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Grumman Hellcat KE209.


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At least 3 of us intend to build a model of this aircraft so I decided to start this thread with what I've got on her.

Please feel free to add anything.

KE209 started life as a  Grumman F6F-5  c/n  10924 and the U S Navy serial number 79779. She was allocated for issue to the Fleet Air Arm and became KE209. I doubt if she ever wore any USN markings.

She was delivered on 09/04/45 and  first flown on 12/05/45 at US Navy Station, Brooklyn, NY.

She came to the UK in July 1945 and first flew here on 05/07/45. The place where she flew is listed by the FAAM as  A.A.U.-1 .

I have no idea what that means.

I suspect she arrived at the docks in Glasgow and then went to Renfrew like most of the other lend lease stuff.

She is listed as being modified at Abbotsinch 2 weeks later so it is possible she could have gone directly there .

On delivery she would have been overall Sea Blue Gloss.

I think she would have had type C1 fuselage roundels, a fin flash and Type C roundels above and below the wings..

She never entered service and was stored at various bases until allocated to HMS Fulmar, RNAS Lossiemouth.

Captain D MacIntyre DSO DSC RN. flew her from Lee on Solent to Lossie where she was taken on charge by the Station Flight. Her log books show her as 'Captain's Hellcat'

Here she is in 1949

vHfsxn7h_o.jpg

B67Ydakw_o.jpg

She was flown by the following Captains at Lossiemouth.

Captain Donald George Frederick Wyville Macintyre DSO (2 Bars), DSC, MiD, LOM(US), RN. 02/07/1946 29/01/1948
Captain (Sir) John Caspar John GCB, RN. 30/01/1948 24/08/1948
Captain Douglas McIver Russell RN 25/08/1948 21/08/1950
Captain Henry John Fullerton Lane OBE, RN. 22/08/1950 01/12/1952
Captain John Augustin Levers OBE, RN. 02/12/1952 13/07/1954
Captain Philip David 'Percy' Gick OBE, DSC, RN. 14/07/1954 10/12/1956

She stopped flying in 1956 and was placed in open storage.

Here are 2 photographs of her taken at different times , 1958 and  1959 I think.

yR37VRs4_o.jpg

yFzB00Bs_o.jpg

Note that in the above photo her wheels appear dark blue . I suspect that the silver ones are later.

Note the nose art..more of that later.

Captain Gick's name is under the cockpit and it appears that the over wing roundel has been changed to a Type D but she still has the fin flash.

Lossiemouth also has Hellcat KE178 which was used as a source of spares until no longer any use, she was burnt for fire practice around 1957 or 58.

KE209, although no longer flying, was taken from storage and preserved.

At the time preservation for historical purposes was in its infancy so she was resprayed in RAF Blue Grey and had Type D roundelsapplied. These had the lighter shade of blue like the Skyraider. The fin flash and nose art were not kept.

Here she is in the sixties.

7WTqoCqc_o.jpg

 

HuBGS9Bk_o.jpg

dFpeeYrG_o.jpg

In 1967, she and Sea Fury VX653 were towed to the main gate as guardians

W1SwIgCL_o.jpg

Fortunately common sense prevailed and she was soon removed and went back to NASU before going  to the Fleet Air Arm Museum in April 1970.

She remains there

l2eXpk38_o.jpg

Note that when she was repainted at Lossie they used a stencil

KO06Pa4r_o.jpg

I had been in contact with an American modeller, David Womby , on another forum. He built KE209 using the old Airfix kit.

This is what we decided the nose art looked like.

xOFFKTgE_o.png

 

OK..over to you @Miggers

 

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I hope you don't mind, I've done my own version of what I think the nose art looks like - on the left below:

AVvXsEiEdaiZ6zDvc6K490IF8pjrXYItHP_QRMk0

When I enhance the photo I can see what looks like a point on the tail and the pitch fork is held differently. I'm not happy with the face (it looks more like a panda), but from what I can see from the photos it looks more like the original nose art to me, although I know that printed for a 1/72 you won't see much difference. Perhaps our resident artist @Che Guavacould improve on it?

