Air Enthusiast 2006-03
The Roundels File
Fairey IIID S1103 (c/n F841) of the Cape Flight, led by Wg Cdr H W Pulford obe dfc. Cape Flight aircraft (S1102 to S1108) assembled at Northolt, London, November 1925 for a long-distance formation 'flag-waving' flight, March to June 1926. It flew in a landplane configuration Cairo-Cape-Cairo then converted to floatplane at Aboukir, Egypt, for return flight to Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire. Having completed the 13,900 mile (22,370km) flight, it then donned undercarriage again to appear at the RAF Pageant, Hendon, London, early July 1936. S1103 ended its days with the School of Naval Co-operation at Lee-on-Solent in 1929.
Fairey IIID Mk.I N9451 was issued to the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at the Isle of Grain, Kent, in January 1921 for performance trials on its Eagle VIII and, later, Lion II engines. It moved to Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire, in late 1921 and carried out deck-landing trials on HMS 'Argus'. In July 1922 it was transferred to the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, and then to the Development Flight at Gosport, Hampshire. It was back with MAEE, but by then at Felixstowe, Suffolk, by October 1924. Despatched to Malta, it joined 481 Flight at Kalafrana, serving mid-1925 until mid-1926.
Wearing the race number '3' Fairey IIID Mk.II N9777 was entered into the 1924 King's Cup air race and, flown by Capt Norman Macmillan, came second in the seaplane section. Delivered to the MAEE at Felixstowe in August 1924, it was 'prepped' for the race, which was staged at the seaplane base from the 12th of that month. After that it was refurbished by Fairey, ready for despatch to Malta.
Former King's Cup air racer IIID Mk.II N9777 had arrived at Kalafrana, Malta, by January 1929 and joined 202 Squadron. It is illustrated on the slipway with stablemates N9630, N9636 and N9773. N9777 was involved in a landing accident in the bay on February 5, 1930, and was written off.
Fairey III Mk.IVC (GP) J9066 (c/n F986) of 8 Squadron, Khormaksar, Aden, 1929. It was issued to 8 Squadron, in landplane form, in late 1928. Converted to seaplane in January 1929. No.8 Squadron used IIIFs up to 1935.
Fairey IIIF Mk.I S1141 (c/n F682) '4' of Cape Flight, Aboukir, Egypt, circa 1927. Built for the Fleet Air Arm but issued to the Cape Flight prior to service, it was used for flights to and from Cape Town January to May 1927. Note RAF Ensign and Squadron Leader's rank pennant on mast aft of rear cockpit. After the flight, it was rebuilt at Aboukir becoming SR1141. Went on to serve with 47 Squadron at Khartoum, Sudan, and finally (last recorded in late 1928) was with 45 Squadron at Helwati, Egypt.
Fairey IIIF Mk.IV J9647 (c/n F1149) 'A3' of 207 Squadron, Bircham Newton, Norfolk, circa 1931. Later coded 'A1', in 1933 it was converted to Gordon status and stayed with the unit - this time as 'C3' - to circa 1935.
Fairey IIIF (Intermediate) S1386 (c/n F1248) 'S' of 202 Squadron, Kalafrana, Malta, 1935. Taken on charge by 202 Squadron on October 1, 1930. Hit by Fairey Swordfish floatplane K5943 of 824 Squadron while water-taxying, October 10, 1936, and struck off charge.
Fairey IIIF Mk.IV (GP) K1115 (c/n F1295) of 24 (Communications) Squadron, Northolt, London, July 1931. Issued to 24 Squadron July 9, 1930, the unit moved to Hendon, London, July 1933. Retired, becoming ground instructional airframe 689M in July 1935.
Delivered in 1926, S1147 was converted to a two-seat general purpose (GP) machine. It was serving with A&AEE by April 1927 and then moved to Andover, Hampshire, for trials with 12 Squadron in mid-1927. In 1928 it carried out deck-landing tests on HMS 'Furious' and moved to the RAE in May that year. It was back at A&AEE by March 1932.
Fairey IIIF Mk.IVC(GP) J9061 was modified for VIP use and joined 24 Squadron at Northolt, London, in May 1928. It force-landed in Yorkshire in May 1931 and was struck off charge.
Fairey IIIF Mk.IVC/M J9164 joined A&AEE in November 1928 for performance assessment of wing slots (illustrated). From February 1929 it undertook more trials with 22 Squadron, which shared Martlesham Heath with A&AEE.
Fairey IIIF Mk.I S1182 was fitted initially with a more angular fin. It joined 443 Flight on HMS 'Furious' in late 1927, transferring to 207 Squadron at Eastchurch, in January 1928. It changed unit, but not base in April 1929 when it transferred to the Coast Defence Co-operation Flight. It moved to Hamble, Hampshire, in November 1929 for conversion by Fairey to Mk.III status. By September 1920 it was with 446 Flight on HMS 'Courageous'; by February 1934 with 820 Squadron at Gosport, Hampshire, and finally with 822 Squadron on HMS 'Furious' by November 1934. It crashed on 'Furious'; on March 3, 1936 when its arrester hook failed and was written off.
Fitted with metal wings in September 1929, J9164 rejoined A&AEE that October and was given long-range tanks (illustrated) for endurance trials. It was despatched to Sealand, Wales, for packing and shipping to Aboukir, Egypt. It went on to serve with 45 Squadron at Helwan, Egypt, from December 1931 and 47 Squadron at Khartoum, Sudan, front May 1933 to April 1934. It was struck off charge in 1936.
S1189 was built as a IIIF Mk.I but was rebuilt to feature the rounded fin. It was with 446 Flight at Leuchars, Scotland, by November 1927 and despatched to HMS 'Courageous'; transferring to 443 Flight on HMS 'Furious' by March 1929, wearing the code '36'. Conversion to Mk.III followed and S1189 was back on 'Furious' still as '36', but this time with 445 Flight, then 821 Squadron. Final service use came with the School of Naval Co-operation at Lee-on-Solent before it was presented to the Royal Hellenic Navy in mid-1936.
Carrying just its constructor's number, F890, on the rear fuselage, the second prototype all-metal Fairey IIIF N225 first flew on March 2, 1927 with an experimental fin and rudder.
A catapult-capable Mk.IIIB(DC) dual-control trainer, S1847 was first issued to 'C' Flight at the RAF Training Base, Leuchars. The unit was later renamed 1 Flying Training School. By April 1, 1935 it was in use on the catapult installed at Leuchars. On August 6, 1937, S1847 was hit by 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron Hawker Hart K3017 during a landing accident at Leuchars on August 6, 1937. Deemed beyond economical repair, S1847 was scrapped while K3017 survived to serve another day.
Built as a Mk.IVC/M, J9150 was re-engined with a Jupiter VIII and first flew in this guise on July 2,1928, as a landplane. It was issued to the A&AEE and fitted with floats in December 1928. At different periods it flew with a two-bladed and four-bladed (illustrated) propeller with the MAEE from October 1929 to April 1931.
Second prototype all-metal IIIF Mk.III N225 was fitted with floats and first flew in this guise (with conventional fin and rudder) on March 5, 1928. It was issued to the MAEE and was still at Felixstowe in June 1930.
Built as a Mk.IVM J9174 was fitted with a Rolls-Royce F.XIIA (Kestrel to be) and first flew on December 5, 1928, becoming a IIIF (Special). It was issued to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, Hampshire, on January 4, 1929. Later it was re-engined with a F.XIIS and it appeared at the RAF Pageant at Hendon, London, in June 1933. It was retired in early 1936, becoming a catapult loading instructional airframe at RAE.