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Question on 14 Sqn RE8 in CCI Vol. 42/3

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ArisKosionidis View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 Mar 2012 at 14:36

Dear friends,

While looking through the article on 14 Squadron RFC in Volume 42/3, I noticed a photo of an RE8 that appears to be painted a light colour overall. It's on page 42.188, and the colour seems to match the white of the roundel exactly. The crew is given as Lt Webster and Sgt Purling (later KIA ove Wadi Farar), but not much is said of the plane's highly unusual colour. Does anyone have more information? Thank you!

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Aris Kosionidis
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WrightBrother View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WrightBrother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2012 at 15:12
Aris,  I reckon the machine is in unpainted natural linen fabric, but very strange for this no doubt.
 
Peter Wright.
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2012 at 09:16
Some of the 1AFC Bristol Fighters were partly clear doped finished, though it it unclear whether this was a 111 Squadron or 1AFC initiative (the aircraft went from 111 to 1AFC and back to 111).
 
I assume that this was either/ all :
1. Better camouflage
2. Replacement/ repairs
3. Attempt to reduce heat impact (the light colour reflecting it wheeas the dark colour absorbs it)
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ArisKosionidis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ArisKosionidis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Mar 2012 at 18:07
Nick, it was the 111 RFC/1 AFC practice that caused me to assume a white-painted machine. Well, that and the fact I've never seen an R.E.8 in anything but PC10, which points to the particular plane having been repainted "in theater". Peter Wright's suggestion of an unpainted machine is also reasonable (thank you Peter!).
There's some sort of memoir on 14 Sqn out there ("Desert Wings" or "Wings over the Desert" or similar), I'll try to get my paws on that in the hope such an unusually coloured machine will have drawn a comment- like 1 AFC's "Yellow Peril" Bristol.
best regards
Aris K.
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2012 at 17:39
Aris,
I don't think that will help you as it is a biography of a family member. Unless Mike O'Connor can shed more light on this, I would be more inclined to look at the 1AFC autobiography 'Aces & Kings' or the Mark Lax edited 'Joe Bull' (again 1AFC).
I'll have a quick hunt this weekend if time allows.
Nick 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2012 at 10:57
l wonder if they were using a replacement covering for a damaged section of PC10, and thus just leaving the fabric  in natural finish for the reasons Nick postulated?
Actually would they be importing Irish linen for this or sourcing a local fabric? The Eygptians were good at cotton but l dont know if they did a suitable linen. 
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2012 at 09:46
I haven't been able to find deatiled of any other clear doped RE8s in the Middle East.
 
Unlike the Germans, who had to transport all spares by rail and then camel on a very circuous route, British resupply by sea was quite straight forward and stocks of Irish linen and clear dope would have been readily available. Aircraft with the Training Units in Palestine were clear doped (as were the undersides of most British aircraft operated there).
 
So-called 'Egyptian cotton', which was finely spun, didn't come in to general use on aircraft until the 1930s, although various cotton cloths were available for use by the pioneers (as was silk and, for AV Roe varnished cotton-backed brown 'butter paper').
 
The report on the first Albatros DIII brought down notes how poor some of the repairs were on it as they used locally sourced materials for 'in the field' manufactured parts. I assume that this was quite common for the Germans, given their supply issues ?
 
Although it is questionable as to how effective PC10 was as camouflage paint in the Middle East, I would think that the RE8 scheme dates from the period when the RAF had air supremacy and there was no need to camouflage its aircraft on the ground (much like the USAAF Mustangs adopting bare metal finishes in WW2).
 
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