Monday 28 May 2018

'Duel under the Stars' - Wilhelm Johnen, Flightcraft Junkers Ju 87 Stuka - latest Luftwaffe books from Pen & Sword

By mid 1943 Germany was being bombed around the clock. While the effectiveness of this offensive is often called into question, the evidence suggests that roughly 50% of Germany's entire war effort was devoted to defending against the RAF's strategic night bombing campaign. By the time the RAF launched it's first 1,000 bomber raid in May 1942 the city of Cologne, for example, had devoted nearly one hundred million RM to civil defence including bunker building. Hitler of course had ordered the 'Sofortprogram' of huge civil defence projects from the first raids on Berlin that took place in mid-1940. But despite these huge investments Bomber Command effectively blinded and defeated German defenses over Hamburg in July 1943 - including the German night fighter arm, the Nachtjagd. One German night fighter ace airborne in defence of Hamburg on 27 July 1943 was 23-year old Bf 110 night fighter pilot Wilhelm Johnen. Thanks to the deployment of ‘Window’ Johnen had - in his rage and frustration -found himself heading towards Amsterdam;  " was obvious no-one knew exactly where the enemy was or what his objective would be, (yet) an early indication of the direction was essential so that the night fighters could be introduced into the stream as early as possible.. " Johnen’s long out-of-print memoir « Duel under the stars - a factual report from a German night fighter pilot » is recently republished by Pen and Sword imprint Greenhill. In simple, uncomplicated language which does much to preserve the ‘immediacy’ of an account first published in English in 1957 - Johnen describes his initial training, the creation of the German fighter force established to counter Bomber Command’s night offensive, his posting to NJG 1 and the first victories as the lumbering four-engine bombers are stalked through the night skies by growing numbers of ‘panther-like’ fighters bristling with cannon and stag-antler radar antennae guided by an all-embracing system of radar defence. Johnen was one of those night-time ‘stalkers’ and his book features some remarkable descriptions of night-fighting and of life on an operational air-base in war-time Germany. The author has much in common with the young crews of Bomber Command. He also describes in detail the backdrop of tactical innovations by the ‘boffins’. And while the RAF had the strategic edge at all times, German nightfighters were able to score some heavy tactical victories, the Lancaster being especially vulnerable to the upward firing armament of the Bf 110. But the reality for the Luftwaffe was one of decline and defeat. Johnen himself was briefly interned in Switzerland after being forced to land there but in October 1944 was awarded the Knight’s Cross for 33 bomber victories. In early 1945 he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./NJG 6 but by this stage of the war with the Allies pressing deep into Germany itself downing bombers was no longer a priority and night-time sorties involved ground strafing armour and troop concentrations. Your reviewer was fortunate enough to know Johnen’s comrade Peter Spoden -who also features here heavily- as a friend and assisted in the preparation for publication of his memoir ‘Enemy in the Dark’. This new edition of Johnen’s ‘Duel under the stars ‘ complements that title admirably, is introduced with a new 10-page Foreword from historian James Holland, features a selection of over 100 photos and can be recommended to a new generation of readers without reservation.

The latest title in Pen and Sword’s ‘Flightcraft’ series of monographs is devoted to arguably one of the most iconic individual Luftwaffe aircraft types of WWII - the Ju 87 Stuka. Designed primarily as a ‘one-stop’ visual reference for modellers, this 96-page large-format card-covered soft back comprises three main sections; the book opens with a concise history of the type from the combat debut in 1937 of the Anton variant in the Spanish Civil War to spearhead of Blitzkrieg in Poland and the West through to Barbarossa and the later Dora and Gustav variants deployed as tank-killers at Kursk and during the years of defeat and retreat. Subsequent chapters cover foreign operators and camouflage and markings which serve as an introduction to sixteen pages of very competent profile and plan-view artwork by Mark Rolfe illustrating the huge range of colour schemes worn by the Stuka. The third and final section of this well-done monograph provides an overview of the Stuka in plastic from ancient (Frog) to modern (Hasegawa, Trumpeter and the brand-new CAD-designed Airfix kits) -just about every kit of the type ever released is reviewed in depth including the short-lived 21st Century Toys model. The final 10 pages feature a selection of large colour photos of various model builds, which unfortunately adds little since all this and much more is available via a simple Google image search - this space in a book of this type could have been used to detail a specific kit build or builds in one or two of the major scales. Nonetheless a nice addition to a very ‘collectable’ series likely to be of interest to all Luftwaffe enthusiasts and modellers.

