Procrastinating? No, I am not. I just found a new hobby.
Colourising black and white photos.
This is from William Kerr Moncur’s collection that was shared by his son David.
Remember William Moncur?
He’s on the left with Johnnie Horan.
Collection Flight Sergeant Gérard Pelletier
This is another photo from the collection of William Moncur. David thought it would be great to add colours…
David told me the man on the wing is George Mullay who served with RAF 603 Squadron. The plane is a Spitfire F. 22. These two photos, which are also found in a book* about 603 Squadron, were taken at RAF Tangmere in 1948.
Priceless I would say.
Please share them but give due credit to William Kerr Moncur and his son David.
* The book is The Greatest Squadron of Them All by Ross, Blanche and Simpson (published in 2 volumes in 2003)
I was looking at Rod Smith’s Spitfire sitting on top on my filing cabinet while I was repairing the Bf 109G.
The landing gear looked too far apart.
I thought I had followed the well-detailed instructions to the letter.
I guess I missed something.
The only option left was a delicate operation using a razor saw and an X-Acto knife leaving a little blood along the way… It was worth the effort.
Rod would have been proud…
SMITH Roderick Illingworth Alpine (S/L) RCAF J4561
Distinguished Flying Cross 1 December 1942
Flight Lieutenant Smith has been responsible for the destruction of six enemy aircraft since his arrival in Malta. One day in October 1942 he led his flight in a determined attack on nine hostile bombers with a large fighter escort, and in spite of intense opposition by the fighters, Flight Lieutenant Smith personally destroyed a Junkers 88, while one Macchi 202 was destroyed by other pilots of his flight. This officer has always displayed the greatest determination and courage and during the recent hard fighting has been an inspiration to all.
NOTE : Public Records Office Air 2/9606 has a slightly different text communicated from Headquarters Middle East to Air Ministry, 4 November 1942 :
This officer arrived in Malta on the 15th July 1942 and since his arrival has destroyed six enemy aircraft with one-half probably destroyed. On the 11th October 1942 he led his flight in a determined attack on nine Junkers 88s with a large fighter escort approaching Malta from the north. Bombers [were] intercepted before they could cross the coast and in spite of intense opposition by enemy fighters Flying Officer Smith destroyed one Junkers 88 while one Macchi 202 was destroyed and another damaged by his flight. He has always displayed the greatest keenness to engage the enemy at all times and his determination and courage during the recent hard fighting have been an inspiration to his flight and squadron.
Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross 24 November 1944
Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Squadron Leader Smith has completed numerous sorties against the enemy. In four days he achieved the remarkable feat of destroying seven enemy aircraft. As squadron commander this officer led 412 Squadron on six missions in three days, during which period it destroyed twenty-seven enemy aircraft and damaged nine others. This was accomplished during the enemy’s persistent efforts to destroy bridges in the Arnhem and Nijmegen area which were vital to our ground forces.
With so many different camouflage patterns I decided to free-hand it.
Well sort of.
I could not help myself mixing and testing some camouflage paint.
And tinkering on the homemade decals.
I finished the book yesterday, and I have learned so much about the Smith brothers.
In late 2001 Rod Smith, one of Canada’s greatest air aces of the Second World War, with 13 kills to his credit, took his life when old age and its illnesses had begun to depress him. He left behind a part-written autobiography. At the request of his family, his friend, the historian Christopher Shores, took on the task of completing Rod’s story along with that of his brother Jerry, who disappeared flying at sea in the war.
Rod Smith and his brother Jerry both became Spitfire pilots during the Second World War, leaving their home in Canada only to find themselves – purely by chance – serving together in the defence of Malta during 1942. Jerry had already gained some fame as the first pilot ever to land a Spitfire on an aircraft carrier (due to a faulty fuel feed). Both showed immediate promise as fighter pilots, but by the end of that year Jerry was dead – last seen chasing a German bomber out to sea – while Rod had become an ‘ace’ and would receive the DFC. Two years later, serving as a squadron commander in western Europe, he claimed six Messerschmitts within a single week, and was involved in the shooting down of the first German jet aircraft to fall to British Commonwealth fighters. He ended the war as one of Canada’s highest scoring aces, with more than 13 victories to his credit. Qualifying after the war both as an aeronautical engineer and as a barrister, he brought a keen and analytical intellect to his passionate interest in aviation and aerial combat, writing many articles of great depth and insight. His suicide aged 80 in 2002 when old age and illness had begun to depress him was a great loss to the world of aviation history. This book, containing many diary entries from each of the brothers, is a testament to them.
Some dry fitting…
Finishing reading Rod’s Smith’s memoirs.