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TOPIC: Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair

Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 14 Dec 2017 22:31 #1

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I have been going through the online IWM archive and came across something relating to Lincolns aeronautical past that has me totally puzzled. I have in the past researched war artists. This lady, also known as Mrs Applebee had several war artist commissions, aeronautical ones include the salvage dump at Cowley. The commission to paint the 43 Group aircraft repair locates it as Lincoln 1945. This would have been the railway station she travelled to for the commission. Her notes talk about seaplane repair Any clues as to the precie location please. The images and IWM text will enlarge on this link: www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?f%5B0%...C%2043%20Group&query

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Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 15 Dec 2017 10:51 #2

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Good Morning,I have long puzzled where this was painted.The first fuselage has the code of 547 Squadron which was based at RAF Leuchars in 1945.43 Group and the "Civilian Repair Organisation" were concerned with the repair and overhaul of aircraft.I have not yet found any establishment that carried out this work on Liberators in Lincoln....I have found a reference that Tollerton Aircraft Services(30 miles from Lincoln) repaired Liberators but looking at the roof trusses and Hangar windows I am not sure they match up.Saunders-Roe carried similar work on Liberators and Lerwick flying boats at Greenock and Hendon but once again I cannot match up the Hangers to the one depicted in the painting.

The painting seems to depict rear fuselages only,minus one wing each,they face each other and there appear to be four rear fuselages-I think the IWM caption states that it depicts two aircraft-It is not quite clear.

Do you have any more information regarding the Artists notes?..I am doubtful if Lincoln is the Location,I thought in may have been Bracebridge Heath but that set up was based around ww1 Aircraft repair sheds and would not fit the buildings depicted....The interior shown resembles the interior of a"C" type Hangar(with artists license!) but it is still a mystery.
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Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 15 Dec 2017 11:13 #3

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Thanks for the response.It is definitely not Bracebridge Heath, although Avro did use a C type hangar at RAF Waddington.and would have been far to busy to touch either of these aircraft types in 1945. The caption says uniforms and 43 group which I think would rule out the civilian repair organisation. The artist notes are on the IWM links and mainly detail the way commissions and the War Artists Comittee operated. I take it you are familiar with the painting, I had never seen it before. Having checked other war artists work at Bracebridge Heath, Fauld and Cowley the artist would travel by train to a location and produce sketches over several days, possibly finishing the work at their studio. It might or might not get accepted and might have to be reworked and resubmitted. Some work wasn't accepted until after the war .
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Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 15 Dec 2017 16:15 #4

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Thanks John,

I too found this on the IWM site some years ago and it still puzzles me...I suppose the IWM caption may be incorrect,they do state that the picture contains two Liberators which does not appear to be the case.I have magnified her other painting showing airscrews and it is dated October,1945-I cannot see any date on the Liberator picture though...The airscrew painting shows a Halifax in Coastal Command colours in the background with engine cowlings of both Halifax(round) and oval(Liberator) being worked on.

Its very interesting the way the wartime Artists were engaged to do work,there are probably some works still tucked away somewhere!

12 MU at Kirkbride overhauled many types of aircraft including both types shown and it also had one "C" Hangar...I do not think this type was common at maintenance units...I am clutching at straws here...it could could have been painted anywhere...I cannot find any pictures with Hangar windows in groups of 4 X 4 lights...Quite a mystery painting and when enhanced it shows lots of detail and more distinct colours.

Have you contacted the IWM to see if they have any more gen ?

I do not like mysteries,I just hope someone will know more about the picture.

All the best,

Tony.
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Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 17 Dec 2017 16:21 #5

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Hello John,

There is a 43 Group file at the National Archives in AIR 17/6 and it contains a document," Repair and production survey,1944",it has not been digitised yet but I am going down to Kew next year and I will have look at it.
I have also contacted the IWM to see if they hold any more info. but their system is not working too well and response times are in the order of weeks.

All the best,

Tony.
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Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 19 Dec 2017 09:46 #6

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The rail location should be correct, just Waddington and Scampton having C types in proximity. All other local possibilities would be much nearer to other stations. The "seaplane" could be a confusion for coastal command. If these images are post VJ day, the hangars at both bases would be available for any available tasks that 43 group needed as most of the Squadron bombers would have been surplus. I checked the airfield histories without success, maybe the answer could be traced from individual 547 liberator files. Would they have been lend lease and being reduced to working spares?
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Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 19 Dec 2017 11:16 #7

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Bloodhound1949 wrote: 12 MU at Kirkbride overhauled many types of aircraft including both types shown and it also had one "C" Hangar...I do not think this type was common at maintenance units...I am clutching at straws here.

Over half the ASUs had Type C hangars. The following had between 1 and 6:

Aldergrove, Aston Down, Brize Norton, Burtonwood, Cosford, Hullavington, Kemble, Kinloss, Kirkbride, L. Rissington, Lossiemouth, Sealand, Shawbury, Silloth, St Athan, Ternhill, Wroughton
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Plan A is always more effective when the problem you are working on understands that Plan B will involve the use of dynamite :twisted:.

Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 19 Dec 2017 15:07 #8

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If the location is indeed Lincoln then I agree with your conclusion about Waddington and Scampton being the only candidates .I think the Liberator picture does show a C Type,I roughly worked out the internal height of the building using the 110 feet span of the aircraft as a reference...the internal clear height works out to roughly 30-35 feet,about right.The top beam of the roof trusses depicted is angled downwards as used in C Types.The windows take up about half the side wall depth and this matches with the CType.....The window lights and the Truss beam struts("X") do not fit but perhaps she was just creating an impression of the scene and not a photo type record?

Your comments on the "Seaplane" do fit the bill.The early Liberators were purchased by us but the later ones as per the ones shown(GR V..?) were lease lend...Some were broken up ,some returned to the U.S. and others remained with Coastal Command until 1947 ish.

My brain hurts!

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Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 19 Dec 2017 22:42 #9

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I have studied the airscrews image, the date by the signature is indeed October 45, making both images post war. We can only think of the RAF as being in a state of meltdown and looking how to best use resources as the post war economics of rebuild and recovery take shape.
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Last Edit: by john walls. Reason: sp

Somewhere near Lincoln War Artist Frances Macdonald 43 group Liberators and Halifax repair 21 Dec 2017 19:31 #10

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The IWM responded to my enquiry about this painting,they have passed my request to the head of their Art Department and if they have any more background information then they will contact me.

Cheers.
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