Air Enthusiast 1996-09
K.Delve - Beaufort Weather
With the airfield at Mariut waterlogged the Beauforts flew out to other LGs, except for those, as here, that were too ‘sick’ to go under their own power. Note the J 87 in the background, this aircraft was operated by the squadron.
Beaufort I DD931 ‘L’ of 39 Squadron, late 1942.
Beaufort ‘L’ shows the classic Bristol lines of the aircraft. In its two years of Beaufort operations, 39 Squadron became renowned as the leading anti-shipping unit in the Mediterranean.
‘Foxtrot’ runs up its engines creating a mini sandstorm, proof that the sand filters were an essential fitting for the aircraft even though they added to the airframe drag and so reduced performance.
It does rain in the desert. Mariut December 1941 and Charlie Farrow, the Engineering Officer, along with local workers, inspects the condition of the airfield.
Two of the Squadron’s aircraft in formation near Luqa in mid 1942.
L9875 again but this time at Wadi Natrun in September 1941. The cockpit covers were an attempt at trying to keep internal temperatures down to a reasonable level but were largely unsuccessful.
At LG86 Eric Harvey smiles for the camera whilst running up the engines of his Beaufort I prior to a test flight.
The ship’s-eye view of a Beaufort attack. Frequent practise attacks were made against Royal navy units near Alexandria; in this shot at least four Beauforts cab be seen weaving their way very low over the sea towards the ship. Note the smoke screen in the distance. Squadron aircrew usually spent time on the ships to see what it looked like from the other ‘side’ and to advise naval officers in evasive tactics. This shot is from the bridge of a ‘Dido’ cruiser.
Fine airborne study of one of 39’s aircraft over Malta in 1942. Keeping the fuselage hatches open was a way of cooling the interior.
The somewhat ungainly appearance of the Beaufort I, the type was underpowered but was of sturdy construction that proved able to take a tremendous amount of damage.
Line-up of 39 Squadron Beauforts at Gianaclis November 6, 1942. This forward landing ground (LG) was often used by the anti-shipping squadrons when attacking convoys in the Tobruk-Tripoli area.
Beaufort I L9875 at Malta in August 1941. With ‘Axis’ convoys using routes that kept them out of range of the Egypt-based strike aircraft, 39 Squadron sent detachments to operate from Malta. This particular aircraft crashed into the sea off Mariut on September 3, 1942.
Another patch of desert, March 1942, and final checks before chocks away.
The pilot 'department'.
The Beauforts operated with a crew of four - pilot, navigator, WOp/AG and Air Gunner. The aircraft was quite roomy and even had the luxury of an ‘Elsan’ toilet!
With the airfield at Mariut waterlogged the Beauforts flew out to other LGs, except for those, as here, that were too ‘sick’ to go under their own power. Note the J 87 in the background, this aircraft was operated by the squadron.
The result of an engine failure - Beaufort I N1170 comes to grief at Sidi Barrani.
Bristol Beaufort I.