Found this last week on ebay listed as a 1930’s RAF photo. After receiving said picture, a closer examination showed it to be yes, RAF, but it was taken in America during World War II (Note the “USA” titles worn by some of the men). Most who know a thing or two about WWII aviation also know that the airmen of many Allied nations trained in the United States during that time. With wide-open spaces, fair weather, and, most importantly, a noticeable lack of Luftwaffe fighters to distract you, the US was the logical place to learn the fundamentals of flight.
Men of Britain and other nations were welcomed, and by the time the program ended thousands of airmen had been trained in what was obviously a very successful idea. To those who may disagree I offer this: Name one man in the RAF who was shot down in American skies by Luftwaffe fighters.
I rest my case.
Builders of such fine aircraft as seen above, “BP” was a great innovator of design, but by the 1950’s they faded away. I have always had a soft spot for the “Defiant.” It got a bad reputation for its vulnerability, but I like the design.
Based at RAF Waddington with 50 Squadron, XM652 was nearing the end of its days when photographed by yours truly at Decimomonnu Air Base on Sardinia in 1983. The first Vulcan I ever saw, the howl it made on take off impressed me for all time. (I didn’t know at the time that this “howl” was a signature of the mighty Vulcan.) I understand that XM652 was to be preserved, but the civilians who bought it screwed that up, and sadly the aircraft was subsequently scrapped. The nose section survives.
Featuring the immortal Bristol Bulldog, and the thoroughly excellent Airspeed Oxford.
This was an outstanding aircraft. Accordingly, it had an incredibly long life for a large flying boat, the last flying regularly scheduled airline service in to the 1970’s.
Out for a drive over California prior to their delivery to the RAF. All these aircraft carry USAAF markings but with the flash of the RAF on their tails. Identifiable serials are 41-12725 and 12727. Both aircraft did not survive the war.