Harvard G-BJST was built in 1953 by the Canadian Car and Foundry Company (C&CF) as a model T6J. It was built for the USAF under the Mutual Development Assistance Program (MDAP) due to Military officials calling for the introduction of legislation to expand suitable military training equipment. After the negotiation of the North Atlantic defence treaty, there was a requirement to provide military aid to strengthen member country’s against the communist threat in Europe. As part of an order placed in 1951 by the USAF aircraft were supplied to the French, German, Italian, Turkish and other Airforce’s to help speed up their recovery after world war two. Apparently, under the contract number AF-20641, two batches of T-6 were manufactured by the CCF. The first batch consisted of 143 aircraft with 69 going to Italy, 24 to Belgium and 51 to the French Air Force

1951 – Constructed as a T-6J by Canadian Car and Foundry at Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario, Can.
Built as part of the Mutual Development Assistance Program (MDAP)
Taken on Strength/Charge with the United States Air Force with s/n 51-17110.
S/n issued for administrative purpose only – did not serve with the USAF.

Pictured right – we have Harvard 4 MM53795 in Italian service, which later became G-BJST (Picture submitted by Martin Pengelly)

Taken on Strength/Charge with the Aeronautica Militare Italiana with s/n MM53795. Transferred to SCIV (IA Scuola Centrale di Volo) (Central School of Flight Instructors). Markings Applied: SC-66
From 21 December 1981 to 26 July 1994 To Victor Samuel Eric Norman, Gloucs with c/r G-BJST.
From 21 December 1981 to 26 July 1994 Painted as a Zero for the film Empire of the Sun.
From 5 November 1996 to 2 January 1998 To Gerhard Robert Adolf Schilling.
From 2 January 1998 to 31 August 2000 To Anette Schilling.
From 31 August 2000 to 30 November 2004 To Tuplin Holdings Ltd.
From 30 November 2004 to 24 February 2005 To Classic Aero Engineering Ltd.
From 24 February 2005 to 11 August 2009 To Peter John Tuplin.
By September 2005 Markings Applied: KF729
Royal Air Force marks worn. Painted in the colour scheme of the aircraft HRH Prince Philip flew during his advanced training. His Harvard at that time bore the five stars denoting his rank of Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

From 11 August 2009 to 22 July 2010 To Classic Aero Engineering Ltd, Thruxton, Hampshire, UK.
From 22 July 2010 to 15 July 2014 To Neil Thomas Oakman.
By 2013 Based at Duxford Airport, Duxford, Cambridgeshire/Cambs, England.
Operates with T6 Harvard Aviation Ltd for pleasure flights

15 July 2014 To Glenister John Fricker and partners


G-BJST’s designation as the ‘T-6J’ is still a matter of debate. According to extensive research completed by Dan Hagedorn written in the book ‘North American’s T-6’ He states that “A great deal of confusion has surrounded the alleged use of the USAF designation T-6J to cover the MDAP – procured Harvard 4 aircraft that were built as new aircraft by the Canadian Car and Foundry Co., Ltd. (CCF) It seems that the designation of T-6J has gained currency over the years but up to now there has been no supporting evidence of this class. However, for the purpose of our aircraft, we will refer to it as the ‘J’ as this designation in the 21st century indicates that this aircraft was one of the aircraft produced under the MDAP scheme.



After production in January 1953, it was allocated the USAF serial number 51-17110 with its original airframe number of CCF4-292 and sent in a consignment of 69 to Belfast Northern Ireland where they were reassembled and later flown to Italy. when the Italian air force received there new aircraft they gave it there own serial number of MM53795. It was sent to the Italian air force to provide training for their new emerging Airforce and was probably based at Latina airbase near Rome where it’s sister aircraft now stands as a gate guardian.




Sometime during the 1970’s it finished it service with the Italian Airforce ending it service life as a SCIV (Ia Scuola Centrale di Volo (Central school of flight instructors) and then its history becomes a bit sketchy. It appeared on the UK and on to the British register in December 1981 at Kemble where the photograph on the right was taken. Thanks to Martin Pole for sourcing the Photograph and above information.



Apparently at this time G-BJST was part of the Jeff Hawks collection that supplied aircraft to the film industry) and was painted to appear as a Japanese Zero in “Empire of the Sun” with some work carried out to the rear canopy to make it look more authentic. It’s masquerade as a Zero was a little more convincing involving surgery to the canopy area + wing mods etc. It was shrouded in transparent plastic; G-BJST when it was offered for sale in an auction at Luton. You can see two of the Nord 3400s in the background. Ironically these also came originally from Ferte Alais.

