service and the remainder placed in storage. A single HE 8 was built with a Packard 3A-2500 engine and designated HE 31.


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It is not overstating the case to say that the Moth revolutionised aviation and was a direct result of the worldwide surge of enthusiasm for private flying. Although the Humming Bird offered a measure of realistic sport flying, it was too basic to meet the requirement, and yet the D.H.51 was too large. The answer was somewhere between the two and the D.H.60 appeared in 1925 as a scaled-down D.H.51 with an 89.4kW engine cut in half, reworked and completed as a 44.7kW ADC Cirrus.

First flown on 22 February 1925, the Moth exceeded expectations and a long series of tests proved that it was eminently suited for school, flying club and private use: it was selected by all the British Flying Clubs formed under the Air Ministry scheme. In addition to the home markets, many civil examples were exported and military models delivered to air forces as tandem two-seat trainers, including those of the UK, Australia, Irish Free State, Sweden, Finland, Japan and Canada. By the close of production nearly 500 Moths had been built, excluding those licence-built in Australia, Finland and elsewhere. Other engines fitted included the 63.3kW Cirrus II, 67kW Cirrus III (as installed in the D.H.60X) and 56kW Armstrong Siddeley Genet (as the Genet Moth).

The first Moth was flown by Alan Cobham from London to Zurich and back in a single day on 29 May 1925; and in 1927 Moths accomplished the London-Cape Town return flight and won the first prize for aerobatics at the Copenhagen International aeroplane meeting. However in 1928 de Havilland produced their own engine for the Moth, the Gipsy, and so the Gipsy Moth was created.


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Allegedly designed by Ernst Heinkel one night on the back of a cabaret wine list, the Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 was essentially an earlier Hansa-Brandenburg biplane W.12 design with the top wing removed. This is a simple enough thing to sketch on the back of a wine list but an altogether different proposition to put into production. The advanced monoplane design, with improved performance due to the reduction in drag afforded by the 50% reduction in wings, was achievable because of the highly rigid nature of the float and strut arrangement. It was a worthy successor to the W.12 in its task of patrolling the North Sea and harassing RNAS flying boats and British surface vessels.

Three prototypes (numbers 2204,5 6) were started in January 1918 with each powered by a different engine for comparison purposes, 2204 with a 150hp Benz Bz.III, 2205 with a 185hp BMW IIIa and 2206 with the 160hp Daimler-Mercedes D.III. When production began in April 1918 it was the 150hp Benz Bz.III that was chosen, most likely due to priority being given to land based fighter aircraft for the higher performance engines. Produced in 2 versions, 156 C3MG (aircraft equipped with 3 machine guns) and 43 C2MGHFT (C type, 2 machine guns and wireless equipment) the W.29 was powered by 3 different engines during its production, the aforementioned 150hp Benz Bz.III and 185hp BMW IIIa as well as the 185hp Benz Bz.IIIa (a very different design to the Bz.III). The majority of W.29s (121) were powered by the 150hp Benz Bz.III as depicted in our kitset, 66 with 185hp Bz.IIIa and just 11 with the 185hp BMW IIIa engine. An order for 30 160hp Daimler-Mercedes D.III powered aircraft placed in September 1918 was cancelled after the armistice. The advanced design of the W.29 ensured that it saw a lengthy post war service with the Deutsche Luft-Reederei (German Air Carrier) and Norway as well as being license built in Denmark, as the H.M.I (15 aircraft), and Japan, as the Hansa-Shiki Suijo Teisatsuki - Hansa Type Reconnaissance Seaplane (between 156 and 310 aircraft). A slightly larger and more powerful version of the W.29 was the W.33, only 7 of which were completed in Germany before the armistice but post war they were license built in Finland, as the IVL A.22 (102 aircraft) and in Norway (30 aircraft). The final IVL A.22 was retired from Finnish service in 1936. Any history of this aircraft here is of necessity very brief, therefore we encourage you to seek any or all of the references listed below for a more thorough understanding of this fascinating aircraft.

Source: Wingnut Wings - 1/32 Hansa-Brandenburg W.29


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No Info


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The Hawker Danecock was a version of the Woodcock II fighter designed for Denmark, and produced under license there as the L.B.II Dankok. The Danish Government placed an order for three modified Woodcock IIs after evaluating a demonstration aircraft in 1925. Unlike the British Woodcocks the Danecock was to be powered by the Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar engine, the engine originally used in the Woodcock I.

