Aeroplane Monthly 1977-12
D.Murray Peden - Salute to the Stirling (2)
Stirlings of No 15 Squadron, the second unit to receive the type.
Short Stirling Mk I BF382, Q-Queenie, of No 214 Squadron. The author flew this aircraft at Chedburgh.
From early 1944 the Stirling's main role was that of glider-tug and transport with RAF Transport Command. It first operated as a tug on D-Day and took part in the Arnhem airborne invasion. The Stirling Mk IV had the nose and dorsal turrets deleted, the nose was modified with a plastic fairing, and glider towing equipment was fitted to the rear fuselage. The tail turret was retained for defence purposes.
The unarmed Stirling Mk V was a special transport version. The example illustrated here is PK143 of No 242 Squadron.
The prototype Stirling V, LJ530, first flew in August 1944, and the type entered service with No 46 Squadron at Stoney Cross in January 1945.
Short Stirling LK589, a Mk IV with front turret removed, was a special aircraft fitted with H2S radar and is seen at Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1945.
There were five production batches of Stirling Vs, and PJ897 was from the first.