Monday 14 May 2018

The story behind the Luftwaffe book. Interview with Classic Chevron co-founder and author of " JV 44 - The Galland Circus " Robert Forsyth

Robert Forsyth has studied the history and operations of the Luftwaffe for many years and as co-founder of specialist publisher Classic/Chevron, he has worked full time in publishing since self-publishing his ground-breaking  "JV 44 - The Galland Circus" (1996). He subsequently researched, wrote and published "Battle over Bavaria: The B-26 versus the German Jets" (1998), "Mistel: German Composite Aircraft and Operations 1942-1945" (2001), and "Messerschmitt Me 264 Amerikabomber" (2006 - with Eddie J Creek)

"..with Gerhard Kroll (centre), former Fw 190 D-9 pilot of III./JG 26, and my old friend, Dave Wadman (right), at the Champlin Fighter Museum in Mesa, Arizona, October 1990. Behind us is the museum’s Fw 190 D-13...."

Hello Robert! It's great to welcome you to the 'Luftwaffe blog' as part of our author interview series. Thank you so much for talking to us. Thanks too for raiding that old shoe box of photos and coming up with the captions!  Right, firstly, how did your interest in JV 44 develop?

How far do you want to go back?

I had a typical 1960s boyhood diet of Biggles, war comics and war films which sparked my interest in the machinery and drama of the Second World War. When I was nine, my mother took me to see the film Battle of Britain. I suppose that really ‘did it’. I thought the yellow-nosed Bf 109s looked sleek and business-like, and I think I was perhaps sub-consciously intrigued by how the Luftwaffe, led by a buffoon-like Göring in the film, could have successfully invaded most of Europe and be threatening Britain.

I then bought endless Airfix kits and my bedroom ceiling was hung with badly made and painted Bf 109s and He 111s. I think there was a lone 1/32nd P-47 which I bought because it was so immense.

One day in 1970, I was walking past a local bookshop and in the window I spotted a big book, with a red cover, called Warplanes of the Third Reich. By now I was ten. I walked into the shop, found a copy on the shelf and flicked through it. It was by a man called William Green and it was amazing. I hefted it over to the counter and asked the lady how much it cost. It was very heavy and very expensive. I put it back on the shelf. I went home and asked my mother if I could empty my building society savings account (funded over the years by birthday and Christmas presents) to buy ‘a book’. She seemed to be quietly impressed at her little boy’s literary enthusiasm and agreed. I toddled off, got my money out, but when I told her what the book was, she was perplexed, not a little angry and probably somewhat concerned at her son’s deepening interests in the ‘enemy’.

Roll forward to the mid-1980s (in the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s my interests were given over to rock n’ roll, beer, girls and work in that order), I had what was almost an epiphany when I read Johannes Steinhoff’s The Last Chance. I thought it was – and still is – a fascinating and wonderful insight into life on the ‘other side’, when Germany was losing the war, yet had such an amazing example of technology in the Me 262. I then quickly devoured his first book, The Straits of Messina. My first idea was to write a biography of Steinhoff. In around 1986/87 I wrote to the General, but received no reply. I was particularly interested in the story of JV 44 and what ‘actually happened’ and decided, notwithstanding a lack of response from Steinhoff, to start researching the unit with the goal of writing a book.

There was no internet or email in those days, so I joined the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger as an associate member and went to Germany to the meet the association’s secretary, Horst Amberg, who was very helpful. Through him I was able to contact several former pilots who had been associated with JV 44. I went on to meet and interview Adolf Galland, Walter Krupinski, Hans-Ekkehard Bob, Franz Stigler, Klaus Neumann, Erich Hohagen, Herbert Kaiser and others. I also spoke at length with Eduard Schallmoser who lived in South America at the time.

