Author Topic: 79 Squadron Dolphin codes  (Read 573 times)

Offline Black Max 72

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79 Squadron Dolphin codes
« on: March 03, 2018, 07:30:25 PM »
Hi Everyone
I have a bit of a dilemma, I've been thinking about purchasing the WNW Sopwith Dolphin but I want to depict an aircraft flown by a local lad from Rockhampton Queensland here in Aus. His name was Captain Percy Valentine Tanner and he flew with 79 Squadron as a flight commander. He was reported missing on an Offensive Patrol on the 27 March 1918, after the war the burnt out wreckage of his plane and what appeared to be his grave were found about 21 miles south west of Albert. I've recently found that the serial number of his Dolphin was C4050. Now the problem I have is how or where I would find what Squadron letter was assigned to this airframe. I've been going through a process of elimination with the known images of 79 Squadron Dolphins and a list of the serial numbers of the aircraft assigned to the squadron trying to lower the possibilities before I realised that the Squadron letters would've been reused on replacement airframes. I haven't been able to track down a picture of C4050 so most likely one doesn't exist. I am wondering what my next move might be or whether I'm researching a lost cause. Would anyone know of any publications of repositories that I can turn to next? Or better yet would one of you knowledgeable gentleman have such info at hand? The rest of 79 Sqdn markings are pretty standard all I'm missing is the fuselage and wing letter.
Percy wasn't an ace, he was just an ordinary pilot doing his duty a long way from home and it cost him his life like so many others. I would like the opportunity to honour his memory in a small way by modelling the aircraft he flew, any help would be most appreciated.

Dave Rickard
Rockhampton QLD

Offline rowan broadbent

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Re: 79 Squadron Dolphin codes
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2018, 11:50:01 PM »
Hello Dave,

From the excellent Dolphin Monograph published by the RAF Museum in collaboration with Cross & Cockade:

https://www.crossandcockade.com/store/Product.asp?cat=51&id=304

C4050 left England in a packing case  on 5th March 1918, was assembled and sent to 79 Sqn on the 15th of that month nad shot down on the 27th with only 1 hr and 25 minutes recorded flying time. I Can't find any photos either, but given its short life that's not surprising. C4050 came from a batch of 500 built by Sopwith and from other aircraft close to that serial they sem to have standard Sopwith markings with four "Lift Here" markings each side and the serial number on the usual panel. As I understand it, squadron/aircraft specific markings were only added at squadron level and given this machine;'s short life and the pressures induced b the great German offensive Operation Michael which took place at around this time, it is conceivable that individual markings had not even been applied at the time of Tanner's loss. If you could just cobble together the serial ans apply to a Sopwith square you could accurately represent the machine as delivered - and possibly as lost?

Good luck with this worthy project anyway.

Rowan
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen

Offline lcarroll

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Re: 79 Squadron Dolphin codes
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2018, 01:19:47 AM »
Dave,
    If you do go ahead with this project the book is a truly outstanding reference; I just received mine and it's going to be a valuable source when I start my Dolphin. Highly recommended!
Cheers,
Lance

Offline Black Max 72

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Re: 79 Squadron Dolphin codes
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2018, 03:58:48 PM »
Thank you Rowan and Lance for your replies. This is just the kind of information I was after. I'm amazed at the short service life of C4050, I guess I won't have to worry too much about weathering! She would be pretty much factory fresh. I like your theory Rowan, given its short service life, that C4050 might only have the standard RFC markings and the 79 Squadron square. I foresee no trouble in creating the serial number on white decal paper and if I come across any further evidence of a Letter I could apply it later. As you say, given the situation at the time in late March 1918 and the losses 79 Squadron suffered, the turnover of airframes wouldn't have allowed much time for squadron markings to be applied.
I have seen the Cross & Cockade book on the Dolphin, it looks great. I'm hoping they will release it as a PDF like their excellent release on the Nieuport in RFC & RNAS service. I prefer to get these publications in digital (they take up less space that way!)
On a related matter Rowan, I'm curious about the non standard markings of Dolphin C3905 of 79 Squadron flown by 2Lt Clarke on Volume 2 of you Sopwith Dolphin decal sheet. Is there a story about why they differ from the rest of the 79 Squadron markings?
Anyway gents thanks once again for your help :)

Dave Rickard
Rockhampton QLD