Air Enthusiast 2006-03
L.Hellstrom - Imperial Fireflies /Air forces and air arms/
Firefly 609 was one of the second batch, delivered in January 1952. Judging from photos, is possible that these aircraft had a slightly more bluish tinge to their underside than the first batch.
One of the IEAF Firefly FR.Is wanning up for a mission, in the hands of an Ethiopian pilot.
A line-up with a mix of British- and Canadian-supplied Fireflies at Bishoftu during a parade in the mid-1950s. Note that the spinners have been painted red by this time and that 602 has had its serial repainted using Swedish Air Force style numerals.
A group of Ethiopian pilots in front of a Firefly of the second delivery batch. The construction number, which seems to read F.5645, can just be made out on the fuselage under the tailplane, probably making this 607, ex Z2100.
Emperor Haile Selassie with entourage passes ex-RCN Firefly 610 in one of the hangars at Asmara, during an inspection tour in the mid-1950s.
IEAF Colonel Assefa Ayene signs the loghooks of the first batch to accept them from Fairey, watched by Swedish Major Frank Lonnberg and three Ethiopian ferry pilots.
Swedish mechanic Lennart Jerlstrom on the wing of trainer 619, believed to have been the last operational IEAF Firefly, around 1962. Note the serial repeated on the nose, which was added quite late in the Fireflies' service life.
The first batch of Fireflies purchased from Fairey included a single T.2 trainer, which proved very useful in Ethiopian service until going unserviceable for a lengthy period.
A Firefly in the air over the IEAF main base at Bishoftu, built front scratch in the late 1940s to Swedish specifications.
The 14 Fireflies sold to Ethiopia by the Royal Canadian Navy on their way to Europe aboard HMCS 'Magnificent' in early 1954. The aircraft still carry their RCN codes.
The first five IEAF Fireflies lined up at the Fairey facility at Ringway, Manchester, in September 1951. 605 at the far end of the line has yet to have its serial applied. In the background are two later variant Fireflies of the Fleet Air Arm.
IEAF Commander in-Chief, Swedish Count Carl-Gustaf von Rosen, visiting Ringway in company with Swedish officers serving with the IEAF. At the rear is Bo Ekberger, who was in charge of IEAF Firefly maintenance.
This more or less intact Firefly FR.l, 616, left behind by the Canadians in 1993, may still be at Asmara.
Second Firefly casualty in actual IEAF service (not counting the ill-fated second delivery flight) was trainer 615, which overran the runway at Bishoftu, probably in 1957.
IEAF personnel salvage what useable parts remain on the burnt-out airframe of 615.
Also at Asmara in 1993 were the fuselages and centre sections of one of the Firefly bought from Fairey in 1951-1952 and one of the ex-Canadian trainers.
The sight that met the Canadian recovery team in Asmara, Eritrea in 1993, where two Fireflies were standing in revetments at the air base. This is ex-DK545, currently with the Canadian National Aviation Museum.