Additionally, I wrote to several German Luftwaffe historians such as Gebhard Aders, Werner Held, Hanfried Schliephake and Heinz Nowarra, not really having any idea what to expect, but it was Manfred Griehl who was most helpful with advice on how to locate documents etc., and I visited him and Hanfried Schliephake.

You presumably ran into Eddie during the research for this book?

I remember buying the last copy of Monogram Publications’ Jet Planes of the Third Reich by Smith and Creek that Motorbooks in London had in their shop. That would have been around 1986. At that time, it was awesome. Fortunately, it mentions Eddie’s home town at the time in the introduction of the book. I called directory enquiries, they gave me the number and I just gave him a call. He was very gracious and friendly, and it was the beginning of a thirty-year-plus friendship. Eddie invited me down to his home along with a bunch of other UK-based enthusiasts and hosted a barbecue.

From that, he and Richard Smith set up ‘Staffel 90’ during 1990 as a way of re-establishing ‘Gruppe 66’ the original, but defunct, Luftwaffe research group. It was all a bit loose, but we had all corresponded regularly (by post – no email!) and held a few gatherings. I recall the core group being Eddie, Richard, Martin Pegg, Steve Coates, Nick Beale, Mike Norton, Tom Willis and myself, but we also welcomed Phil Butler, Jerry Scutts, Steve Ransom and Chris Thomas at different times. We used to get together at Eddie’s house in Sussex and would also make mass trips to research at the IWM in London where we were given pretty free reign, thanks to Phil Reed, as well as to what was then the Public Record Office at Kew where if you wanted photocopies you got them on yellow A3 paper and paid 10 pence a sheet. No cameras.

Why decide to self-publish and so lavishly, back then it was not exactly the done thing?

To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it. I was still researching the book, and working in London in the shipping industry, doing a lot of travelling. Eddie had just retired. On one occasion, I took a few days off and went with Eddie on our first trip to the IWM document repository at Duxford. It would have been about 1993.

In one of those life-changing moments, after a day looking at dusty files, Eddie and I went for a beer in a local hostelry and he asked me what I was going to do about publishing my book. I said I hadn’t the faintest idea. He said, ‘Well, why don’t we do it?’ At first I thought that was barmy, but after a good night’s sleep, the next morning over breakfast, I asked Eddie if he was serious. He was. I wasn’t particularly happy at that point in my day job, and I was very fortunately in the position of being able to afford to take six months off work. I meekly asked my wife if she would allow me to take six months off to write the book on the basis that we would publish it ourselves and I would then return to work. She was wonderful and agreed.

We really had no idea what we were doing, but we had the Monogram books as a model, for whom Eddie had written, and a very good friend of mine was an excellent graphic designer. I also had contacts with a small printer in Norfolk. So off we went.

I quit work, finished the book and "JV 44 – The Galland Circus" was published by our fledgling imprint, Classic Publications, in May 1996. I was fortunate enough to get an introduction from Adolf Galland shortly before he died, but he never saw the book.

I think, in total, in those days it cost a terrifying £30,000 to put together and print a first run of 3,500 copies. Funnily enough, in the end, exactly 4,400 copies of 'JV 44' were produced. I own the rights to the book and I’m thinking perhaps of doing a revised, smaller format, signed limited edition or POD volume one day. I also wrote about the unit for Osprey Publishing, in which I was able to include the memoirs and photos of Josef Dobnig, which I did not have for The Galland Circus.

Above  ;   "...with Eddie Creek at the Duxford Air Show in September 1996. Classic Publications had just launched and this was our second major outing after the Tangmere Aeromart. The Aviation Bookshop kindly allowed us some table space to sell ‘JV 44’...."

