Aviation Historian 21
-
P.Ricco - Flag of Convenience
Bearing Air France’s distinctive winged seahorse logo on the forward fuselage ahead of the company’s legend, as well as its name in French service, Nouakchott, on the nose, Ensign Mk II F-BAHD (not F-BAHO as stated in some sources) is prepared for another flight at Agadir, Morocco, in 1942, before its withdrawal to France.
A hive of activity, the Ensign is seen here at Agadir in 1942. Back in the UK, the inquiry into the Ensign’s loss concluded that, lacking any accurate measuring equipment, the crew had pumped too much oil into the engines from the auxiliary oil tanks fitted for the flight, resulting in the extensive oil leaks off the African coast.
The Ensign beside the modest terminal building at Agadir. Although the type was remarkably aerodynamically clean for its day, it was heavy on the controls, with a poor rate of climb, and pilots found it extremely tiring to fly for long periods. Indeed, wartime BOAC Ensign pilots frequently lobbied their superiors to have the type replaced in service as soon as possible.
Back on its undercarriage again, the Ensign has had its interim French civil registration applied with the simple substitution of the British "G" prefix letter with a French “F”. One of the chief problems facing the groundcrew tasked with maintaining the big British airliner was the availability of spare tyres for the mainwheels, which were an impressive 6ft 3in (1-9m) in diameter. Happily for the crews, a cache of spares was located in Paris.
Showing its shapely fuselage to good advantage, the Ensign sits on the ramp beside the hangar at Marignane, near Marseille, in 1942. That November the Ensign was moved for the final time to Montaudran, near Toulouse.
Stripped of its British camouflage down to a bare-metal finish, the Ensign is seen here having its engines run up at Ouakam in French West Africa (now Senegal) in 1942. The aircraft’s official registration, F-BAHD, has been applied and tricolour stripes added to the rudder, wings and aft fuselage, along with a large “F” on the fin.
Enterprise following its belly landing in the dunes near Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, in February 1942. The type’s high wing was certainly an advantage, the damage to the wing and Wright Cyclone engines being kept to a minimum. The crew made its way to the beach nearby and was rescued by an RAF Short Sunderland.
Recently discovered photographs taken by German soldiers in 1940 prove conclusively that neither G-ADSZ Elysian, seen here at Merville after being on the sharp end of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 strafing attack, nor G-ADSX Ettrick was repaired and returned to the air, despite at least one respected source asserting that Ettrick was fitted with Daimler-Benz engines and flown again.
Recently discovered photographs taken by German soldiers in 1940 prove conclusively that neither G-ADSZ Elysian, nor G-ADSX Ettrick, the severed tail of which is seen here at Le Bourget, was repaired and returned to the air, despite at least one respected source asserting that Ettrick was fitted with Daimler-Benz engines and flown again.
Another of the German photographs showing the mangled remains of G-ADSX at Le Bourget.