View Full Version : Aircraft on an RN carrier deck

kiwi grey
25th Mar 2022, 08:15
https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1658x1269/aircraft_on_carrier_flight_deck_36ff1a17f32ac9f4649e77858c5e 86a0c1b6e8ac.jpg
This photo was taken on board a Royal Navy carrier, I think in the early 1950s.
My father has said that he is one of the figures in the foreground. Unfortunately he is not able to tell me when and on which ship it was taken, or what the aircraft are.
Judging from his log books, I think these are Firebrand 5s of 827 Squadron FAA, possibly on HMS Eagle

Can anyone firmly identify the aircraft type for me, please?
And a good guess at the actual ship would be nice too :)


Senior Pilot
25th Mar 2022, 09:00
It certainly looks like Eagle, and the deck letter J appears at the round down in your photo.

Plus Firebrands, as you say👍

https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/662x423/3f60a016_1750_4e7d_b2bb_573576b8732f_8b34e79ac9373bd2b443777 b92453265f2e6ba26.jpeg

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/800x614/2cbfa9a2_4031_4cb2_9484_5d265649c035_4eb9256a4ae1a91b1922bd3 d19b33a30b17ac030.jpeg

kiwi grey
25th Mar 2022, 09:16
Thank you so much!

Family mystery solved
Pprune to the rescue again


29th Mar 2022, 03:25
Thank you so much!

Family mystery solved
Pprune to the rescue again


Your father may recall "Exercise Mainbrace" on HMS EAGLE - 14th September 1952 - Firebrands and Attackers to be found [abt 3mins in on first film] in this series of rather good quality IWM Films. Read the [very long] IWM description of events . . . interestin' stuff!!
here (https://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/6595)

29th Mar 2022, 13:01
Remember a Firebrand sat outside at Benson down the Wallingford end of airfield around 1957, any one have pictures ? no doubt was scrapped.

pax britanica
4th Apr 2022, 19:10
Bit of thread drift but still on the subject of Fleet Air Arm, I can clearly recall a Fairey Firefly taking off from LHR in the early 1970s . I have some notion that it was freighted in , assembled and flown out but not sure. Iwas wondering if thatwas the only time an FAA aircraft came to Heathrow. Iwas playing either football or cricket at the time in the recreation ground at Long lane just south of LHR , it was of course a very unusual and loud noise and being a former spotter it got my immediate attention . To this day one of the odder aircraft I saw at Heathrow perhaps only bettered by a Hornet Moth and Leopard Moth landing together in the late 60s.

Liffy 1M
4th Apr 2022, 20:48
How about this?
Firefly at LHR 1973 (https://www.alamy.com/mar-03-1973-fairey-firefly-takes-off-from-heathrow-saved-from-the-image69470940.html)

4th Apr 2022, 21:06
I was on Operation Bobbin on Victor Tankers in c 1968 tanking two RN Buccaneers from Lossie to Eagle which was off Penang .I seem to remember Sir Michael Le Fanu had decided to be the back seater in one of the Buccs.We went thru' Nicosia - can't remember where in the Gulf, then Gan and we tanked them half way to Malaysia when they then joined Eagle.

Union Jack
4th Apr 2022, 21:26
How about this?
Firefly at LHR 1973 (https://www.alamy.com/mar-03-1973-fairey-firefly-takes-off-from-heathrow-saved-from-the-image69470940.html)
In which the officer with the two Wrens is the late Captain Keith Leppard, who was at the time the Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton, and almost certainly the pilot on that occasion.


4th Apr 2022, 22:01
I flew in a Firefly AS7, WP 793 from Boscombe Down to Hendon and back to BD just after getting my wings in 1957. The pilot, Flt Lt Elliot, was a pilot on the handling squadron, who made the flight to pick up a new SD Cap in London! I can still remember the wonderful noise of the engine.

pax britanica
5th Apr 2022, 09:54
Union Jack

Brilliant, isnt the internet amazing at times., many thanks.

I would have been playing football as it took off. Having grown up right next tot he airport one got very sensitive to noise, any aircraft out of the ordinary stood out a mile especially piston engines.

So I assume it had flown in at some point to do the re enactment. It would have been around 1100 when it departed, imagine trying to fit that into departure sequences in recent years (I wont say today because with covid its probably easy. .
Thanks again


5th Apr 2022, 16:10
How about this?
Firefly at LHR 1973 (https://www.alamy.com/mar-03-1973-fairey-firefly-takes-off-from-heathrow-saved-from-the-image69470940.html)

The link says:- "Mar03, 1973 - Fairey Firefly Takes Off From Heathrow: Saved from the scrap heap by Royal Navy officers who bought it seven years ago, this Fairey Firefly Mk 5 was about to take off yesterday for the Royal Navy Air Station, Yeovilton, Somerset, from the former Great Western Airfield - now known as Heathrow Airport and more familiar to such giants as Jumbo jets."

The serial number appears to end 271. I have attached photographs of an Australian Firefly bought by donations from the officers of HMS Victorious on a visit to Sydney in late October/November 1966 and craned onboard Victorious at RAN Garden Island.
The purchase was organized by Lt.Cdr Mike Apps, then commanding officer of 814 Squadron (Wessex HAS 1 helicopters), who I believe was an ex Firefly Observer. It is difficult to read the serial number but it looks like 279(?). The Firefly was onboard when we sailed and was probably offloaded either in Fremantle or Singapore. Is this just a coincidence or was this the same aircraft.

p.s. Ten bobs worth of it was mine!

5th Apr 2022, 16:37
It seems probable that it's WB271 which sadly crashed, with two (I believe) killed at Flying Legends, Duxford in July 2003.

5th Apr 2022, 20:07
It seems probable that it's WB271 which sadly crashed, with two (I believe) killed at Flying Legends, Duxford in July 2003.

Correct on all counts DHfan.

25th Apr 2022, 11:20
before this thread vanishes into oblivion. . . returning to my orig post - did anyone watch the IWM film [linked]? At 1min:4 secs in . . . good cockpit shot of Firefly pilot prep for take-off . .. and [further in] subsequent landings. Plenty of crew names bandied around in film description but none for pilots! Anyone have clues?