Below;  "...the original Classic Publications team: from left, Eddie Creek, Arthur Bentley and myself, at the IPMS UK National Exhibition at Telford in November 1996. Eddie built the stand and we covered it with a red tablecloth that belonged to my mother. Behind us is some of Eddie’s original airbrush artwork for the book...."

Below;   "...with French researcher, the late Eric Larger, who was staying with me at the time and who was a great help in setting up the stand. I remember Eric would give a wonderful, Gallic shrug as he walked past many of the Luftwaffe models, declaring in his heavily accented favourite expression, that their camouflage was ‘completely maaaaad!’...."

Had you already had the idea for the ‘Luftwaffe Colours’ series at that stage?

After JV 44 Eddie and I got together with Martin Pegg and published his Hs 129 book and then Eddie’s and Richard Smith’s Me 262 series. I never actually went back to work! The idea for 'Luftwafe Colours ' came a little later. Back in the early 1990s, Jim Kitchens had put me in touch with Eric Mombeek, who I knew from his excellent JG 1 history as published by John Vasco. I got to know Eric quite well and when we set up Classic, he suggested Eddie and I go over to Belgium to meet him to discuss potential projects.

It was on the way back home on the cross-Channel ferry from our first visit to see Eric in 1997, that – again over a drink! – Eddie and I came up with the concept of Classic Colours using Eddie’s and Eric’s substantial photographic collections as a basis. At that time, we were also just in touch with Tom Tullis in the States, who was one of the first illustrators to use computer software to ‘paint’ aircraft profiles. So the whole thing was born. It ended up running to 40 titles.

Below;    "..At the IPMS National Exhibition at Columbus, Ohio in 1997 to where we had shipped a few copies of our second book, Hs 129 Panzerjäger! by Martin Pegg. They sold out within an hour. From left to right: model shop owner/wholesaler, Mike Bobe; our good friend and modeller, Bob Hanes, Eddie Creek, Dennis Davison, who is a superb aircraft illustrator, and myself...."

Above;   " Columbus with my good friend, Dr. James Kitchens. Behind Jim is one of Dennis Davison’s prints..."

Above;  " ..with the late Jerry Scutts (right) at a book launch at the RAF Museum at Hendon ca. 1999. We had just collaborated on ‘Battle over Bavaria: The B-26 Marauder versus the German Jets – April 1945’, a kind of sequel to ‘JV 44’ which came about as a result of a stream of correspondence from former B-26 crews in response to the first book.."

Below ;   "..With former Mistel pilot Rudi Riedel of 6./KG 200 during the preparation for my Mistel book, in Bremen, 2000..."

left;   "...By the mid-2000s we had taken an office and small warehousing area in a building on my cousin’s farm in East Sussex. Standing outside the entrance to the office is the ‘Classic team’. 
Seen here with Eddie and myself are my good pals, (far left) Tim Brown, profile and graphic artist, and designer whose illustrations and design is seen in many titles published by Classic and Hikoki, whom we also used to work for; and (second from left) Mark Nelson, a talented designer who has worked on some 100 titles for our various imprints..."

Why has Classic not yet done a multi-part series on the Bf 109? A book per sub-type could be interesting, Emil, Friedrich, Gustav x2 for example?

Find me the author willing and ready to do it!

Or an airfield series (for example)?

We did look at this a few years back, after Classic Publications was bought by Ian Allan Publishing, but we could never get the idea off the ground (I don’t think there’s a pun in there anywhere).

Why the (superb and sumptuous) V2 book, since that was not a Luftwaffe weapons system?

That was something that Crecy Publishing, who bought Classic from Ian Allan in 2014, approached us about doing. Fortunately, I’d worked with Murray Barber, the author, before on an associated title for my own Tattered Flag Press imprint. He really knows the V2 and is a wonderful guy to work with. Crecy were committed to the book and we had quite a bit of ‘elbow room’ on photo content, which is really stunning. We were also fortunate to be able to work with Mark Alloway, who did the superb colour graphics. I explained to Crecy that the V2 was a German army project, but they felt it was OK to ‘fit’ the book into the Luftwaffe Classics series.

