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TOPIC: Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle

Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 17 Nov 2015 20:33 #1

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These Albemarles were part of a group of 26 parked at RAF Hampstead Norris on 12/04/1946 - visible on an RAF vertical held at Swindon (Historic England). The caption for this photograph says that they are awaiting disposal. What perplexes me are the markings 38F,21F,54F....Not the usual squadron markings. Any ideas anyone? TIA

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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 17 Nov 2015 21:37 #2

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I don't think those are squadron markings, or at least not of the type I would expect. Formation numbers? Since they are without engines I wonder if they are lot numbers.
01010000 01100101 01110100 01100101 01110010 00100000 01001011 01101001 01110010 01101011

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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 17 Nov 2015 22:01 #3

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Wellyboot;166441 wrote: These Albemarles were part of a group of 26 parked at RAF Hampstead Norris on 12/04/1946 - visible on an RAF vertical held at Swindon (Historic England). The caption for this photograph says that they are awaiting disposal. What perplexes me are the markings 38F,21F,54F....Not the usual squadron markings. Any ideas anyone? TIA


In 1945 HN became a satellite to Harwell, which was not flying Albemarles.

After 1946 HN was an ammunition storage depot, part of Bramley CAD.

Is it possible this photograph was taken somewhere else and is incorrectly labelled?

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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 18 Nov 2015 08:21 #4

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According to Putnams, Albermarle usage was:
295 Sqn Harwell, coded 8E & 8Z
570 V8 & E7
296 Sqn Brize, coded 7C, 9W & XH
297 L5 & P5
some were on establishment with 161 Sqn Tempsford, coded JR & MA, also 511 Lynham, coded BC.

I don't think that they display squadron codes though. I'd say they are "plane in group" markings to allow giant formations to assemble quickly. Two squadrons towed gliders at Arnhem, probably their last major use before the wars end. Overseas usage (N Africa) excluded.
Try posting the photo on a modelling site, like "Britmodeller" it's amazing what some people know.

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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 18 Nov 2015 10:36 #5

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Thanks for the replies - the idea of Formation numbers makes good sense. I'm just surprised that I haven't noticed them on any photos before now. Lot numbers are also credible, but seems a lot of trouble to go to for something being scrapped - but you never know with the services!

An interesting point re the engines having been removed. That puts the date later than April as the aerial photo clearly shows them fitted, but by November another vertical shows the aircraft had gone. Details of activities at HN after 13OTU moved out are very few and far between, but it was in 38 Group Care and Maintenance before becoming a Bramley sub depot.

As regards the Albemarles and HN, a detachment of 4 from No 42 OTU at Ashbourne flew from HN with Horsas in tow on 6th June 1944.

I'm currently researching for a book on HN, hopefully to be published in the middle of next year. This forum has been a god send for some aspects, notably the Drem lighting. I've been able to pick out the poles making up three of the funnels from a USAAF vertical in July 1943 - without the contributions from Carnaby and co, they would have passed me by.

Peter

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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 18 Nov 2015 10:42 #6

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Wellyboot;166462 wrote: Thanks for the replies - the idea of Formation numbers makes good sense. I'm just surprised that I haven't noticed them on any photos before now. Lot numbers are also credible, but seems a lot of trouble to go to for something being scrapped - but you never know with the services!

An interesting point re the engines having been removed. That puts the date later than April as the aerial photo clearly shows them fitted, but by November another vertical shows the aircraft had gone. Details of activities at HN after 13OTU moved out are very few and far between, but it was in 38 Group Care and Maintenance before becoming a Bramley sub depot.

As regards the Albemarles and HN, a detachment of 4 from No 42 OTU at Ashbourne flew from HN with Horsas in tow on 6th June 1944.

I'm currently researching for a book on HN, hopefully to be published in the middle of next year. This forum has been a god send for some aspects, notably the Drem lighting. I've been able to pick out the poles making up three of the funnels from a USAAF vertical in July 1943 - without the contributions from Carnaby and co, they would have passed me by.

Peter


The last units to use the albemarle were 42 OTU (Ashbourne/Darley Moor) and the HGCU. The last places for HGCU were Brize Norton, North Luffenham, Keevil, and Blakehill Farm.

I used to live in the area and there are tales of equipment buried in a chalk pit nearby, which I suspect is to the NW.

Could quite well be just one of those stories, but if you are planning on going, take a metal detector or someone who has one, along. If they have been scrapping stuff there you just never know what's been thrown in the bush.

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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 18 Nov 2015 12:02 #7

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Hi Ian,

Yes I first heard the tales of buried engines etc back in the early 80's. The chalkpit was topped off over a year or two with domestic waste from a district council - Slough I think, so no chance of anything there. I spent many an hour looking around over the years without coming across much, apart from Drem 2 wiring connectors. I was Spudaka's farm manager:

"The Manager of Haw Farm gets quite pissed off with people wandering round the woods looking at the remnants of the old RAF site, he was especially peeved with Richard Drew when he was shown Atlantic wall. I found this out as I went to get some photo's of the Pillboxes so as I wanted to go on his land I went and asked if it was ok. He was alright when I told him I was local and knew one of his fellow farmers and as I asked he said it was ok. Your OK if you keep to the footpaths but if you want to wander I'd advise you to go and ask. "

Now retired from there after 32 years and doing a 40 hr week for a few years before drawing my pension.

Peter

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