HISTORY - AJ 841 - History and restoration 8th May 2015 - “WACKY WABBIT”
A decision was made by the T6 Harvard syndicate in August 2014 to re paint G-BJST in a new colour scheme for 2015 as the current paint was looking rather tired. The idea to paint her as a former RAF Desert Air Force (DAF) MKII Harvard was suggested by Andy to the group and it was agreed. However the question was who is going to pay for it? Andy put out the feelers for a sponsor and thats when talks began with Richard Pike and Sam Woodgate of RS Paintworks based at Fishburn airfield. As a start up enterprise they looked at the Harvard as a flag ship project to launch pad there business.
They had an airfield, a new dedicated spray booth with all the mod cons, brand new equipment and more importantly a painter/engineer that had been in the business for over 30 years. Over a phone call and a few face book messages a deal was set up and RS paintworks became our first official sponsor. I would just like to thank RS for there kind generosity by taking on this project and kind offer of sponsorship. They have a bright future in aviation and we wish them all the best.
RS PAINTWORKS FISHBURN AIRFIELD
Wacky Wabbit squadron patch and nose art
The picture on the left is a Mk III. Its registration is EZ452 as seen on the underside of that wing, which was indeed a Harvard Mk III. According to 'The Harvard File' EZ452 'W' 73 OTU Fayid SOC 13/9/45. 73 OTU used Mks.II, IIa, IIb and III. EX452 went direct to the SAAF in January 1943 as 7031 and was returned to the RAF in December 1946, sold for scrap August 1950.
As you can see the large antennas as on the pictures above were only seen on NA-76 Harvard’s (AJ538-987) as they were originally ordered by France before the entire order was taken over by the RAF.
Another variation on the roundels used on AJ844 AJ845 and AJ841!... It also has bomb racks so I guess this was used as a bombing trainer in the desert as there are no accounts of a DAF Harvard taking part in any action in this theatre of ops....Just another pic adding to the many variations….Picture kindly supplied by Martin Pengelly and the location of the aircraft is possibly in the area of the OTU in Fayid during the desert theatre of operations during WW2.
A REPRESENTATION OF AJ841 HARVARD II DESERT AIR FORCE 1941-46
DESERT AIR FORCE (DAF) AJ841
AJ841 was shipped directly from the USA to the Middle East on the 23rd November 1941 on the steam ship M Livanos and she was struck of charge on the 25th April 1946.
During her time in the Middle East AJ841 saw service with 74 OTU where it is believed she would have been used for acclimatising fighter and army cooperation pilots to desert conditions. Records show that Harvard’s in this area were also used for conversion and continuation training for pilots on to the Hurricane and Spitfire.
74 OTU formed in Aqir in Palestine from ‘C’ Flight of 71 OTU who made various moves to Rayak in July 1942, Muqeibila in November 1942 and back to Aqir in February 1943. Control was later handed over to 203 Group in May 1943. The unit disbanded in July 1945.
AJ 841 does have a connection with Duxford as she saw service with 154 Squadron. Originally 154 Squadron were based just to the West of RAF Duxford at RAF Fowlmere before they were deployed to the Middle East in 1942. Record cards for 154 Squadron show the squadron Harvard being flown by flying officer D C Dunn from Minnigh (Syria) to Ramat David (Palestine) on the 12th February 1944.
An excerpt from the 154 Squadron Diary 11th February 1944:
Arrived. We lived under very uncomfortable conditions owing to having been separated from our kit. As airlift for pilots could not be arranged, they had been sent with the ground party. We were first of all told that we were going to Italy, but this was afterwards altered to Corsica. A few days after our arrival we were informed the ‘wing’ would be converted to Spitfire IXs.
Aircraft paint work sponsored by RS Paintworks. 07510 623869
History of G-BJST by Martin Pengelly
AJ 841 diary of restoration
The chronology of the restoration - Below is a small diary of events as we go through the re paint. I aim to log and record all the work as an historical record for this aircraft. As we know, so much detail is lost over time so this is an accurate record for the future.
- 07 April G-BJST - Taken to Bruntingthorpe (Andy Goodall) for a replacement MKII Canopy - The front and centre section was fitted
- 08 April elevators and rudder must be re skinned before the paint is applied
- 27 April Panels are removed and control surfaces are remove by Mark Golding...
- 08 May Spray booth meticulously cleaned of dust. ST Moved in to the spray booth to be prepared.
- 13 May Panels are removed and thinners used to wipe off some of the paint
- 16 May Almost completely stripped down of panels and waiting now for the annual inspection to begin.