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Ian Stott from Edinburgh got a tour of the base in September 1958 and took photographs. He also made detailed notes on the aircraft.

I'm not sure which of the photos was taken then though but I think it is probably the one under the netting where it has dark wheels (or at least the port one)

Ian has been contacted and hopefully he will remember any details.

I'll also need to find out the story about the chip on the propeller blade.

@Gorby

I think that your interpretation is more accurate.

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Ok,here's the colourisation of the various B&W photos that Richard has supplied:

colorize-b-Ts-Hu-Hellcat.jpg

Hellcat-1.jpg

colorize-fbvu-F-Hellcat4.jpg

 

Hellcat-Colorized-Enhanced.jpg

colorize-Jog-LV-Hellcat3.jpg

Note that some have shown the cat's background as blue-ish,others have it beige,but as Richard noted when he first saw them,the beige shows up the red "Hell Kat" script better.

Another interesting point is that the aircraft is actually a fighter-recon variant,note the camera ports low down on the rear fuselage.

Whether this was a British modification I don't know,but as Richard mentioned earlier,she went to Abbotsinch

for "modifications",but that usually meant fitting of British radio and naval equipment,Sutton harness and 

possibly British spec gunsight.

As Richard says,the FAAM only provides a rather potted history and service record of KE209,like him, I'm not

sure about "A.A.U-1",I think this is a misprint either in the a/c's log books or by the FAAM and therefore

should actually be "ADU",standing for "Aircraft Delivery Unit".

Whether HMS Sanderling/Abbotsinch's ADU was actually -1 is another avenue for exploration,post war though,

such units were often redesignated as "RNAY" or "Royal Navy Aircraft Yard"

 

 

Edited by Miggers
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Coming back to her roundels. 

Look at this crop of the photo of her in 1949.

p5FDTQrA_o.jpg

C1 roundel on fuselage. Am I correct with that ?

Looks like a different colour of paint behind it.

Underwing roundel Type C ?

Note the gap between KE and 209.

In her storage photos we can't see the fuselage roundel but the top one looks like a type D .

The underwing one looks bigger than the 1949 one and is possibly a type D too.

KE209 serial doesn't appear to have the gap like in 1949.

What is that behind the open cowl flaps?

Is it painted on or part of structure ?

I don't see it on airframe in museum if it is structure.

 

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Definitely C types mate.

I wonder if she originally had Pacific Fleet great big blue/white roundels painted on ?

That might account for the different paint behind the fuse. C1.

Would've thought by that stage in the game,the American factories were delivering 'em painted and roundeled up

ready for serials,titling and unit codes to be painted on at ADU or unit level.

I've seen Corsairs in overall Sea Blue with late war C types on(look at Revell's 1/72 kit),Skwonk sent me a set from it.

In "Airwar over the Orkneys" I'm sure there's a Corsair in TSS with C types.

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This answers the badge question. Ian was the photographer on both occasions.

 

Richard ; 

The ( roughly circular ) background shape to the cartoon was a much faded very light blue , washed out & weathered 
-  it had been sitting out in a salty atmosphere for a few years !
That badge was on the port side only .
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On 19/03/2022 at 08:25, Che Guava said:

Aw!!! I just had to google 'Grumman Hellcat G-" didn't I, and found G-BTCC preserved, dammit!

Anybody ever seen it carrying its 'G' registration? Even chalked oh?

I have seen it,big impressive brute,and their Wildcat.

I don't think they've got it now Al,but you know,modeller's licence,chalked on registration...............

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Since Captain Gick's name is on her side, I thought I'd attach his service record.

As an aside it is reported that he wore a monocle when flying the Hellcat.