What is the book you’ve had to work ‘hardest’ on to get it to publication and why?

If you mean to get commissioned, possibly two Luftwaffe titles: the excellent Ju 287: Germany’s Forward Swept Wing Bomber by Stephen Ransom and Peter Korrell with Peter Evans or Nest of Eagles: Messerschmitt Production and Flight-testing at Regensburg 1936-1945 by Peter Schmoll which we bought in from the original German publisher. This is no reflection whatsoever on the authors’ work whatsoever – far from it. They are superb studies, which is why I felt they should be published if at all possible. But it’s hard to get a publisher to invest significantly in books about really specialist types that did not get beyond prototype stage or books about production. Happily however, they did get published. The Ju 287 seems to be quite sought after now on the second-hand market.

If you mean in terms of production, then perhaps Camouflage & Markings of the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana 1943-45: A Photographic Analysis through Speculation and Research by Ferdinando D’Amico and Gabriele Valentini. A superb book, but it was very complex and challenging in terms of content and presentation.

And the most ‘straightforward’?

Happily, most of our projects have been very enjoyable and straightforward to work on.

I believe there were discussions with Jochen Prien about publishing his Jagdfliegerverband series in English? Would this not sell well? And some of his other books - the unit history devoted to IV./JG 3 immediately comes to mind for example - should be in English shouldn't they ?

They are superb books. When Dr. Prien started work on his Jagdfliegerverband series, we were still working on Classic Colours, so there was a bit of a question as to how they could be presented as Classic books. It was also difficult to get a commercial publisher to commit to a series that was open-ended. There was also the issue of the cost of translation. It certainly needs to be done.

How do you feel about your books now selling for hundreds of $$$ in the second-hand market? Other publishers, for example Lela Presse, are just about to start doing limited edition reprints of their OOP titles. Is this something you would suggest that Crecy do?

I guess that’s the market. Look at second-hand vinyl records. The same thing. They’re like the new ‘antiques’. Many of our early titles were produced on film which has deteriorated over the years, or they have fallen victim to changes in computer software, so they cannot simply be reprinted. You have to start again. That means those copies of such titles out there tend to fetch premiums. Also some of the early titles did not get to the States in significant numbers which fuels demand now. Crecy have indeed reprinted some Classic titles, such as the Ho 229 and Do 335 (which I believe is about to get a second reprint).

What is the future of book publishing in general and Luftwaffe research in particular? Has the internet caused a decline in the amount of magazines and books sold as some suggest?

Well, yes..but as far as publishing is concerned though, more and more people will just do it themselves, which is great from one perspective: there are no barriers. The tools are there. When Eddie and I started Classic Publications, there was no email, no internet, no Amazon, no PayPal, no social media, no blogs. We just depended on snail mail and the fax machine. Magazine advertising was prohibitive, but people like Barry Rosch were brilliant: Barry set up the wonderful ‘Luftwaffe Verband’ magazine – which kind of followed on from Gruppe 66’s ‘Archiv’ which was printed on a photocopier! There was – and still is, actually – something of a mystique about the process of publishing, which I have never really understood. Now the tools are there and anyone can publish, as it becomes increasingly affordable, which also includes the development in digital print technology allowing lower runs. There are more private courier mail services and so on. This is fantastic. BUT – I urge a degree of caution. I once attended a seminar at the London Book Fair at which an experienced and respected industry ‘talking head’ pontificated over the question ‘What is the Point of a Publisher?’ In answer, he responded, quite bluntly, ‘Over hundreds of years, publishers have saved the world from millions of crap books!’ There is, I believe, some truth in this. What concerns me, not as a publisher or editor, but as a reader and enthusiast, is that I increasingly read books, both commercially and self-published that contain errors in content – either editorially or in terms of production. Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect book, but editors, designers, proof-readers, copy-editors and publishers are there to iron these things out and to also take a risk. Are standards in decline? Yes, possibly. As to the future of Luftwaffe research, I have no idea. It would make an interesting discussion. What I am becoming aware of is an increasing and worrying dependency of ‘quick research/quick answers’ on the internet. Having said that, the ability to order digitized documents on line from archives such as the UK National Archives is fantastic. On a slightly different issue, I do think certain official repositories need to get real about the charges they apply to individuals for photographs.