Work on the Danecock was led by Sydney Camm, at this time a member of George Carter's design team. Camm slightly lengthened the fuselage of the aircraft. The equal-span single-bay wings of the Woodcock were modified - the upper wing was increased in span and the lower wing reduced. The first of the three Hawker-produced aircraft was ready in December 1925, and all three reached Denmark in 1926. Licence production began at the Danish Royal Navy Dockyard in 1927, and twelve aircraft were built in 1927-28. They were used to equip one squadron of the Danish Army Air Service and one Naval Squadron, remaining in service until 1937. During that period the Danecock established a Scandinavian Altitude Record of 28,208ft that stood from 1927 to 1935.

Source: Hawker Danecock Hawker Danecock | Facebook Hawker Danecock


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he Hawker Nimrod is a single seat biplane fighter which first flew on 2nd September 1931. The Nimrod Mk I was an adaptation of Sydney Camm's Hawker Fury Fighter for operation from aircraft carriers. Its span is 3.5ft greater than that of the Fury. Later versions, the Mk II, of the Nimrod had swept back wings, a larger tail and deck arrester gear. A twin float seaplane version was also built, designed for catapult launching from 'capital' ships [see HMS Belfast on this website]. The type went into service with the Fleet Air Arm at the same time as the Osprey in 1931. Both types where represented in the mixed flight of new aircraft carried on HMS Eagle for demonstration at the British Empire Trade Exhibition, Buenos Aires, in March 1931. By the start of the Second World war only eighteen examples of the Hawker Nimrod where left in service with 753, 755, 757, 759 and 780 Squadrons. The last aircraft in Fleet Air Arm service was S1582 with 753 Squadron who used it for daily weather checks until being 'paid off' in January 1942.

Marinens Flyvevæsen (Royal Danish Navy Aviation) received 2 aircraft called Nimrødderne. A further 10 were built locally under licence between 1934-35 at Orlogsværftet; called L.B.V (Landbased Biplane 5). The 8 survivors were German spoils of war in 1940.


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The Hawker Dantorp was a version of the Hawker Horsley developed for Denmark. The Dantorp differed from the Horsley in a number of ways. It could carry an extra (third) crew member, and the undercarriage could be switched between wheels and floats. Like the Horsley Mk II it was of mixed wood and metal construction. Two aircraft were built by Hawker for the Danes, and further production was to be carried out under licence by the Danish Naval Dockyard. The two Hawker-built aircraft were ready by the end of 1932, and were both delivered by 1933, but no further production was carried out.


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The deHavilland D.H. 82 Tiger Moth was developed from the D.H. 60M Gipsy Moth. First flown in October of 1931, the D.H. 82 faced stiff competition to become the basic trainer for Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF). However, after the trials were held, the Tiger Moth emerged the clear winner, with 35 of the craft being ordered.

Given that the Tiger Moth had not been the easiest to fly among the competitors, with a degree of sloppiness and slowness in response to control inputs, one wonders whether the design succeeded despite or because of those factors. Some have argued that those factors highlight poor piloting technique without seriously endangering the student pilot, a process that would enable instructors to identify and correct the fledgling pilot's deficiencies early in a training program. In any case, the Tiger Moth to this day exhibits the same flight characteristics of its early period. The first model, the D.H.82, was powered by a 120hp Gipsy III inverted inline engine, and was also sold to the air forces of Brazil, Denmark, Persia, Portugal and Sweden. An improved model, the D.H. 82A Tiger Moth II, was equipped with a Gipsy Major engine rated at 130hp, as well as structural changes that included the replacement of fabric with plywood for the rear fuselage decking, and the ability to shroud the rear cockpit for instrument flight training.

