So much history gone forever




 
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February 1st, 2015  
sandwichery
 
 

Topic: So much history gone forever


Most of us have heard stories about this topic, but it still seems like such a waste. The vast majority of the aircraft involved were merely examples of over-production but many were unique samples with their own special stories.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-t...layer_embedded
February 1st, 2015  
JOC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandwichery
Most of us have heard stories about this topic, but it still seems like such a waste. The vast majority of the aircraft involved were merely examples of over-production but many were unique samples with their own special stories.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-t...layer_embedded
It's absolutely amazing the number of aircraft produced for WW2. The photo's help to bear this out.

~ 325,000 by USA
~ 177,000 by Britain
~ 136,000 by USSR
~ 134,000 by Germany
~ 72,000 by Japan
February 2nd, 2015  
MontyB
 
 
I am not entirely sure they are gone forever as we have the capacity to reproduce every one of those aircraft today.

All you have to do is get Flugwerk on the phone and you can be flying your own FW-190 made from the original dyes and machines.

The history that we are losing forever is the men that flew them, the ones that could explain the intricacies of the aircraft and the experience of taking them into combat.

In recent years the technology has become available to record their stories and I imagine that 50-70 years from now we will have access to the life stories and experiences of those from the Gulf War onward at the push of a button but we have lost any chance of hearing about the Boer war and have limited opportunity with WW1, WW2 and the Korean war. I just hope we do not squander the chance to gather information from those we have left.
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February 2nd, 2015  
JOC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I am not entirely sure they are gone forever as we have the capacity to reproduce every one of those aircraft today.

All you have to do is get Flugwerk on the phone and you can be flying your own FW-190 made from the original dyes and machines.

The history that we are losing forever is the men that flew them, the ones that could explain the intricacies of the aircraft and the experience of taking them into combat.

In recent years the technology has become available to record their stories and I imagine that 50-70 years from now we will have access to the life stories and experiences of those from the Gulf War onward at the push of a button but we have lost any chance of hearing about the Boer war and have limited opportunity with WW1, WW2 and the Korean war. I just hope we do not squander the chance to gather information from those we have left.
Plus many of the more common ones: P-51's, Thunderbolt's and Spitfire's are still are hanging around for airshows and such. I think Monty has a good point it's the aircrews and their experiences (heroic or just plain hair raising) that need to be remembered.
February 3rd, 2015  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I am not entirely sure they are gone forever as we have the capacity to reproduce every one of those aircraft today.

All you have to do is get Flugwerk on the phone and you can be flying your own FW-190 made from the original dyes and machines.

The history that we are losing forever is the men that flew them, the ones that could explain the intricacies of the aircraft and the experience of taking them into combat.

In recent years the technology has become available to record their stories and I imagine that 50-70 years from now we will have access to the life stories and experiences of those from the Gulf War onward at the push of a button but we have lost any chance of hearing about the Boer war and have limited opportunity with WW1, WW2 and the Korean war. I just hope we do not squander the chance to gather information from those we have left.
I'd love to see a Wellington and Halifax built as there are no examples (as far as I am aware) static or airworthy, but the costs would be astronomical. A Wellington was dragged out of a Scottish Loch a few years ago, but I don't know what state she's in now
February 3rd, 2015  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
I'd love to see a Wellington and Halifax built as there are no examples (as far as I am aware) static or airworthy, but the costs would be astronomical. A Wellington was dragged out of a Scottish Loch a few years ago, but I don't know what state she's in now
There are two complete surviving Vickers Wellingtons preserved in the United Kingdom. Some other substantial parts also survive.
  • Wellington IA serial number N2980 is on display at Brooklands Museum at Brooklands, Surrey. Built at Brooklands and first flown in November 1939, this aircraft took part in the RAF's daylight bombing raids on Germany early in the Second World War but later lost power during a training flight on 31 December 1940 and ditched in Loch Ness. All the occupants survived except the rear gunner, who was killed when his parachute failed to open. The aircraft was recovered from the bottom of Loch Ness in September 1985 and restored in the late 1980s and 1990s. A new Wellington exhibition around N2980 was officially opened by Robin Holmes (who led the recovery team), Penelope Keith (as trustee of Brooklands Museum), Norman Parker (who worked for Vickers) and Ken Wallis (who flew Wellingtons operationally) on 15 June 2011, the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the type's effective prototype in 1936.
  • Wellington T.10 serial number MF628 is held by the Royal Air Force Museum. It was delivered to RAF No.18 MU (Maintenance Unit) for storage at RAF Tinwald Downs, Dumfries, as a Wellington B.X, on 11 May 1944. In March 1948 the front gun turret was removed in its conversion to a T.10 for its role as a postwar aircrew trainer; the RAF Museum later refitted the front gun turret in keeping with its original build as a B.X (wartime mark numbers used Roman numerals, Arabic numerals were adopted postwar). In Autumn 2010, this aircraft was taken to the RAF Museum's site at Cosford for restoration over the next four or five years.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nvs0rzf-sQ"]Wellington Bomber 24.09.10 - YouTube[/ame]


Halifax Survivors:

The Yorkshire Air Museum, on the site of the Second World War airfield, RAF Elvington, has a fully restored aircraft re-constructed from a fuselage section of Halifax B.Mk.II HR792 and parts from other aircraft including the wings from an RAF Hastings. It is painted to represent Halifax LV907, "Friday the 13th" from No. 158 Squadron RAF on the port side and "N - Novembre" of 347 "Guyenne" Squadron, Free French Air Force, on the starboard side (RAF Elvington being the home of the only two French heavy bomber squadrons in Bomber Command).