- 05 June The top surfaces and fuselage are completely stripped using paint stripper. When stripped ST will be washed down with a pressure hose at 70 degrees C to remove any acid residue then cleaned again.
- 08 June Top side stripped and underside 90% completed
- 10 June Completely stripped and pressure washed - The whole aircraft now needs sanding with some attention to minor corrosion
- 16 June Sanding completed and some corrosion dealt with, mainly on the port flap and small areas on the fuselage
- 30 July Aircraft completed with all control surfaces on and signed off by the engineers ready for flight… However the C of A runs out tonight!
- 10 August The C of A ran out on the 30th July so waiting for permission from the CAA for a ferry flight back to Duxford
- 29 August AJ841 is flown back to Duxford By Mike Cuming (Mike dropped off by Neil Oakman in his Seneca at Fishburn) almost 5 months after the original drop off
The original top coat was applied approximately 15 years ago and has lasted well, that was until she was polished with a corrosive agent accidentally which removed some of the top surface hence the reason for a re paint! The primer beneath was expertly applied so the overall condition of ST is in excellent condition. Having said that it will be removed back down to bare metal and etched before re priming.
The history of AJ841 is written at the bottom of this page. We hope to re create this particular Harvard that was delivered to the Middle East in 1941 and stuck of charge in 1946
Rear wing spar plate
Shane Clayton Looks like these came off an RCAF Mk 4 since BJST was already in Italy by 1959. Aircraft Industries was the overhaul depot for eastern Canada. (Northwest Industries in Edmonton was for western Canada)
Shane Clayton I'm pretty certain that the mod plate refers to the diagonal stringer reinforcements added to the undersides of RCAF Harvard (both 2 & 4) horizontal stabilizers in the mid to late fifties.
The RAF Air Ministry form 78 shows that it was delivered from the USA and shipped direct to the Middle East (ME) 23/11/41on the SS M - LIVANOS ....It looks like during its time in the Middle East it moved internally up to the 21/061945 and then "Struck of Charge" (SOC) on the 25/04/46
Interestingly the SS M LIVINOS may be either Steam Ship (SS) MARY or MICHAEL which were both incidentally sunk by U Boats in 1943 off the West coast of Africa!
At 10.37 hours on 11 July 1943 the unescorted Mary Livanos (Master Theodore Glyptis) was hit on the port side aft by one G7e torpedo from U-178 while steaming at 8 knots in the Mozambique Channel.
AJ 841 SERVED WITH THE BELOW UNITS
AJ 841 - was in the same batch as the other two AJ 845 - AJ 944. All served initially with either 71 or 74 OTU. Some went onto the Egyptian Air Force and one to the USAAF. AJ 841 was struck off charge on the 25 April 1946.
154 Squadron - The squadron reformed in November 1941 at RAF Fowlmere (Just West of Duxford) as a fighter squadron equipped with Spitfire IIAs. It was briefly located in the south west of England then based at RAF Hornchurch. In November 1942 it moved to Gibraltar and Algeria to take part in Operation Torch. On 4 June 1943 it arrived in Malta, it then operated from Palestine and Cyprus. From 23 August 1944 it was based at Fréjus, France providing air cover for the forces that moved north to join those that had landed at Normandy. It was disbanded in Naples on 1 November 1944 but reformed on 16 November 1944 at RAF Biggin Hill to escort bombers and flew Mustangs until it was finally disbanded on 31 March 1945.
71 OTU - Formed at Ismailia in Egypt under the control of No 202 Group on 1 June 1941 from the fighter element of No 70 OTU. Its task was to acclimatise fighter and army co-operation pilots to desert conditions. From June to September it was tasked with providing night defence of the Canal Zone but in the latter month it moved to Gordon’s Tree in the Sudan. In October ‘C’ was detached to form No 74 OTU and with it the commitment to train army co-operation pilots. Further moves occurred on 1 May 1942 to Carthargo and 5 May 1943 to Ismailia with control passing to No 203 Group on 10 July 1943. Training ceased on 20 May 1945 and the unit disbanded on 11 June.
74 OTU - Formed at Aqir in Palestine from ‘C’ Flight of No 71 OTU on 18 October 1941 to train army co-operation pilots in tactical reconnaissance duties under desert conditions. It made various moves to Rayak in July 1942, Muqeibila in November 1942 and back to Aqir in February 1943 before ending at Petah Tiqva in September 1943, with control being transferred to No 203 Group on 10 May 1943. The unit disbanded on 16 July 1945
Mobile: +44 (0) 7850 907183 (Glen)
Mobile: +44 (0) 7840 750999 (Neil)
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Mobile: +44 (0) 7717534574 (Andy)
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