Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

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Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:14 pm

Some time ago a member on AHF asked what happened to a proposed deal between the UK and Turkey in 1940 for the Turkish to buy 60 Spitfires. I saw the thread late, and have spent the weekend doing some research, the fruits of which is more appropriate here...

....and the story is quite amazing! :shock:

First point of call was Wiki; not for hard research, but it VERY often gives hints and keywords to do some intelligent further searching on :wink: And I turned up THIS...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarin ... ers:_Mk_Is

The type numbers 332, 335, 336 and 341 were given to versions of the Mk I which were to be modified to meet the requirements of Estonia, Greece, Portugal, and Turkey respectively....The 59 aircraft for Turkey were approved, but after delivering two aircraft, the Foreign Office put a halt to that too in May 1940.
Interesting! At least the order DID exist, and as with so many in the panic of 1940, the order was halted....but NOT before two Type 341s were delivered! :wink: So much for "no Spits in the Med before 1941!"

Thus I was able to start some intelligent Googling.....
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:16 pm

Second port of call...

http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/types/uk/su ... tfire1.htm
Turkey - THK (15 Mk I ordered 1940 - not delivered, 1 Mk I shipped Sept 1939, 2 Mk I delivered June 1940)
Suddenly - an confusing embarassment of contradictions! :D There suddenly seemed to be ANOTHER MkI sent...

And there was a contradiction to the originally-postulated 60 Spits ordered! NOW it appeared there were only 15 in the deal...

But at least confirmation here.....and from a number of less detailed references on other sites....to TWO actually being delivered :wink:

Then I found THIS....!
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:19 pm

http://www.spitfires.ukf.net/p009.htm

One of those nice pages of individual service histories! :wink:

And buried in here I found the following....
P9427 Ia 590 EA MIII FF 19-3-40 8MU 28-3-40 609S 25-4-40 C2 ops 25-5-40 MMO 74S 21-8-40 41S 13-9-40 152S 2-10-40 Missing presumed shot down by Bf109s off Needles Isle of Wight Sgt Z Klein killed 28-11-40 (originally for Turkey)

P9550 Ia 678 EA MIII FF 6-5-40 8MU 2PDU HAL 20-5-40 Cv PRIII Type C 1PRU 27-5-40 ? 1PRU Wick 1-7-40 C2 ops crash-landed Bexhill 27-12-40 AST HAL 31-1-41 mods to PRV 1PRU 17-4-41 R-R M45 install 7-8-41 1401Flt 1-9-41 HAL 9-9-41 FTR met flight 7-11-41 (originally for Turkey)

P9553 Ia 738 EA MIII FF 29-5-40 6MU 10-6-40 603S 8-9-40 shot down over Thames Estuary by Bf109 P/O Dexter abandoned aircraft injured dbf 2-10-40 (originally for Turkey)

P9554 Ia 739 EA MIII FF 29-5-40 6MU 10-6-40 64S 14-8-40 shot down by Bf109 at Waldron Sussex S/Ldr MacDonnell abandoned aircraft 16-8-40 FH17 (originally for Turkey)

P9555 Ia 740 EA MIII FF 31-5-40 6MU 11-6-40 65S 16-8-40 303S 22-1-41 58OTU 20-3-41 air collision crashed nr Airdrie Lanarks CE 26-4-42 (originally for Turkey)

P9559 Ia 694 EA MIII FF 14-5-40 Turkish conversion then FF 20-6-40 9MU 20-6-40 54S 1-9-40 5OTU 3-2-41 FAAC 27-4-41 air collision with N3066 crashed Kimmel Park Bodelwydd An Flint dbf 2-11-41 SOC 15-11-41

P9560 Ia 701 EA MIII FF 15-5-40 Turkish conversion then FF 21-6-40 9MU 25-6-40 54S 1-9-40 dived into ground nr Bolton on Swale Kent P/O Sanders killed C3 7-9-40

P9561 Ia 684 EA MIII FF 8-5-40 Turkish conversion then FF 26-6-40 8MU 26-6-40 PRU 19-8-40 Cv PRIII Type C PRU Benson Missing from PR sortie to Ostend 16-2-41 FH101.20

P9562 Ia 675 EA MIII FF 3-5-40 Turkish conversion then FF 28-6-40 8MU 29-6-40 65S 18-8-40 FACB 13-1-41 AST CGS 13-3-41 DeH 16-4-42 new eng 52OTU 15-7-42 air collision with P7834 SOC 6-3-45

P9564 Ia 669 EA MIII FF 1-5-40 8MU 5-7-40 64S 19-8-40 FA crashed 4m N Leconfield C3 Sgt Laws safe 30-9-40 SOC 7-10-40 (originally for Turkey)
...the Service Logs of TEN of the 15 "Turkish" Spitfires that were taken under charge by the RAF when the order was cancelled!

