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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:49 am
by Apollo
602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron Museum web site:

Following the changes at Hillington, this message is displayed on the site, but lacks any actual dates to show its currency:

The museum is in the process of moving to it's new location in the Royal Highland Fusiliers Regimental Museum, 518 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3LW. The museum will be re-opening at this location shortly.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:48 pm
by Dugald
Despite being an antiwar activist, I must admit to being unable to quench my admiration of the beauty in that killer-weapon, the Spitfire. Wow, but wasn't she a lovely looking piece of work! Even among today's super-sleek aircraft, in looks the Spitfire still outshines them all.

The history of No 602 Squadron is of course both gripping and interesting. It fails however to mention anything at all about the "private club" exclusiveness that protected, and was very much a part of, the organization of this R.A.F. City Of Glasgow squadron. Unless one could provide credentials of some sort to prove one's "private-club" quality, one just wasn't going to learn to fly with the pre-WWII, 602 Squadron.

I suppose one could pretty well say this about flying in any of the prewar RAF squadrons, but the 602's immediate pre-WWII reputation, was of an exclusiveness par excellence. If one was going to fly with the 602, one had to be just as much skilled in how to dine with the likes of the Duke of Hamilton, as with flying.

Anyway, Doonunda, that's a picture of a truly great aeroplane.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:39 pm
by Dugald
I thoroughly enjoyed that wee toot-around on the Spit Doonunda, great stuff, great pictures! Wonder how they got such good close-up pictures of the pilot inside the plane; oh I guess they had a digital camera, or some such wonder, installed inside the cockpit.

I think it was it must have been a Mk 18 plane (the last?) since it looks like she was carrying two cannons and two .5 machine Brownings; well the wings appeared to be able to accommodate such armament anyway.

Thanks again, 'n cheers Dugald.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:06 pm
by Apollo
To ease the conscience of the anti-war (and I'm not being sarcastic), consider the Pink PR or Photo Reconnaissance Spitfires:


Although the pilots didn't fly combat missions, they earned the same respect (and some say more) as their fighting brothers.

The aircraft was completely unarmed, being modified to be faster, lighter and have greater duration and altitude that the combat model. The pink colour was chosen after being found to be the most effective colour for daytime camouflage.

The pilots had to fly to the target destination, drop down to a suitable altitude to take the required photographs, from a side-facing camera mounted behind the cockpit, and then return to base with the film. They couldn't have a fighter escort, as this would have alerted the enemy to their existence, and if they were detected, being unarmed, the pilots life (and the film) was dependent purely on their flying skill and the increased performance of their aircraft to get them out of trouble.

The picture I selected shows what I believe to be a genuine PR aircraft, as there are a number of restorations or conversions to be found now. I understand the true PR aircraft never featured the signature bubble canopy of the fighter.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:40 am
by Dugald
Apollo, I wasn't aware when I first read your introductory sentence that the lengthened screen was in use, and what I read was:

"To ease the conscience of the antiwar (and I'm not being sarcastic), consider the Pink PR Photo Reconnaissance Spitfires". The important word "or", did not appear on my screen.

"Now" , says I , to myself, " PR means public relations, but what the heck was a Spitfire doing in public relations? ". 'Well", thought I, " if a Spitfire is going to be in public relations, I suppose a pink one will attract more attention than a camouflaged one!".

It wasn't until I read the rest of your post that I realized what "PR" stood for, and had a bit of a chuckle to myself.

I have never seen a pink Spitfire in a picture, or in reality, and I haven't even ever heard of one. Yet there it is, in your post... clearly a Spitfire, and clearly a pink one. Geez, I must add further that it's a hellish looking colour for a Spitfire; in fact, it's a hellish looking aeroplane! I wonder if it's significant that the source of this picture of a pink machine is a German.

I know you weren't being sarcastic Apolla, but let me say, I don't think the flying of a pink reconnaissance Spitfire would relieve the conscience of an antiwar activist any more than driving a getaway car in a bank robbery would relieve the conscience of an anti-robbery activist.

