Sunday, 1 June 2014

Newsletter for June

                                        Whirlwind Fighter Project

Chris Hayward
137 Squadron.

Welcome to the newsletter for June,this has been an interesting month having contained our first AGM you will find a full report a little further down. You may have noticed that I have reverted back to the old photo as the last one I used created much mirth and merriment among
family and acquaintances, there is no doubt that I look better behind dark glasses.

I must take this opportunity to thank Brian Barnes for the lend of his Radio so that we can measure and scan it so that Gunnar can fit it into the radio compartment on his CAD drawings.

                                    Whirlwind Stories


Joined 263 Squadron on the 19th of July 1940 and was believed shot down off Dodman PointCornwall by an Arado AR 196 of Bordfliegerstaffel 5/96. PO Kenneth Graham posted as missing. 

Thanks to Niall Corduroy's book Whirlwind for the above information.

The Last Flight of P6966

It is often overlooked that, by the Summer of 1940, the air battle for Scotland had been fought and won just as the Battle of Britain was beginning. The Luftwaffe was turning its attention to the South of England and taking the pressure off the Scottish RAF bases. There was still enemy activity but on a lesser scale, so the airfields could be used to rest operational squadrons from the south and to allow other units to work up on newer types of aircraft.

The largest airfield in Scotland was RAF Grangemouth. It had been opened by Scottish Aviation Limited in the Summer of 1939 as a training centre for the RAF Volunteer Reserve, and also quickly attracted civil passenger flights. Of course, all that changed with the outbreak of the war and Grangemouth was transferred to Fighter Command. The first residents were the Spitfires of 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, who were tasked with the defence of the shipyards and foundries of Central Scotland. 602 were joined by 141 Squadron in late 1939, who brought Gladiators and Blenheim Ifs to assist with local defence. 141’s primary mission, however, was to bring the Boulton Paul Defiant into operational service.

By the early Summer of 1940 Grangemouth was an extremely busty place, housing aircraft of many types and roles, including the Hurricanes of the re-formed 263 Squadron. 263 also had a local defence remit but their primary role was to shake the bugs out of the Westland Whirlwind.
In July 1940 my late father George Walker was a 13-year-old Air Training Corps member and an avid plane spotter, so he was very quick to notice the new shape and sound in the skies above the town. He was, of course, very familiar with the types operating from Grangemouth and had even flown from there several times on air experience flights provided by the station’s De Havilland Dominie communications aircraft. This new shape was twin-engined but clearly not a Blenheim. Sightings of this mysterious aircraft would remain rare, however, with 263’s Hurricanes being by far the most common sight.

In later years Dad couldn’t be clear as to when he found out the identity of this strange shape in the local skies, but during the school Summer holiday in 1940 he heard the sound of one of them overhead and he and my Granddad watched as it spiraled upwards into the sky. He then saw a glint as something fell away from the aircraft, followed by a black dot. The Whirlwind tipped on its nose and dived straight down, out of sight. The black dot deployed its parachute and floated serenely to earth. Dad and his pals got on their bikes and headed for the crash site but the aircraft had impacted soft ground known as Dunmore Moss and there wasn't much to be seen. The airframe had disintegrated and heavy items had buried themselves in the damp earth. Since the boys had comfortably beaten the RAF to the crash site – not unusual! – they had a quick look but soon decided there was nothing of interest and retreated to watch as the recovery crew finally arrived from Grangemouth and collected as much as they could of the shattered airframe. It seems the RAF then spent a couple of days looking into the hole and scratching their heads before deciding the best course of action was to simply fill it in.

The boys were luckier a few weeks later when 263’s Hurricane L1083 crashed into a field almost at the bottom of his street. This time a belt of .303 ammunition was “liberated” from the scene before the RAF arrived. They retreated to the sanctuary of Granddad’s air raid shelter where the cartridges were taken apart and the cordite propellant removed, to provide fuel for a series of cardboard and paper rockets! 

Many thanks to John Walker for the above account.  

What if? P6994 had been adopted by the United States Airforce and they had started their own construction line would we have seen one like this. just think of the various designs this would have created.
Profile from ww2

Velocity plot over the Whirlwind tail.

The left photos are taken from the left side the ones on the right are from above the tailplane. Copyright. The Whirlwind Fighter Project.

 Modeling the Whirly
Many thanks also to Phil Box for sending me this picture of his finished 1/72 Airfix Whirlwind, well done Phil, just proves that you can still do wonders with old kits like this.

Also from the Hyperscale site a picture of the new 1/48 Whirlwind test shots from Trumpeter this gives you a chance to compare the two kits.

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