But that's not ALL that I found in there....and THIS is where the puzzle REALLY began....!
P9566 Ia 660 EA MIII FF 27-4-40 SDF Christchurch N22 marks. sold Turkey as Type 341 returned as HK854

P9567 Ia 663 EA MIII FF 29-4-40 SDF Christchurch N23 marks. sold Turkey as Type 341 returned as HK856
:shock: RETURNED??? And given a NEW RAF serial number???
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:21 pm

In the SAME search I found THIS -

BUT WHY IS THE CAPTION IN POLISH??? :wink: :[] And what does it say???

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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:25 pm

The RAF serial number L1066 in the caption gave me something else to search on....and I IMMEDIATELY came up with THIS -

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/Stor ... tfire.html
At may 1939 a few Polish officers went to Great Britain to select English planes to buy. Poles ordered 100 Fairey Battle bombers, 14 Hawker Hurricane and one Supermarine Spitfire fighter.
At may 1939, when Polish oficers ordered theese planes list of countryes, wchich wanted to buy Spitfire was very long (Finland, France, Estonia, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Greece), but British agreed to send to Poland as primary.
Only two Spitfires were exported for abroad before the war. One to France and one to Poland. Spitfire, which was to be sent to Poland had RAF no.L1066 (factory np.281). L1066 had first flight at 21.07.1939. Also one of the best Polish pilots plk. (col.)Boleslaw Orlinski did a flights on L1066 at summer 1939. At 31.07 L1066 was delivered to 36.Maintenance Unit, where was stocked at ship (also with 25 Battle`s and probably Hurricanes).

First course of ship was planned to Baltic sea, where could go to Poland, but later Englishs decided to send it to Poland by Roumania becouse of risk of Germans U-Boots . This freighter ship was covered by Polish destroyer ORP Blyskawica. At 22.09 theese two ships reached Giblartar, but Roumania did not let to transfer wapon to Poland by its territory.

In that case L1066 was send to Turkey, which ordered 15 this fighters.

(In fact only 3 were delivered) All three Tutkey Air Force Spitfires were used in 42.Av Boluk VIII .Av Taboru 4ncu Hava Alay (42.Fighter Company Unit of 4.Fighter Reg.)at Corl near Stanbul. L1066 had in Turkey number 2901.
....and searching back on the serial number L1066 I found ITS service log...
L1066 Ia 281 EA MIII FF 21-7-39 36MU for packing and despatch to Poland diverted when Germany overran country. Turkey as Type 341 19-8-39 deleted from original RAF contract. Sent to docks 19-8-39
Time to start searching on the OTHER two that seemed to have been delivered, the two from the 1940 order - P9566/HK854 and P9567/HK856...and why THEY seemed to have ended up BACK in the RAF after going to Turkey and being used for some time by the Turks! :shock:
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:27 pm

This is what I NEXT found -

http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/album/ ... l&size=big
Shown here is an ex-Turkish Spitfire Mk.I, carrying the impresment serial HK856 at El Ballah in Egypt in mid-1942. As only two Spitfire Mk.Is were exported pre-war to Turkey, this would appear to be either P9566 or P9567.
Strange...for El Ballah was the RAF FIGHTER SCHOOL in the Delta, a sort of WWII Top Gun! :D No.1 Middle East Training School, variously referred to as "Gunnery School", "Fighter School", "Central Gunnery School", etc., etc. ....

So how on earth did it get there??? :shock:
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:28 pm

So....now we had a strange situation to get to the bottom of -

THREE MkIs had been sent to Turkey;

The FIRST was L1066, that had originally been intended for the Poles....who always retained quite an interest in it, given the Poles' later role in the RAF in Spifires and Hurricanes.