As a point of wartime verbal interest, it might be of interest to mention that, as I recall, the wartime papers in Glasgow never spoke of "combat missions": in the jargon of the day it was usually "sortie". The expression "combat mission" I'd guess is very much American.

A very interesting post Apollo, and I enjoyed reading it. Even if I don't like the picture of the pink Spitfire, it is, for me, certainly something new. Cheers, dugald.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:07 am
by Apollo
I know what you mean about the 'antiwar conscience' bit, I was really only nodding at the unarmed aspect of the PR version as a machine, it was still part of World War II. Like the Pr bit :) pair of brackets missing maybe, rather than an 'or'.

I tried a slightly different hunt for some pics, not many about, and came up with this gallery of one in flight, where the last pic shows the camera port. Again, you have to admire the pilot's skill in using that enforced camera angle to take pics of ground based targets.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:32 pm
by Dugald
Another set of great pictures Apollo. The pink Spit didn't look just so bad in these pictures. In flight it looks just as good as those with the normal camouflage... my admiration of the plane's beauty is restored! Yes, I can appreciate a great deal of skill being required to take photos with the starboard wing pointing to the heavens; but mind you, I always felt a great deal of skill was required even just to fly the thing on an even keel!

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:37 pm
by Apollo
Good find on the video doonunda, I must've typo'd in my search as I kept getting the Prodigy leering back at me.

I may be wrong, and the owner spent most of the time zoomed in on the aircraft detail, but the few snatches of the interior and exterior surroundings show that that video was shot at our very own Museum of flight at East Fortune. If not, it's a damn good imitation.

The bubble canopy doesn't rule the plane out as an original, if the story is correct, as most are restorations, and the original parts aren't always to hand. Depending what they can source, Spit restorers fit the canopy they can get, and pray for the one they want to appear at an auction.

Interesting point in the vid for me was what seemed to be a clear closeup of a camera port in the underside of the aircraft. I don't recall one being mentioned there, usually the one behind the cockpit is the one that gets the attention. Would make sense as the two ports would tie in with the typical overhead and oblique views the usual RAF aerial photography provides. Still learning.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:38 pm
by Dugald
Great pictures from you too Doonunda...I'm airsick after all that loop-the-looping! Yes, I did notice the bubbled canopy, but this could simply have meant it was a regular squadron plane being used for reconnaissance, and not necessarily a replica. I wouldn't have thought that the planes were specially built for reconnaissance. I'd have guessed they'd just have had a camera port installed in the fuselage and Bob's your uncle...a recce Spit. I noticed the D-Day identification strips on the plane. Kind of defeats the purpose of the pink decor.

I enjoyed reading about Chris le Roux and his command of the 602. Seems he was quite an ace. I recall Rommel getting hit but I was never aware of the 602's involvement, a bit of a feather in its cap no doubt.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:17 pm
by Apollo
Yes, the D-Day stipes seem to be a mistake, I can't see the RAF putting unarmed PR Spits up in the middle of the action, unless the went in after things quietened down, to see what had happened, then th estripes make sense. The need for camouflage would be largely redundant, but they wouldn't want to be shot down by Allied fighters who had control of the air by then.

The PR Spits were indeed specially built for the job, and standard aircraft couldn't have done it without conversion. The fighter variant had specially reinforced wings to absorb the recoil from the machine guns and later cannons that were fitted, otherwise they'd have fallen apart when the guns were fired (a discovery made after test flights). The PR variants had the space freed up by the omission of gun structures for fuel tanks, and even more cameras in some cases:


Image shows an RAF Photographer fitting two F24 8" focal length cameras into a blister under a wing of a Mk Ic Photo-Reconnaissance Spitfire. To keep the current balance of the aircraft, the other wing had a 30 gallon extra fuel tank fitting, again in a blister under the wing. Approx date of his is 1939 - 1940

The area behind the pilot was also extensively modified to take the cameras fitted there, which were at least as large and heavy as those shown above. I believe this camera replaced a fuel tank, and was positioned there because of the effect it had on the centre of gravity and performance, and this was ultimately why the armament was removed and replaced by fuel tanks in the wings.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:19 am
by ozneil

Pierre Closterman served with 602 City of Glasgow Squadron.
Pierre CLOSTERMANN was the highest scoring French ace of WW2 with 33 air victories.

