Just cant Id it.

Discussion in 'Aircraft Picture Requests' started by radardish, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. radardish

    radardish New Member

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    Hi guys,

    So i have been asked by my girlfriends dad to see if i can find out any information about his dad. He is sitting second on the left, front row. The first thing i wanted to do was find out the type of aircraft then work out what base etc. etc.

    Im stuck on the first hurdle, i thought it might be a twin engined bomber, but it has the feel of a smaller dakota to me.

    Can you guys help me, also, is that a polish insignia on the starboard side, i guess going along with the polish crewman on the back row?

    Cheers

    img447[1].JPG
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I believe that's an Avro Anson, and yes that is the Polish Insignia.
     
  3. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    Definitely an Anson. They were used as trainers for navigators and bombadiers, I believe.
    The Polish insignia is a bit of a puzzler, as is the Polish uniform.
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    The aircraft is an Avro Anson Mk1, serving with a Polish unit. It's a type much smaller than the Dakota.
    The Anson was originally designed as a maritime patrol aircraft, entering service in the mid-1930s, but was already obsolete in that role by the outbreak of WW2, being mainly replaced by the Hudson.
    It went on to serve in training units, for navigation and radio training, but also remained in maritime use in a secondary role. Off the top of my head, as a pure guess, it's possible that this particular aircraft was based at Millom or Carlisle, as Anson squadrons both operated from there, one squadron at least being Polish.
    I have some better photos, but as a quick post, here is the Anson at Duxford.
    The type, in later Marks, was still in service with the RAF in the late 1960s, having rightly earned the nickname 'Faithfull Annie'.
    Hope this helps a bit.
     

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  5. radardish

    radardish New Member

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    ahh right, well the man in question was a navigator previously from the navy but went into the RAF. So i guess this would be his training school photo then?

    Thanks guys
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Certainly looks like it. I can't promise anything, and it might take some time, but I'll try to narrow it down if possible. The code numbers painted on the nose seem to indicate a training unit, rather than an operational squadron, so I might not be able to identify the unit.
    If you have any other info - approximate dates, maybe some history of where he served and so on, it would help a lot.
    BTW, the chap in the back row I think is in French uniform, not Polish. Poles serving in the British Forces wore British uniform, with a 'Poland' shoulder flash, and in the RAF, retained their own aircrew badges and buttons, on RAF uniform.
     
  7. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    You are right, that is a French uniform, the man seated second from right, what are the sleeve markings?
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #8 stona, Oct 8, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    It does look like a Free French uniform,but why are the "wings" on the right breast?

    I think that chap is a Warrant Officer with this badge/insignia on his sleeve.

    [​IMG]

    As the other have said it is definitely an Anson.

    Steve
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yes, It's a Warrant Officer, equivalent to an Army Sergeant Major. The wings on the French uniform are in the correct position, worn on the right breast, as were Luftwaffe, and the Polish eagle was also worn in a similar position. He also has an aircrew badge on the right breast pocket, as does the Sergeant to his left (right, in the photo), who might be Free French in the RAF, although could be Czech. Can't quite make out the details of this badge, which is different to the French one.
    The 'collar dogs' worn by some of the other Officer's, appear to be the 'VR' of the RAF Volunteer Reserve.
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #10 stona, Oct 8, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    Yep, I find that the Free French did indeed wear their "wings" on the right breast.

    [​IMG]

    Some things never change....senior officer in the middle at the front :)

    They are a multinational and representative bunch for the time.

    Steve
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I can't agree with that Terry, I'm afraid. The badge of the Polish Military Pilot or Navigator was always wearing on the left breast over the left pocket almost next to the collar of an uniform jacket.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Ah, sorry my friend ! I wasn't quite sure on that one, as I thought it was on the right breast on Polish uniform, and the same if worn on RAF uniform. I should have remembered, from other photos, and especially that particular photo, taken just after being decorated at Buckingham Palace.
     
  13. radardish

    radardish New Member

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    This is great stuff guys, thanks very much.

    How can you read the nosecone numbers? i was looking but couldnt make anything out. Interesting abou the polish insignia on the aircraft yet a french airman and RAF airmen.

    The only information is a rough year of 1943... bit crap really but im going to request the service records to see where and when he served. Really is interesting stuff.
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    In September 1943 there were no less than 153 Flying Training Schools (FTS) in the UK. During the war 14,400 pilots qualified through UK based schools,a number only exceeded by the 54,100 who qualified through Canada's 92 schools.
    The numbers for the USA (11,800) and Australia (10,500) aren't far behind. South Africa and Southern Rhodesia had a combined total of 14,400.
    It is worth mentioning the 4,200 who qualified in New Zealand,a disproportianate number from such a small nation.
    There were some Polish FTS and I'm guessing the aircraft and presumably the men infront of it may be at one of those.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure it's from a training unit. I am not aware of their being a Polish Air Training unit with the Polish Insignia on the plane, but I could be wrong. I think it's from an active unit.
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that an Anson was serving with an active unit in 1943. They'd pretty much been replaced by mid 1941. 48 Sqn. was one of the last to ditch its Ansons for Hudsons in June/July 1941 around the time they moved to the Shetlands....I bet they loved that.
    The Anson wasn't a great Coastal Command aircraft. The British submarine HMS Snapper was attacked by an Anson in December 1939. The aircraft dropped both of its 100lb bombs scoring one direct hit. HMS Snapper suffered four broken light bulbs! It was however a GREAT multi engined trainer.

    I suspect that the gentleman about whom the original query was posted may well have ended up in Bomber or Coastal Command,having trained on the Anson.
    There were Polish FTS and I wouldn't be surprised,though I don't know,if the Polish insignia was applied to those aircraft. That doesn't mean the photograph was taken at such a school,aircraft can and did move around to where they were needed.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I'm reasonably sure that one of the airfields I mentioned, Millom or Carlisle, had a Polish Anson unit - they certainly had Ansons based there at one time. I'll do some digging.
     
  18. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I agree with Steve. There were Polish FTS and aircraft used there wore the Polish AF insignia. Here is one of the FTS in Newton. I'm not sure but I have already seen somewhere the tall guy standing in the second row.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected gents, thanks for the education.
     
  20. radardish

    radardish New Member

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    Gentlemen, this info is great, glad to see there are some people as enthused as i am for this!

    I was chatting last night and was told that either the base in the photo or one of the ones he served at was Staverton, Gloucestershire, does that make sense?

    If it helps the gents name im looking into is Ben W Smith, bit unlucky to be looking for information on a chap who is called smith!!
     
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