The NEXT TWO were a pair of MkIAs, built at Woolston...that somehow ended up BACK in British service in the Middle East! :shock:

Time to go hunting again...
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:35 pm

It was back to the Service Logs...
P9566 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became Turkish AF No.2092; Class B reg. N-22 - Arr Turkish AF in 05/1940; 42nd Company of 4th Air Regiment in 08/1940; Detached to Corlu; Grounded due to lack of spares 12/1940; Abu Sueir, Egypt, flown to No.1 (ME) Training School at El Ballah c.04/1942 (F/O NF Duke); Re-serialled HK954 by 25/04/1942; Fate unknown

P9567 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became Turkish AF No.2903; Class B reg. N-23 - Arr Turkish AF in 05/1940; 42nd Company of 4th Air Regiment in 08/1940; Detached to Corlu; Grounded due to lack of spares 12/1940; Abu Sueir, Egypt, flown to No.1 (ME) Training School at El Ballah c.04/1942 (F/O NF Duke); Re-serialled HK956 by 25/04/1942; Fate unknown

L1066 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became Turkish AF No.2901; TOC/RAF 31/07/1939 - Arr Turkish AF in 19/08/1939; 42nd Company of 4th Air Regiment in 08/1940, detached to Corlu; Grounded due to lack of spares 12/1940; Fate unknown
By December 1940 - all three were grounded in Turkey due to a lack of spares! :shock:

Which explains (and is corroborated by) a very strange and previsously garbled remark buried in "The Last Polish Spitfire" source...
All three Turkish Spitfires were used to 1940,becouse they didn`t had so much parts


But THEN what happened???
P9566 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became Turkish AF No.2092; Class B reg. N-22 - Arr Turkish AF in 05/1940; 42nd Company of 4th Air Regiment in 08/1940; Detached to Corlu;Grounded due to lack of spares 12/1940; Abu Sueir, Egypt, flown to No.1 (ME) Training School at El Ballah c.04/1942 (F/O NF Duke); Re-serialled HK954 by 25/04/1942; Fate unknown

P9567 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became Turkish AF No.2903; Class B reg. N-23 - Arr Turkish AF in 05/1940; 42nd Company of 4th Air Regiment in 08/1940; Detached to Corlu;Grounded due to lack of spares 12/1940; Abu Sueir, Egypt, flown to No.1 (ME) Training School at El Ballah c.04/1942 (F/O NF Duke); Re-serialled HK956 by 25/04/1942; Fate unknown
By early 1942 they had managed to get to the Delta, to RAF Abu Sueir - a VERY large operational base, home through the war to MANY combat and service squadrons, some American though mostly British - where I ASSUME it would have been more than possible to service them :wink: ...and THEN they were flown on to the Fighter School at El Ballah in April 1942...

But that's only PART of the reason those entries are SO interesting...

Look again -

They were flown there by...DAN DARE! :D :up:
P9566 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became Turkish AF No.2092; Class B reg. N-22 - Arr Turkish AF in 05/1940; 42nd Company of 4th Air Regiment in 08/1940; Detached to Corlu;Grounded due to lack of spares 12/1940; Abu Sueir, Egypt, flown to No.1 (ME) Training School at El Ballah c.04/1942 (F/O NF Duke); Re-serialled HK954 by 25/04/1942; Fate unknown

P9567 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became Turkish AF No.2903; Class B reg. N-23 - Arr Turkish AF in 05/1940; 42nd Company of 4th Air Regiment in 08/1940; Detached to Corlu;Grounded due to lack of spares 12/1940; Abu Sueir, Egypt, flown to No.1 (ME) Training School at El Ballah c.04/1942 (F/O NF Duke); Re-serialled HK956 by 25/04/1942; Fate unknown
....NEVILLE DUKE!!! :shock:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neville_Duke

Suddenly these have become celebrity aircraft!!! :D
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:38 pm

Let's have a closer look at Neville Duke's legendary career.....
Initial combat
Duke underwent pilot training and was commissioned at 58 OTU, Grangemouth in February 1941, before being posted to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill in April, flying Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vs. Operating over occupied Europe, Duke's obvious talents as a fighter pilot meant he often flew as wingman to Biggin Hill's Wing Leader, Wing Commander Adolph "Sailor" Malan. By August 1941, Duke had claimed two Messerschmitt Bf109s shot down. When the unit was withdrawn for a rest in October 1941, Duke was posted to North Africa to fly with 112 Squadron on the Curtiss Tomahawk.

