Names of the Lancaster BIII Specials used in Operation Chastise (Dambusters)

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by TicketMingle, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. TicketMingle

    TicketMingle New Member

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    Guys,

    Anyone know any of the names (e.g. Enola Gay) of any of the BIII Specials' used in Operation Chastise?

    Or indeed have any infirmation/photos of the characters that would have been painted on their fuselage's

    Cheers in advance

    Adam
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    As far as is known, none of the aircraft were named, or had 'nose art', at the time of the dams raid. The aircraft had only been delivered a couple of days previously, some the same day, and there wasn't time, let alone inclination, to think up and apply any names to new aircraft.
    However, there is at least one photograph which shows what appears to be a cartoon duck figure on the nose of one aircraft, but this was taken long after the raid, before the aircraft were eventually 'converted back' to standard bomber configuaration.
    Bear in mind, these aircraft, configured for the 'Upkeep' weapon, were only used once!
     
  3. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    Operation Chastise Lancasters.

    ED932 AJ*G pilot Guy Gibson.
    ED909 AJ*P pilot Harold ‘Mick’ Martin
    ED929 AJ*L pilot Dave Shannon
    ED925 AJ*M pilot John Hopgood
    ED906 AJ*J pilot David Maltby
    ED887 AJ*A pilot ‘Dinghy’ Young
    ED912 AJ*N pilot Les Knight
    ED937 AJ*Z pilot Henry Maudslay
    ED864 AJ*B pilot Bill Astell
    ED927 AJ*E pilot Bob Barlow
    ED921 AJ*W pilot Les Munro
    ED934 AJ*K pilot Vernon Byers
    ED936 AJ*H pilot Geoff Rice
    ED825 AJ*T pilot Joe McCarthy
    ED865 AJ*S pilot Lewis Burpee
    ED910 AJ*C pilot Warner Otterley
    ED918 AJ*F pilot Ken Brown
    ED866 AJ*O pilot Bill Townsend
    ED924 AJ*Y pilot Cyril Anderson


    ED825 was a spare aircraft that was delivered on the day of the raid. Previously it had been used for trials at Boscombe Down and not fitted with spotlights or VHF equipment. It is presumed that squadron codes were painted on the aircraft in time for the raid but it cannot be confirmed. The allocated Lancaster ED915 AJ*Q developed a glycol leak on start up. Te crew transferred to ED825 which took off more than half an hour late.

    The Lancaster with the nose art is ED886, added after the Dams Raid.(I know of two photographs.)
     
  4. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Airfix's Dambuster comes with markings for "ED912/ AJ-S" with The Saint painted on the nose, and dated at December 1943...all sounds a bit fishy to me, especially the date, and AJ-N's serial being used... what d'yas reckon?

    (I have read however that some 617 lancs were reconfigured later back to 464 provisioning for further dam attacks...don't know how true (or not) that is)
     
  5. northcro

    northcro New Member

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    There is a photograph of Lancaster ED921 AJ-W flown by Flt. Lt. Les Munro depicted in flight on Page 101 of Jarrod Cotter and Paul Blackah's excellent book "Avro Lancaster 1941 Onwards (all marks) Haynes Workshop Manual" depicting an insignia below the cockpit on the port side. It appears to be an image of a Saint character which was depicted on another 617 Squadron aircraft later after the raid.

    When speaking to Les Munro he is of the opinion the insignia was added to his aircraft after the raid, as the aircraft had only just been delivered within days before the actual raid and there would not have been time to add any additional markings etc.

    I am trying to track down a photograph showing the fuselage markings of Lancaster ED921 AJ-W so I can build a Tamiya 1/48 Dambuster's Lancaster depicting Les's aircraft. Can anyone help or point me in the right direction to view if any photographs exist.

    I understand the style of the "W" was not standard on this aircraft. Also I believe the serial numbers of the aircraft are supposed to have been styled ED921/G with all 617 Squadron Special aircraft having the additional letter /G written on both sides of the fuselage with their serial numbers to indicate the aircraft were to be under guard. I have seen photographs of Guy Gibson's aircraft - not sure whether it was taken before or after the raid which did not depict the /G after the serial number.
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Sorry, haven't been able to fins a photo of Les's aircraft showing the code letters. But the 'G', for 'Guard' was applied to all aircraft upon delivery, and can be seen on existing photographs. this, I believe, was removed once the 'upkeep' equipment was removed.
     
  7. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    For Operation Chastise ED865 was AJ*S. It was lost on the raid. Aircraft could be, and often were recoded. ED825 was AJ*E when it was lost on 10th Dec 1943.

    ED912 was photographed with F/Lt Kearns and crew with 'The Saint' artwork. Their first operation with 617 Squadron was to bomb the Antheor Viaduct 11th Nov 1943.
     
  8. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    According to Mark Postlethwaite in his book 'The Dambusters in Focus the 'Chastise' Lancaster with artwork is ED886 (sic) AJ*O. I cannot see any resemblance at all to the 'The Saint' on ED912. There is another photograph of ED886 after the raid which shows some kind of artwork on the port side.

    There is a photograph of Gibson and crew boarding ED932 supposedly during Operation Chastise. There is no /G on the serial number. Sometimes these photographs are 'staged' afterwards. Operation Chastise was ultra top secret so it is no surprise that there were very few photographs taken. There is one of ED817 taken in flight which may have the /G after the serial number.

    There was no official/standard font/lettering used by the RAF until after the war. As a result there was a multitude of styles in use during the war. The peculiar letter W you refer to is probably that in a photograph of Munro and his crew with LM482 KC*W with which he led Operation Taxable
     

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  9. TheMustangRider

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    Great photographs antoni!
     
  10. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Echo the above post!

    The 'ITMA under the Saint figure stands for 'It's That Man Again', catch phrase of the book character.

    Evan
     
  11. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Member

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  12. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Terry...I read somewhere the 'G' (for 'Guard') was painted out prior to take-off for the raids already - can't remember the source though unfortunately. (have a feeling it was a book I found on the history of 617, with photos of E-easy in Sweden after the war)
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I think you might be right Evan, as that rings a bell. Seems logical also, in case of landing/crash-landing in enemy territory - no 'G' to mark it as 'special'.
     
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