According to the French it was Jacques Remlinger & a Kiwi Bruce Oliver, with the 602 City of Glasgow Squadron who shot up Rommel:-

Jacques Remlinger was one of the two pilots of the group of hunting 602 City of Glasgow, with the New Zealander Bruce Oliver, who, on July 17, 1944, mitrailllèrent the car of the marshal Erwin Rommel close to Holy-Foy in Normandy, killing the driver and a motorcyclist of the escort, wounding seriously the marshal Rommel (it will die on October 14, 1944 in circumstances not completely éclaicies - continuation with its wounds or constrained with the suicide? -), and more slightly its aide-de-camp, major Lang. A few days later, Jacques Remlinger will be decorated with Distinguished Flying Cross, but it is only in 1990 that it will learn the reason from it, with the opening of the files of the RAF

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:34 am
by HollowHorn
My Granny said that in Clydebank, the pink bombs were the worst :?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:55 am
by ozneil
Dugald Wrote:

It fails however to mention anything at all about the "private club" exclusiveness that protected, and was very much a part of, the organization of this R.A.F. City Of Glasgow squadron. Unless one could provide credentials of some sort to prove one's "private-club" quality, one just wasn't going to learn to fly with the pre-WWII, 602 Squadron.

Not quite correct Dugald:-

F/L Archie Ashmore McKellar of No 605 Hurricane Squadron from Paisley, Scotland was a plasterer in his fathers business before he joined the A.A.F. in 1938. He was short in stature being only 5ft 3ins. He shared in the shooting down of the first Heinkel bomber to perish over Britain. McKellar shot down at least 3 Heinkels on the 15th of August 1940 and on the 9th of September scored four more kills. On the the 11th of September 1940 he took over command of No 605 Hurricane Squadron from Squadron Leader Walter Churchill. Another four were shot down by McKellar on the 15th of September 1940. He was awarded the D.F.C. and Bar also the D.S.O. On the 7th of October his score rose another five kills, all Bf 109's. McKellar shot down 21 enemy aircraft before his death on the 1st of November 1940 when he was in combat with Bf 109's over Kent. His Hurricane I (V6879) crashed at the side of Woodlands Manor near Addisham at 18:20hrs. A.A.McKellar is buried at New Eastwood, Glasgow.

He joined, was trained and fought in 602 before his transfer. He was in 602 when he shot down the Heinkel at Haddington.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:16 am
by ozneil
602 Half remembered things I heard many many moons ago.

One of the Tory Air Ministers Lord something or other used to be a fltlooie in 602 when they were flying Hawker Harts??? . He used to just tip his wheels rolling in a field beside his girl friends father's farmhouse just outside East Kilbride, one day he misjudged it & knocked over a chimney pot. He was ranting on about air safety when I was told that.

Pilots in 1930s used to buzz cars on the Gaergunnock???? Straight behind the Camsies flying very very low & staight at them then peeling away at last minute. They did that till someone crashed.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:56 pm
by Dugald
Ozniel, I liked your wee bit of history about Archie McKeller: very interesting stuff about a great fighter pilot. Seems he had an exciting, if unfortunately brief, life. I'm not quite sure about your "Not quite correct Dugald". You say he was a "plasterer in his father's business", and this he may well have been, but I doubt very much if he had any intentions of becoming a plasterer. I'd think rather, he was simply learning the business from the bottom up. I'd guess Archie would have been able to furnish some sort of "private-club" credentials, and would have been quite at home dining at the Duke of Hamilton's table.

No Ozniel, I think I'll stay with my original somewhat vague claim regarding the "private-club" exclusiveness that protected Glasgow's 602 Sqdn. pre WWII. I don't think they were going to 'sign on' a plasterer for flying lessons...unless of course the 'plasterer' had, at the very least, a senior matriculation, and if he had this, it is very unlikely he'd have been working as a plasterer. Needless-to-say I don't know, I'm just guessing, there are no facts here.
Cheers, Dugald.