Desert operations
Duke found flying the P-40 less agreeable than the Spitfire, and on a familiarisation flight crashed AM390. Duke was shot down on 30 November 1941, by the high scoring German ace Oberstabsfeldwebel Otto Schulz of Jagdgeswader 27. On 5 December, he was again shot down by a pilot from JG 27. However, his own tally of victories continued to mount and, after the squadron was re-equipped with the more capable Kittyhawk, by February 1942 Duke had at least eight victories, resulting in the award of the DFC in March. These included a CR.42 and a Bf 109 on the 20 and 21 December. He completed his first tour of operations the next month and then spent six months instructing at the fighter school in the Canal Zone.In November 1942, he rejoined 92 Squadron, which has been transferred to North Africa flying the tropicalised Spitfire Mark V. He became a flight commander in February 1943 and received a DSO in March. By the end of his second tour in June, Duke had amassed a further 14 victories to his total and was awarded a Bar to his DFC.
Promoted to Squadron Leader, he was posted to No. 73 Operational training Unit at Abu Sueir as chief flying instructor before returning to operations in March 1944 for his third tour, as CO of 145 Squadron in Italy, flying Spitfire Mk VIIIS....
So we can see that Abu Sueir crops up again in the story...but more important is THIS -
He completed his first tour of operations the next month and then spent six months instructing at the fighter school in the Canal Zone
The "next month" was APRIL 1942....I.E. "04/1942"...the month he ferried the two Ex-Turkish Spitfires to his new posting at El Ballah!
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:40 pm

...and something else also cropped up - 73 OTU! :shock:

...which is a remarkable coincidence - for although I don't usually reference modelling sites in discussions on aircraft, simply because they are full of SO much faux specifications and history....THIS appeared suddenly in the middle of a search, on an Airfix modelling forum!

It appears 73 OTU was indeed based at Abu Sueir during the North African campaign, and its aircraft were used at the Fighter School at El Ballah!

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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:41 pm

So where does that leave us?

We've found the service logs of TEN of the THIRTEEN Spitfire MkIas that weren't sent to Turkey, but were instead taken on charge by the RAF...

We have a significant part of the service history of the two 1940 MkIas that WERE sent...and we've seen that somehow they ended up BACK with the British in the Middle East by 1942 and had been impressed back into the RAF and had new serial numbers issued to them - and they were flown on to their new station by the legendary Neville Duke!

We know most of the career of L1066 "the First Polish Spitfire"...it DOESN'T seem to have made it to the Delta; probably it corroded away in a Turkish boneyard somewhere :(

ALL that remains NOW to find out is HOW the two 1940 MkIas actually got to Egypt...

And - how come some sources say the original Turkish order was for SIXTY Spitfires....and some say FIFTEEN???
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:45 pm

HERE is one source of possible answers...

http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/F ... ak/00.shtm

A modelling page belonging to a TURKISH modeller!
Turkey originally ordered 15 Spitfire Mk.Is and negotiated a licence to build more
later showed up in a RAF fighter school in Egypt in 1942, having been returned to the RAF in December 1940 due to lack of spares

I've emailed this guy to find out where he got his information from; but IF he is indeed correct...it looks like the Spitfire deal COULD have been something very like the Hurricane/Battle deal to Belgium; X-number of complete aircraft purchased (15)....and a licence purchased to build more domestically - in this case...possibly 45?....making the total - sixty??? :shock:

And...of course - if THIS is correct...
...having been returned to the RAF in December 1940 due to lack of spares...
....THESE two aircraft, P9566/HK954 and P9567/HK856, are ACTUALLY... the first COMBAT Spitfires the RAF had in the Mediterranean!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: Not a Delight - Spitfire MkIAs to Turkey...

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:49 pm

BUT....

The Turkish MkIa story does NOT end there... :shock:

One MORE MkIa eventually made it to Turkey... :wink:
P9565 Ia 702 EA MIII FF 16-5-40 AMDP AAEE as Type 343 30-8-40 trials with 30gal overload tank under port wing. trials with DeH prop. Service trials with 66S 118S and 152S. AMDP VA 29-9-40 special Duty Flt Christchurch 15-10-40 Cv Va M45 13-3-41 59OTU 2-10-41 HAL 30-4-42 Cv PRVIII Type G 1PRU 16-7-42 542S 30-9-42 8OTU 5-5-43 CE 25-2-44 SOC 25-8-44 sold Turkey
P9565, the aircraft off the production line IMMEDIATELY before the two that eventually found their way to the RAF in Egypt, seems to have had a long life as a development hack in the UK...

....THEN was converted to MkVa standard...DOES "HAL" mean Hal Far on Malta???...

....THEN was further upgraded to PRVIII standard and used for photo-recce (I THINK "G" means low-level)...

....THEN it was eventually struck off charge on the 25th of August, 1944 - and sold to Turkey! It looks like it might have accompanied the batch of 80 MkVBs that were sold to the Turks in 1944

It definitely took the Slow Road, arriving four years later than the other three MkIAs! :D
:wink:
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