Another fully restored Halifax, NA337 of No. 644 Squadron RAF, then based at RAF Tarrant Rushton, is a transport/special duties version, and was retrieved from the bottom of Lake Mjsa in Norway in 1995 after being shot down in April 1945. It was taken to Canada and restoration was completed in 2005. NA337 is a Halifax A.Mk.VII Special Duties aircraft built by Rootes Motors, at Liverpool Airport and is now preserved at the National Air Force Museum of Canada at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, near Kingston, Ontario.

A third Halifax is a B.Mk.II, serial W1048, 'S' for Sugar of No. 35 Squadron RAF. On the night of the 27/28 April 1942, this aircraft was taking part in a raid on the Tirpitz - its first operational flight. It was hit by anti-aircraft fire after releasing the four 1,000-pound (450 kg) mines it carried and the pilot made a successful belly landing on the frozen surface of Lake Hoklingen. The crew escaped to Sweden with the help of the Norwegian resistance, except for the Flight Engineer who remained behind because of a broken ankle and was taken prisoner. Within hours, the aircraft sank through the ice into 27 metres (89 ft) of water.
In the summer of 1973, it was recovered from the lake by a team of divers from the RAF and a Norwegian diving club, and was transported to the UK on a British Army Landing craft tank. It is displayed in its "as recovered" condition in the Bomber Command display at the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon in London, apart from the nose turret which had already been restored prior to the decision.
The front fuselage section of Halifax MkVII PN323, built by Fairey Aviation at Manchester, is displayed at the Imperial War Museum in London. PN323 was the final Halifax scrapped, at Radlett, with the forward fuselage being recovered in 1965 and the nose section/crew compartment moved to the IWM 1978.
On 26 November 2006, archaeologists from the Warsaw Uprising Museum, Poland, unearthed remains of another Halifax (JP276 "A") from No. 148 Squadron RAF, which was found in southern Poland, near the city of Dąbrowa Tarnowska. It was shot down on the night 45 August 1944 while returning from the "air-drop-action" during the Warsaw Uprising.
In August 1945, while on weather patrol, the aging Halifax bomber LW170 from No. 518 Squadron RAF sprang a fuel leak and, while trying to return to base, was forced to ditch off the Hebrides Islands west of Scotland.
A project is currently underway with the stated aim of finding, recovering and restoring Halifax LW170. When it is recovered it will be restored and displayed at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta, Canada.
One side of the nose and cockpit of Halifax Mk. VII NP707, which completed 67 operations with No. 432 Squadron RCAF, was saved when the aircraft was scrapped after the war. It is now owned by the Bomber Command Museum of Canada.
In December 2014, the discovery of the largely intact remains of a bomber believed to be Halifax W7656 missing following an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz on April 28, 1942 was announced. As two of the crew failed to escape, the aircraft was designated a war grave.
February 3rd, 2015  
sandwichery
 
 
A customer of mine once ask me why I put so much emphasis on the story of a certain aircraft. I tried (and failed) to convince him that it was the story of the aircraft that was important, not so much the aircraft itself. Viewing a replica or even one of the many that barely made it off the assembly line before the end of the war just doesn't have the same impact as seeing one that has an interesting story behind it.
Many of the subjects of the original video were basically anonymous production numbers that had no real historical significance. It was that hidden gem that had an important story that it took to the smelter that was the real loss.
The USAF Museum in Ohio is a great example of what I mean. Its inventory includes a B29 and a couple B17s. That in itself would be interesting, but when the B29 is the "Enola Gay" and the B17s are the "Memphis Belle" and the "Swoose" it makes the place a destination not to be missed in my book. In fact we're making that trip in September and I can't wait.
February 3rd, 2015  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Thanks Monty I was totally unaware of the Wellingtons and Halifax's being restored.

I'd still love to see an example of each aircraft take to the air again.
February 3rd, 2015  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandwichery
A customer of mine once ask me why I put so much emphasis on the story of a certain aircraft. I tried (and failed) to convince him that it was the story of the aircraft that was important, not so much the aircraft itself. Viewing a replica or even one of the many that barely made it off the assembly line before the end of the war just doesn't have the same impact as seeing one that has an interesting story behind it.
Many of the subjects of the original video were basically anonymous production numbers that had no real historical significance. It was that hidden gem that had an important story that it took to the smelter that was the real loss.
The USAF Museum in Ohio is a great example of what I mean. Its inventory includes a B29 and a couple B17s. That in itself would be interesting, but when the B29 is the "Enola Gay" and the B17s are the "Memphis Belle" and the "Swoose" it makes the place a destination not to be missed in my book. In fact we're making that trip in September and I can't wait.

But my point is if the Enola Gay was put into a group of exact replicas of the Enola Gay none of us could pick it out.

We associate items with events, first US bomber to complete 25 missions over Europe=Memphis Belle (even though it was beaten by "Hell's Angels"), Atomic bomb dropped by the Enola Gay etc. etc. but the fact is if they painted Memphis Belle or Enola Gay on any B-17/B-29 we would assume we are looking at the real one.

It is the event we remember the aircraft is simply a supporting prop, would you sooner spend an hour getting Paul Tibbets story or an hour looking at the aircraft.
February 3rd, 2015  
JOC
 
 
I personally believe that both the aircraft (many of which were state of the art machines, i.e.: spitfire, P-51, B29) and the experiences of the aircrews are of historical importance.
There were some aircraft whose aircrews were very notable. But let us not forget that their were thousands upon thousands of aircrews that took part in the war and ~ 150,000 allied men didn't make it. They were the real heroes, who paid the ultimate price in histories greatest air war.
 


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