But do you find the process rewarding still?

To bring an author’s book from concept to publication has always been rewarding for me personally. As a business, we’ve either published or produced some 300 books now – aviation, military, history, biography, motor sport, wildlife and author-funded projects, and I have worked with more than 100 authors around the world, many of whom have English as a second language, but aviation remains my core passion and I just hope we continue to see fresh blood and impetus in our little niche. I am very honoured to be on the Editorial Board of The Aviation Historian which is run by my good friends, Mick Oakey and Nick Stroud. Those guys do a fantastic job and it’s really heartening to see them going from strength to strength as an independent.

You’re now doing quite a bit of work for Osprey: can you tell me something about that please?

Yes – with three exceptions, I don’t really have any ‘big’ projects in me anymore, so the smaller-scale projects for Osprey suit me perfectly. Nowadays, I spend my time working from home, from where I work on production work for publishing clients (aviation through to self-publishing – we just worked on a wonderful children’s’ book about hedgehogs!), as well as getting involved as a consultant in a start-up venture which is very exciting and also writing, of course, which I enjoy greatly. The Osprey books give me a chance to visit (or re-visit) subjects which I would never have done, and I know the guys at Osprey feel strongly that their titles are aimed to a great extent at bringing in new readers by perhaps awakening interest – so I believe they serve a purpose. I remember, myself, the wonderfully innovative Osprey/Aircam series from the 1970s/80s which I still have. And aside from the various ‘Aces’, ‘Combat Aircraft’, ‘Duel’ and ‘X-Planes’ titles, I was delighted that Osprey gave me a chance to publish ‘Shadow over the Atlantic’ last year which is an account of the operations of FAGr.5.

Robert, one final question. Can you tell us what you are currently working on?

Well... on a very different tack, I’m working on the history of my favourite band, the Climax Blues Band. I first heard their music played on the British ‘pirate’ station Radio Caroline in 1976 and have loved it ever since. Next year sees the 50th anniversary of the band’s first album, so a couple of years ago I decided that was good enough reason to write a book. It’s been a wonderful thing to do, and I have been fortunate enough that all the surviving members of the band, as well as families, management, roadcrew, sleeve designers and many others have come on board to support the project – and I’ll be self-publishing it! Limited edition, collectors’ item probably. Then I’m also working with Eddie Creek on a detailed history of KG 76’s Ar 234 jet-bombers on the Western Front, based on unit documents, which are amazing. That’ll hopefully be ready in a year or two. Other than that, in a couple of years, I hope to re-start work on the two projects that are very close to my heart: Shadow over England will be an account of the Luftwaffe’s air-launched V-1 offensive against the British Isles and I also want to get back to my biography of Generalfeldmarschall Dr.-Ing. Wolfram Frhr. von Richthofen which I have neglected for too long. When – and if – that gets done, I’ll hang up my boots.

Below;  "  taken on one of my visits to Götz Freiherr von Richthofen in Hamburg, with a portrait of his father behind..."

Robert, thanks again for your time, for answering my questions and good luck with those projects!

" ...Shadow over the Atlantic – fresh out of the box, 2017..."

Between 1943-45 Fernaufklärungsgruppe 5 “Atlantik” acted as the eyes for the U-Boats, flying missions of up to 18 hours at a time over the Atlantic. Equipped with big, four-engined Junkers Ju 290s fitted out with advanced search radar and other maritime ‘ELINT’ (electronic intelligence) devices, Fernaufklärungsgruppe (FAGr) 5 ‘Atlantik’ undertook a distant, isolated campaign far out into the Atlantic and thousands of miles away from its home base in western France. Listen to Robert discussing his latest book 'Shadow over the Atlantic: The Luftwaffe and the U-boats: 1943–45'  at

Also on this blog; more stories behind the Luftwaffe books!

author interviews with  Eddie Creek
                                      Jean-Yves Lorant
                                      John Vasco
                                      Jan Forsgren
                                      Alexander Steenbeck

Friday 11 May 2018

JG 11 Bf 109 - ebay photo find # 251

Exceptional close-up of a 'late' or AS variant Bf 109 - note stream-lined 'bulge', Erla hood and the Geschwader emblem of JG 11 under the cockpit - the so-called Der Wächter from sculptor - and regime favourite - Arno Breker.