Prior to the outbreak of WWII, Tiger Moths were manufactured by deHavilland Aircraft of Canada, and under license in Norway, Portugal and Sweden. During the war, Tiger Moths were manufactured by deHavilland affiliates in Australia and New Zealand, while a winterized version, the D.H.82C was manufactured in Canada, with a 145hp Gipsy Major engine, revised cowling, enclosed, heated cockpits, wheel brakes and a tail wheel instead of a skid. Another interesting variant was the four-seat Thruxton Jackaroo, with two pairs of side-by-side seats in an enclosed cabin. More than 8,700 Tiger Moths were eventually manufactured, with approximately 4200 going to the Royal Air Force, where it trained thousands of pilots for World War II service, and continued to serve the post-war RAF until 1951.

Source: Warbird Alley: deHavilland D.H. 82 Tiger Moth


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The Supermarine Sea Otter was designed as the replacement for the Walrus, but although the first aircraft made its maiden flight in September 1938 Supermarine was busy with the far more important Spitfire programme, and only a small number of Sea Otters saw active service late in the Second World War. Work on the Sea Otter began in February 1936. The Air Ministry wanted a more powerful aircraft, with longer range, the ability to operate from aircraft carriers, and the ability to act as a dive bomber, all in an aircraft with a wingspan of 46ft. The new aircraft had to be roughly the same size as the Walrus so that it could operate in the cramped hangers available on the Navy's cruisers. The resulting aircraft was very similar in appearance to the Walrus. It had a cleaner airframe, reducing drag, but very similar folding wings. The Perseus engine was used in a tractor configuration, reverting to the layout used on the earlier Supermarine Seagull.

The prototype Sea Otter made its maiden flight on 29 September 1938. Early in 1939 it was sent to Felixstowe for tests with HMS Pegasus, after which the bow was altered. Its catapult launching capability was tested on land in May 1939 and at sea in July, and then in September it was tested for seaworthiness. Despite the pressures imposed by the outbreak of the Second World War in the same month, the tests were completed satisfactorily, and in January 1940 the Sea Otter was ordered into production. The first production aircraft did not make its maiden flight until January 1943. This was partly because Supermarine's design team was constantly working on improving the Spitfire, and partly because it was difficult to find an aircraft manufacturer with the spare capacity to produce the Sea Otter. Supermarine was swamped with Spitfire production. The contract was then offered to Blackburn, but they were also too busy. Finally, in January 1942, Saunders-Roe was given the production contract.

The first Saro-built Sea Otter made its maiden flight in early January 1943. The first few aircraft were built as reconnaissance aircraft, and were armed withthree machine gun, but from the eighth aircraft onwards the Sea Otter was built as the ASR Mk II, with all guns removed. The Sea Otter's longer range and greater load carrying capability made it a better air-sea rescue aircraft than the Walrus, and it carried out valuable work in this role. A total of 592 Sea Otters were ordered. Of these 292 were built during the war, and the remainder were cancelled. Most (241) went to the RAF, where they equipped six squadrons, starting with No.277 Squadron from November 1943. The Fleet Air Arm Sea Otters entered service one year later, joining No.1700 Squadron in November 1944. They saw service in home waters, the Far East and in Australia and the Admiralty Islands. A small number remained in service with air-sea rescue units throughout the 1940s, and more were exported to Denmark and Holland.

Source: Supermarine Sea Otter


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After Finland, Denmark was the second foreign purchaser of the D.XXI and on the 8th of July 1937 a contract was signed for 2 Dutch built D.XXIs and the licence rights for another 10 aircraft to be built by Hoerens Flyvertroppernes Vaerksteder at Klovermarken (near Kopenhagen). The two aircraft built by Fokker (J-41 enJ-42) arrived in Denmark on the 29th of April 1938 and were equipped with Mercury VIS engines, which probably were replaced later by Mercury VIII engines of 840 hp, the same that were fitted in the Danish built machines. Only J-42 was experimentally equipped with 2 Madsen 20mm cannon, mounted in underwing gondolas. But the Danish were not very convinced by the results of the trials made in this configuration and in 1940 all Danish D.XXIs carried only their two engine mounted machine guns and provisions for some 100 kg bomb load as armament. The wooden wings was not strong enough to carry 52kg. of canon, plus ammo etc., so steel flanges and such were build into the wing to support the installation. A large test plan was carried out with J-42, with shooting the canon at air targets, ground targets, moving targets and such. In the end, the total installation of the two canons, with 500 shells per canon, flanges etc., gave the plane a weight that, with full fuel tanks, exceeded the specified maximum take off weight.