Gick,
Philip David

"Percy"

P.D. Gick (© Imperial War Museum (A 21266)) P.D. Gick
P.D. Gick P.D. Gick
P.D. Gick 
P.D. Gick
Son of late Sir William John Gick, CB, CBE.
Married (1938) Aylmer Rowntree (died 1993); one son, three daughters.

@Telegraph.jpg

22.02.1913
Portland, Weymouth district, Devon
-
16.01.2002

[Bosham Hoe, West Sussex ?]
Midsh. 01.09.1932
A/S.Lt. 01.01.1935
S.Lt. 07.04.1936, seniority 01.11.1934
Lt. 18.09.1936, seniority 01.08.1936
A/Lt.Cdr. 25.08.1943?
Lt.Cdr. 01.08.1944
> 06.1944, < 07.1945, seniority 01.02.1943
A/Cdr. > 06.1944, < 07.1945
Cdr. 30.06.1946
Capt. 30.06.1952
R.Adm. 07.07.1961 (retd 25.08.1964)
Companion of the Order of the Bath CB 08.06.1963 HM's birthday 63
Officer of the Order of the British Empire OBE 13.06.1946 HM's birthday 46
Distinguished Service Cross DSC 16.09.1941 sinking of Bismarck [investiture 25.05.43]
Distinguished Service Cross DSC 06.10.1942 attack on enemy submarine [investiture 25.05.43]
Mention in Despatches MID 20.01.1942 HMS Ark Royal sunk 14.11.41
Mention in Despatches MID 05.12.1944 passage convoy JW59 & RA59A
Education: St Lawrence College, Ramsgate; RN College, Dartmouth.
1931     joined RN
03.09.1932 - (01.)1934 HMS Nelson (battleship) (2nd Battle Squadron, Home Fleet)
03.01.1935 - 02.09.1935 promotion course, RN College, Greenwich
02.09.1935 - (02.1936) promotion course, Portsmouth
1936 - 1936 HMS Godetia (patrol sloop)
1936 - 1936 HMS Lupin (fishery protection patrol sloop)
13.09.1936 - (07.)1937 pilot's course, No. 1 Flying Training School, Leuchars; qualified as Pilot [attached to RAF]
24.08.1937 - (02.)1938 Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance (TSR) Squadron 822 [HMS Furious (aircraft carrier)]  [attached to RAF]
25.05.1938 - 1940? Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance (TSR) Squadron 810 [HMS Courageous (aircraft carrier), later [1939?] HMS Ark Royal (aircraft carrier)] [attached to RAF]
04.11.1940 - (02.1941) 785 Squadron FAA [HMS Jackdaw (RN Air Station, Crail, Fife)] (and for instructional duties)
1941 - 14.11.1941 825 Squadron FAA [HMS Victorious, later HMS Ark Royal]
11.1941 - 09.1942 Commanding Officer, 815 Squadron FAA [HMS Grebe (RN Air Station, Dekheila, near Alexandria)] (Western Desert)
25.09.1942 - (02.)1943 staff, HMS Daedalus (RN Air Station, Lee-on-Solent)
08.04.1943 - (08.)1943 Airfields and Carrier Requirements Department, Admiralty [HMS President]
25.08.1943 - 10.1944 Lieutenant-Commander (Flying), HMS Vindex (escort carrier)
02.10.1944 - 05.1945? Commanding Officer, Training Squadron [HMS Daedalus (RN Air Station, Lee-on-Solent)]
05.1945 - (07.)1945 Squadron Air Co-ordinator, HMS Venerable (aircraft carrier)
30.08.1945 - (04.)1946 staff, Commander-in-Chief, Hong Kong [HMS Tamar] (landing-party and anti-piracy duties)
04.11.1946 - (10.)1947 directing staff of the RN Tactical School (Woolwich) [HMS President]
19.07.1948 - (05.)1949 on staff of Flag Officer Commanding 3rd Aircraft Carrier Squadron [HMS Theseus] [= air group commander with a carrier task force in the Far East]
08.09.1949 - (05.1950) Executive Officer on staff, Flag Officer Commanding 3rd Aircraft Carrier Squadron [HMS Vengeance]
10.1952 - 1954 Commanding Officer, HMS Daring
13.07.1954 - (01.)1956 Commanding Officer, HMS Fulmar (RN Air Station Lossiemouth)
14.01.1957 - 1958 Commanding Officer, HMS Bulwark (commando carrier)
(01.1959)     no appointment listed
30.01.1960 - (07.)1961 President, Second Admiralty Interview Board [HMS Sultan]
16.10.1961 - 1964 Flag Officer, Flying Training [HMS Heron (RN Air Station, Yeovilton, Somerset)]
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A long time ago in another galaxy far,far away,one of our 'appy frong who used to be know as "Scimitar" back then

