Air Enthusiast 2007-02
The Roundels File
Blenheim I K7054 'F' of 90 Squadron, Bicester, 1938. Dark Green/Dark Earth/Night with 36in (91.4cm) white under wing serials. Medium Sea Grey code letters. Roundels: 45 1/2in type A1 fuselage and 66 11/2in type Al upper wing roundel.
Blenheim I K7170 'V' of 61 Squadron, Hemswell, 1938. Dark Green/Dark Earth/Night with 36in white under-wing serials. Medium Sea Grey code letters. Roundels: 45 1/2in type A1 fuselage roundel and 66 1/2 in type A1 upper wing roundel.
Blenheim I L6653 'HV-Y' of 8 Squadron, Khormaksar, Aden, June 1940. Dark Earth/Mid Stone/Sky. Medium Sea Grey code letters. Roundels: 45 1/2in type A1 fuselage and 66 1/2in type B upper wing roundel. Fin flash 24 x 27in.
Blenheim If L1426 'RX-M' of 25 Squadron, Northolt, in August 1939. Dark Green/Dark Earth/Night, with the starboard main and tailplanes painted white. Note the elevator and ailerons left in the original night colour. Medium Sea Grey code letters. B type fuselage roundel converted from 33 1/2in A1. Likewise the upper wing roundel was converted into a 47 1/2 B type, leaving a clear image of the original roundels. The under-wing serial would have been over-painted on the port wing.
Blenheim If K7177 'VT-N' of 30 Squadron, Maleme, Crete, May 1941. Dark Earth/Mid Stone/Azure Blue. Medium Sea Grey code letters. Roundels: 45 1/2in fuselage, with 65 1.2in B type on the upper wing; 40in A type under the wings.
Blenheim If L1336 'WR-E' of 248 Squadron, Coastal Command, early 1940. Dark Green/Dark Earth/Night. Medium Sea Grey code letters. Roundels: 35in type A fuselage and 66 1/2in type B upper wing roundel. Note the port roundel moved aft to accommodate the 36in squadron code letters; the starboard roundel was unchanged with the squadron codes aft
STRAIGHT OFF THE LINE: A Bristol Blenheim medium bomber fresh in its camouflage paint. The Blenheim is the fastest machine of its type in the world.
Pre-delivery portrait of Mk.I K7037 (note the hyphenated under wing serial number). This machine was delivered to 114 Squadron - the first RAF unit to use the type operationally - at Wyton on March 4, 1937. Its engine cut out on take-off at Wyton on May 10, 1938, causing it to crash and killing the three people on board.
Mk.I K7096 was issued to 30 Squadron at Habbaniya, Iraq, in late 1938. With the Italian invasion of Greece in October 1940, 30 Squadron deployed in defence of that country and it is assumed that K7096 had been lost by April 1941.
By November 1938 110 Squadron had adopted 'AY-' codes. K7151 ‘N-nuts’ was delivered to 110 at Waddington six days after K7147. Like its sister, it also gravitated to the Isle of Man, this time on December 2, 1939.
Mk.I K7147 was delivered to 110 Squadron at Waddington on January 4, 1938. Note the under-fuselage bomb racks. When the unit took on Blenheim IVs, K7151 was delivered to 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at Jurby, Isle of Man, on November 3, 1939.
Mk.If K7159 'YX-N' of 54 Operational Training Unit at Church Fenton posed for a well-known series of images dated September 1941. It was delivered initially to 61 Squadron at Hemswell on January 19,1938 and served with 54 OTU late 1940 until September 1941.
Mk.I L1222 was fitted with outer wing tanks and first flew in this guise in September 1938, in readiness for the so-called ‘Mk.II'. Note also the bombs carried on pylons under the inner wings
In an attempt to develop a dedicated photo-reconnaissance Blenheim, L1348 was modified with clipped wing tips, faired-over nosed glazing, Rotol three-bladed constant-speed propellers, dorsal turret removed and the bomb bay and other panels taped over
Three-view, top left: Bristol Blenheim I. Partial views below Mk.I, Blenheim If. Right, top to bottom: Bristol 142; initial Blenheim I; Blenheim I(PR); Finnish Blenheim I.
A pattern camouflage, B pattern was the mirror image, showing the roundel positions: 66 1/2in type A1 to port and the B type conversion to starboard, retaining the outer yellow ring; this was subsequently over-painted
Fighter Command underside white/black finish in the 1938-1939 period. The undersurface was to be half white and half black, however, there were many variations when applied at squadron level. Some aircraft in 1939, had 32 1/2in B type roundels applied under-wing. The starboard wing shows the 36in white serial position, normally carried on both wings, it replaced the original 30in high serials from K7045. The latter were also positioned further outboard, level with the outer edge of the aileron.
Canadian-built Blenheim (Bolingbroke IVT) G-MKIV in the colours of 105 Squadron, as flown by Wg Cdr 'Hughie Edwards' on July 4, 1941, when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Three-view, top left: Bristol Blenheim I. Partial views below Mk.I, Blenheim If. Right, top to bottom: Bristol 142; initial Blenheim I; Blenheim I(PR); Finnish Blenheim I.