More on JG 11 AS variants on this blog - Günther Specht's Bf 109 G-5/AS

 Via Marco at koelsch ebay sales

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Building the Italeri Ju 52 as the 450 RAAF transport hack 'Libyan Clipper' using the Ju 52 Xtradecal set

Building the Italeri Ju 52 as the 'Libyan Clipper' operated as a squadron hack by 450 Sq RAAF

Via Tony O'Toole; " I`ve wanted to make a model of this one for years, with its odd titles on either side of the fuselage and now that it has appeared on a recent Xtradecal sheet,....I finally can! .."

According to the ADF Serials website; " This Luftwaffe transport Junkers Ju 52/3m was captured intact by the Australian forces at Ain-El Gazala, Libya, repainted with Royal Australian Air Force roundels and nicknamed "Libyan Clipper". The aircraft was used by 450 Squadron RAAF to transport mail, food supplies and small items from Cairo and back to the front line, doing two or three trips each week. Lord Casey, Governor General of Australia, came in this aircraft to see the men of the squadron. 1943. "

see Tony's comments on the accuracy of the Xtradecal decals 

"personally I wouldn`t bother with the Xtradecals sheet. The only part of it that I used was the Libyan Clipper titles and only the one above the windows went on unmodified,....... the one on the left side was too big, the wrong style and doesn`t fit the area that it should and the letters needed to be cut in half to narrow them down as best I could! Probably better to hand paint the titles or get them custom made from the available photos. Remember that there were other captured Ju 52`s too and the SAAF had a squadron of them plying between the Union and N.Africa.."

. posted by Doug Norrie on TOCH in 2015

"...below are dates for the 'Clipper' as recorded by 450 Sqn RAAF from diaries, logbooks and the ORB, arriving and leaving Gambut, Libya. I have no knowledge that it was 450's aircraft but it was used for ferrying the pilots to Cairo on leave and bringing back beer, developed photographs etc for the sqn in 1942. It was not piloted by the sqn. It mainly flew from Gambut Main to Cairo and back when 239 Wing was there from Feb. to June 1942. After that it is not recorded.

17 Feb. 1942: Arrived at Gambut Main with German prisoners aboard and refuelled by the sqn's ground staff.
23 March 1942: To Gambut Main from Cairo with items for sqn.
6 April 1942: Arrived at Gambut Main.
12 April 1942: Sgt. T.E.N. Crouch (450 Sqn) flew as second pilot to P/O Pearson in the JU 52 ‘Libyan Clipper’ on a flight from Gambut to Cairo on leave. (Courtesy Crouch logbook) (P/O, or Sgt Pearson was being rested from operations from 238 Sqn RAF and became the regular pilot for the 'Libyan Clipper' taking persons on leave)
27 April 1942: Duke of Gloucester and AVM Coningham arrived to visit 239 Wing's sqns at Gambut No.1 Sat.
18 May 1942: Mr R.G. Casey, the newly appointed British Minister of State in the Middle East arrived at Gambut No.1 Sat. to visit 239 Wing.

No other dates after that.

12 April 1942 gives the pilot's name as Pearson.
Could be Sgt P. Pearson RAFVR from 238 Sqn RAF in 1941 and/or P/O P. Pearson RAFVR from 80 Sqn RAF, KIA 29/5/1942. Both sqns with Hurricanes as per Shores et al in 'Mediterranean Air War' Vols 1 and 2.

Butler/'War Prizes' has serial No. as possibly HK919...."

Model by Tony O'Toole