Fate of the Danish D.XXIs during the beginning of World War II:

J-41 5480 Stored away in Ringsted 28-06-1940.
J-42 5481 Stored away in Ringsted 28-06-1940.
J-43 103 Heavily damaged under the German attack on Vaerloese, April 9th. 1940. Rebuild as production number 113.
J-43 113 Ex 103, stored away in Ringsted 13-11-1941.
J-44 104 Stored away in Ringsted 20/8-40.
J-45 105 Damaged under the German attack on Vaerloese, April 9th. 1940. Repaired and stored away in Ringsted 04-09-1940.
J-46 106 Stored away in Ringsted 11-09-1940.
J-47 107 Heavily damaged under the German attack on Vaerloese, April 9th. 1940. Rebuild as production number 114.
J-47 114 Ex 107. Stored away at Kloevermarken 06-08-1942.
J-48 108 Stored away in Ringsted 23-09-1940.
J-49 109 Damaged beyond repair under the German attack on Vaerloese, April 9th. 1940. The fuselage of J-49 has been borrowed by a Dutch Museum for measurement to build a D.XXI replica in 1986 to 1988. Today in a Danish museum storage.
J-50 110 Stored away at Kloevermarken 15-11-1942.
J-51 111 Damaged under the German attack on Vaerloese, April 9th. 1940. Stored away in Ringsted 06-08-1940.
J-52 112 Never delivered do to the break out of the war. Delivered without test flight and stored away in Ringsted 15-07-1940.

On the 29th of August 1943 all these aircraft were seized by the Luftwaffe and used by German units as "Luftdienst StaffeIn and Zielschleppstaffeln etc." All planes were apparently out of service in August 1944.

Source: AERONET GCE / IBERONET: Fokker D.XXI part 1 (Spain and Denmark)


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Developed as a military version of the prewar Envoy light transport, the AS. 10 Oxford (or 'Ox-box' as it was affectionately known) was one of the more important trainers of the war, training aircrews in twin engined flying, bombing, gunnery, radio and navigation skills. The type also found employment in the communications, ambulance, anti-aircraft calibration and radio/radar calibration roles. Of wooden construction, the first Oxford was flown on 19th June 1937 and the aircraft entered service with the RAF Central Flying School the following November. By the outbreak of war in September 1939 more than 400 were in service and production was quickly increased to meet the needs of the Empire Air Training Scheme in Britain and abroad. Of the production total of 8,568, more than 4,700 were built by the parent company and the remainder by de Havilland, Standard Motors and Percival. The final Oxford was handed over in July 1945.

Major overseas operators included the Royal Australian Air Force (391) and the South African Air Force (700). There were several Oxford variants: the Mk.I bombing and gunnery trainer with dorsal gun turret; the Mk.II navigation and radio trainer; the similar Mk.III with more powerful Cheetah engines and constan-speed propellers; and the Mk.V navigation, pilot and radio trainer with Pratt Whitney Wasp engines and constant-speed propellers. This version was mainly used in Canada and Southern Rhodesia. The one-off Mk.IV was a testbed for the 225kW (300hp) de Havilland Gipsy Queen engine.


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The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s. Designed by North American Aviation, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force. The USAAC designated it as the AT-6, the United States Navy the SNJ, and British Commonwealth air forces, the Harvard, the name it is best known by outside of the United States. It remains a popular warbird aircraft.


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After the liberation from the German occupation in May 1945 Denmark had no aircraft of any significance. It would have been quite easy for the Danish Army Air Force to take over and operate some of the many aircraft that the Germans left behind when retreating, however, it was decided that all these aircraft should be brought out of action. By setting off a hand grenade in the cockpits of the aircraft it looked like an act of hate against all that was German, but in reality it was the English authorities that ordered that all German aircraft should be destroyed. At the Jalta conference it was decided that all German military equipment should destroyed. When things cooled down during 1948 and 1949 Denmark received a number of aircraft as weapon aide. It was 38 Spitfires, all of the type HF Mk. IXE with Merlin 70 engines. Most of them were of the high back conventional type, however, a few of them were low-back types. A further 4 Spitfires were delivered for use as instructional airframes at the aircraft mechanics schools. The photos from that time shows that aircraft were delivered configured with both normal and clipped wings and with standard rudders and the pointed broad chord type. The aircraft were gradually adapted to the same standard with normal wingtips and broad chord rudders, which is shown on pictures and footage.