With kind permission – Words and pictures by Tim Badham from an article on The Aviation Forum – http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?51235-G-TOMC-when-at-Baginton&highlight=G-BJST – G-BJST apparently withdrawn from the auction due to missing paperwork! CCF 292 Changed ownership again in 1996 and was taken to Little Gransdon for restoration to flying condition this was a slow process and eventually sold in August 2000 to Peter Tuplin at Classic Aero Ltd. (Photo Martin Pole)




G-BJST was painted in the colour scheme of the aircraft HRH Prince Philip flew during his advanced training. His Harvard at that time bore the five stars denoting his rank of Marshal of the Royal Air Force and is accurately represented on the starboard side of the aircraft today

BBC NEWS REPORT – 1953: Duke of Edinburgh gets his wings. The Duke of Edinburgh has been awarded his pilot’s “wings” during a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace. He was presented with the award by Air Chief Marshall Sir William Dickson, Chief of Air Staff.

 The Duke’s flying instructor, 29-year-old Flight-Lieutenant Caryl Ramsay Gordon was present at the ceremony. Earlier in the day, he watched his royal pupil complete three solo circuits and landings, or “bumps” as they are called, at White Waltham airfield in Berkshire in order to qualify for his wings.

An RAF examining unit had described his flying as “thoughtful with a sense of safety and airmanship above average”.


port-flapSomething else recently came to light when Brian Jones noticed that there was a serial numbered plate on the inside of the port flap with the date on it of 11-12-1943….Initially, this was quite exciting as we knew this could easily be traced. Using our Facebook friends we asked if anyone could throw some light on this and Shane Clayton from Canada came back with the following information….

Shane Clayton The ’14-‘ on the serial number means that it came from the Lend-Lease batch of Noorduyn AT-16’s (ie all the FE***, FH***, FS***, FT***, KF***, etc Harvard Mk IIB’s). 14A-1873 was KF172, but I don’t know if it was actually fitted to KF172 and installed on your Harvard at a later date, or as part of the vast spares inventory left at Noorduyn after the war and was eventually installed on your Harvard during production. I’m leaning towards it being installed on KF172 first, as your Harvard was built mid-way through the Can-Car production run (292 out of 555) and most likely would have had 99% CC&F new-built parts by that point in production.



Martin Pengelly Am afraid it didn’t do much… in storage most of its life and then issued to the Central Flying School between February 1951 and January 1955. Was sold for scrap in April 1957.

So this was slightly disappointing as we had hoped in a jovial sort of way that it may have come off a Harvard that had been operational in some exotic wartime location like the middle east or Malta training Hurricane pilots however this was not to be the case. KF 172 lived a very short existence, probably assisted in its 4 years of service life in the training of hundreds of pilots before succumbing to the blow torch and cutters!


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.



Let me introduce the Wacky Wabbit and AJ841

G-BJST Wacky Wabbit – A decision was made by the T6 Harvard syndicate in August 2014 to repaint 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. (Now at Eshott airfield Northumberland as of 2016) As a start-up enterprise, they looked at the Harvard as a flagship project to launchpad their business. Eshott Airfield link


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 Facebook 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 (Now based at Eshott Airfield in Northumberland)

Before restoration even began, painstaking research had to be done to find the right Harvard that was in the right place at the right time. We wanted to find a Harvard that served with the RAF in the DAF with a Duxford link. Martin Pengelly found AJ841 that flew with a former Fowlmere squadron which is a stone’s throw from Duxford just to the West. Having acquired the Air Ministry form 78 and permission from the RAF to replicate the original markings we started to research the original colours and markings that were applied to Harvard’s in theatre at that time. As with a lot of wartime aircraft there were many variations in camouflage colours, roundels styles and sizes. After much research thanks to the help of Shane Clayton in Canada we settled on the below colours, patterns. We didn’t just want to get it close to the original, we wanted to get it right! Although we are using a Harvard 4 as the base aircraft we changed the canopy to a Harvard II just for the added authenticity. At the time of writing this in May 2015 there is not a Harvard in the UK that represents a DAF Harvard or indeed in Europe. The only accurate Harvard that exists in original DAF colours is ‘AJ845’ (VH-TXN), FS966 based in Australia.

Wacky Wabbit squadron patch and nose art

Wacky WabbitThe Wacky Wabbit – This was added purely for marketing purposes, however the Rabbit in the Harvard was a wartime patch from the No 5 British Flying Training school in Florida. I slightly modified it and gave it the name “Wacky Wabbit” I wanted to call it “Wicked Wabbit” however that was taken by a famous P47 Thunderbolt!

The original patch is on the left and a modern interpretation on the right.  Courtesy of Chris Applegarth.



Original squadron patch 5 BFTS

Wacky Wabbit 2Provenance – Good evening Andrew, sorry for the delay getting back. The details of the badge was in some of my dads old documents. He had a tracing of one. Subsequently I met a number of 5 BFTS students who also had there own. They were painted on leather-like yours. – Chris Applegarth 

About No 5 BFTS – 1940 and the world was at war. Europe and Scandinavia had fallen. Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany. Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal had already made the decision that in the event of war, flying training in the United Kingdom should be abandoned. “It would be fraught with problems and danger. The British Isles were cramped, vulnerable and subject to bad weather.” Imagine instructing cadets in Tiger Moths in the hostile skies of Britain! RAF training had to be relocated if we were to secure a constant supply of pilots with which to defend our Realm. The wisdom behind this was highlighted on 16 August 1940 when the Luftwaffe in a single attack on RAF Brize Norton destroyed 46 training aircraft.