helped a gent research KE209 with a view to modelling her.

As it happens,I chat with the gent, David Womby,over on the UAMF and mentioned to Richard that

I'd give him a shout to see if he had indeed done his KE209.

David came back with photographs and mentioned that he'd also got a drawing file of the cat noseart

which he'd pass onto to me to pass on to anyone who can print decals off.

This is what David has said:

"Feel free to share pics of mine with anyone who has an interest in this fascinating survivor of lend-lease.

I should point out my model was attempting to represent KE209 as I think she would have been shortly after her last flight - not after she had been sadly stored outside for a few years! That degree of weathering would be far beyond my skills.

If you build her, don't forget her chipped prop blade!"

David

So here we are,David Womby's take on KE209:

D-Womby-s-Hellcat-1.jpg

D-Womby-s-Hellcat-2.jpg

D-Womby-s-Hellcat-3.jpg

He's also mentioned that he can't sent the artwork yet,he's not at home in California,he spending a few weeks.............

in SCOTLAND !!!!!

 

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On 3/22/2022 at 8:26 PM, Miggers said:

A long time ago in another galaxy far,far away,one of our 'appy frong who used to be know as "Scimitar" back then

helped a gent research KE209 with a view to modelling her.

As it happens,I chat with the gent, David Womby,over on the UAMF and mentioned to Richard that

I'd give him a shout to see if he had indeed done his KE209.

David came back with photographs and mentioned that he'd also got a drawing file of the cat noseart

which he'd pass onto to me to pass on to anyone who can print decals off.

This is what David has said:

"Feel free to share pics of mine with anyone who has an interest in this fascinating survivor of lend-lease.

I should point out my model was attempting to represent KE209 as I think she would have been shortly after her last flight - not after she had been sadly stored outside for a few years! That degree of weathering would be far beyond my skills.

If you build her, don't forget her chipped prop blade!"

David

So here we are,David Womby's take on KE209:

D-Womby-s-Hellcat-1.jpg

D-Womby-s-Hellcat-2.jpg

D-Womby-s-Hellcat-3.jpg

He's also mentioned that he can't sent the artwork yet,he's not at home in California,he spending a few weeks.............

in SCOTLAND !!!!!

 

I just got time to get back to this, so sorry for the delay. If David can send the artwork, I can knock out a few copies no bovver. I'll hold off drawing the 'cat' artwork to see if the existing artwork appears.

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Found these two on the 'net.

The first one shows KE209 and VX653 on the gate and the second was taken at the 1968 air day. (look at all of those Buccaneers !)

20368746_1629872533712229_49470926018468           24083253955_dbdb6534fd_c.jpg

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2 hours ago, RWG686 said:

If I ask nicely would you add your photos please ?

Don’t have to ask nicely , if I could I’d upload them here, I’m trying to figure out how!

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1 hour ago, Rory said:

if I could I’d upload them here, I’m trying to figure out how!

To do that yourself you would need a photo host.

Upload the photos onto the host and then copy them onto this site. I may sound a bit of a faff but it's easier than it sounds and many forums have to do it due to storage space issues and security.

If these are the only photos you ever need to put on this site then another option would be to email them to me and I'll upload them for you.

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