At that time aviation was much different from what it is today; there were not the same regulations and red-tape, which are required today. If an aircraft needed repair - then you repaired it. Of course you had repair manuals which should be adhered to, however, flying was more important, so in those days you were more result-oriented than process-oriented as you are today. Quite a number of aircraft and pilots were lost during that period. Eight of the Mk. IX'es were written off because of accidents, which claimed the lives of four of the pilots. One pilot was killed when he crashed during a blizzard, one when he collided with a tractor during an simulated attack on a highway, one when he crashed into the waters near Copenhagen for unknown reasons, and one also just crashed for no apparent reason. When you returned from a patrol the pilots flew right against the control tower and broke off in the last second before hitting the tower. However, this was stopped when a Dutch pilot was killed when crashing through the tower at an airfield in Holland.

In a clipped-wing Spitfire another pilot once made some unfortunate maneuvers at very low altitude during which he practically buried the pitot tube in the ground when ripping off the pitot tube from the port wing. Man and aircraft continued without problems, however, returning to the airfield without a functional airspeed indicator. The pitot tube had to be dug up from the ground. National sovereignty should be maintained - also during winter - which meant taking-off from winter-soft grass airfields. During one winter the airfield at Air Base Værløse was so soft that it was not possible to take off safely. Anyway the aircraft had to fly so guards were placed between the hangers in order to keep the traffic on the airfield back while the royal Spitfires took off from the concrete apron in front of the hangers a concrete road that lead to an ammunitions depot. Towards the end of the service life of the Spitfire in the RDAF the pilots were allowed to do what they wanted with the Spitfires because they were going to be chopped up anyway. The rough handling that the Spitfires were subjected to really indicated what a Spitfire was able to endure.....

Source: Supermarine Spitfire http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/danish-presentation-spitfires.html


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From its introduction to U.S. Naval service in 1936, through its continued international military use into the 1970's, to the recent retirement of the last civilian fire-bomber, the Consolidated PBY Catalina has served a distinguished career as one of the most rugged and versatile aircraft in U.S. history. It was created in response to the U.S. Navy's 1933 request for a prototype to replace the Consolidated P2Y and the Martin P3M with a new patrol-bomber flying boat with extended range and greater load capacity

Source: L-866 - Denmark - Air Force Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina at Cosford | ID 110988 | Airplane-Pictures.net PBY Catalinas of the Postwar Royal Danish Air Force


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The British Gloster Gauntlet was a single-seat, biplane fighter of the RAF designed and built by Gloster Aircraft in the 1930s. It was the last RAF fighter to have an open cockpit and the penultimate biplane fighter in service. Seventeen Gauntlets IIs were licence produced in Denmark.


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The Fairey Firefly was a British Second World War-era carrier-borne fighter aircraft and anti-submarine aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). It was superior in performance and firepower to its predecessor, the Fulmar, but only entered operational service towards the end of the war. Designed around the contemporary FAA concept of a two-seat fleet reconnaissance/fighter, the pilot and navigator/weapons officer were housed in separate stations. The design proved to be sturdy, long-ranging and docile in carrier operations, although the limitations of a single engine in a heavy airframe reduced overall performance. The Fairey Firefly served in the Second World War as a fleet fighter but in postwar service, although it was superseded by more modern jet aircraft, the Firefly was adapted to other roles, including strike operations and anti-submarine warfare, remaining a mainstay of the FAA until the mid-1950s. Both the UK and Australia Fireflies flew ground attack operations off various aircraft carriers in the Korean War. In foreign service, the type was in operation with the naval air arms of Australia, Canada, India, and the Netherlands whose Fireflies carried out a few attack sorties as late as 1962 in Dutch New Guinea.

The picture shows an ex-Fleet Air Arm Firefly FR.1 Z1842. Converted to TT.1 status for the Royal Danish Air Force and delivered from Ringway on 6 October 1951. The serial prefix '64' is marked in small numerals above the large '625'. Retired in 1959. Obtained from Faireys many years ago.


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