General “Hap” Arnold, Chief of the US Army Air Corps, supported Britain and largely due to his efforts, flying training began in the USA in early 1941.  The Arnold Scheme operational 1941-1943 and the BFTSs operational 1941-1945.



Above – Another variation on the roundels used on AJ844 AJ845 and AJ841 … It 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.


Research – A lot of research went into getting the correct roundels in the right place and of the right size. We had less than 10 original pictures of DAF Harvards on operations in the desert between 1941 and 1945 and there was some variation however we settled on the below scheme which fitted into the general theme and we believe that this would be an accurate representation of AJ841 when it was in war service with the DAF.



Harvard AJ841 – AJ841 was shipped directly from the USA to the Middle East on the 23rd November 1941 on the steamship M Livanos and she was struck off 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.
Harvard AJ841 – 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 DC Dunn from Minnigh (Syria) to Ramat David (Palestine) on the 12th February 1944.


An excerpt from the 154 Squadron Diary 11th February 1944:

154 Squadron DAF – 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. (Photo reenactment 2016 Eshott Airfield) History of G-BJST by Martin Pengelly

It seems that it wasn’t just 154 squadron and 74 OTU that used Harvard AJ841, new evidence came to light when Joe Hirst of the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar  found a logbook belonging to a former Spitfire pilot. When he opened the book he immediately saw Harvard AJ841 logged. This was like finding a needle in a Haystack!

243 Squadron 11th January 1944 – AJ841 logged

 AJ841 – AJ841 was logged on the 11th January 1944 flying from “Syria” Allepo to Petah Tiger in Palestine with the pilot named as F/Sgt Ernewein and passenger marked as ‘Self” The return journey was made from Palestine back to Aleppo on the 16th January 1944 this time with the pilot “Self” and the passenger F/Sgt Ernewein. The logbook is marked on this page as “243 Squadron Allepo Syria  1944”

243 squadron were in the following locations around this time  – December 1943: Kabrit, December 1943-January 1944: Aleppo, January-April 1944: Ramat David, April 1944: Alto

AJ 841 diary of restoration

The chronology of the restoration – Below is a small diary of events as we go through the repaint. 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 into 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 Topside 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

Wacky wabbit begins restoration

And so it begins on the 27th April 2015… The restoration of G-BJST to the new colours of AJ841… The engineer at Fishburn removes the control surface ready for blasting, etching and priming. While she is stripped down the annual inspection will begin on the airframe

8th May G-BJST is moved into the spray booth. Firstly the spray booth was meticulously cleaned and hoovered to free it from as much dust as possible. The grey paint will initially be removed with thinners down to the primer beneath.

The original topcoat 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 repaint! 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 repriming.

Wacky Wabbit in spray booth

Waiting patiently in the spray booth… This is the last picture of G-BJST in the colours that she has worn for well over 15 years. Kind of sad in a way to see her change however the new “Desert Air Force” colour scheme in this 70th year of the anniversary of the end of the second world war in Europe is a fitting tribute to the men and women of the DAF.

The history of AJ841 is written at the bottom of this page. We hope to recreate this particular Harvard that was delivered to the Middle East in 1941 and stuck of charge in 1946.

wacky wabbit prep for spray booth

13th May 2015 – paint is thoroughly wiped off with thinners, its a messy job but someone has to do it!

Wacky wabbit stripped down

05/06/2015 – ST looking extremely naked! The lads Richard and Sam of RS painters have done an amazing job. They even stayed overnight at the airfield just to get in early to turn on the heating. As you can see the acid “The secret weapon” (FAA CAA approved) has totally stripped the aircraft down to bare metal. The underside will be stripped tomorrow.

harvard bare metal restoration

05/06/2015 – When Richard and Sam said they were going to do a bare metal repaint they were not wrong! As you can see this is down to the bare metal, not a spec of paint in sight…The whole aircraft will be in this condition before being carefully prepared and primed.

Wacky Wabbit completely stripped

08/06/2015 – Almost completely stripped and ready for the jet wash. The underside is nearly stripped, just the inboard section of the wing to strip and the walkway cleaned off ready for the new 3M covering.

Wacky Wabbit under restoration

10/06/2015 – After a couple of weeks of being enclosed in the paint booth with the muck and fumes of the paint stripper it was time to get some fresh air for the aircraft and the team. Out in the sun, the aircraft was pressure washed and cleaned. All the residue of the acid was removed and prepared ready for the next phase which is sanding the whole airframe down. There was only some minor corrosion found which will need some minor attention before the aircraft is ready for priming…

16/06/2015 - The wing has been completely stripped and sanded…

16/06/2015 – The wing has been completely stripped and sanded…

1st July 2015 - The Middle Stone top coat is applied

1st July 2015 – The Middle Stone topcoat is applied

Wacky Wabbit in new colours

Wacky Wabbit in new colours

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