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Old 12th September 2005, 15:19
atckyrre atckyrre is offline
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Late war Coastal Command colours. Please contribute!

Hi guys.
Great controversy (among people of my kind) what colours were in use with the Coastal Command when it comes to squadron codes and serials. There are a few possible urban legends that needs to be put to rest, alternatively to get confirmed.
I'll start off with some general ponderings and then move on to the specific aircraft types. If anyone, yes ANYONE, can help fill in any of the blanks I would be incredibly grateful, since it is one of my main areas of interest:

Squadron codes: Some time (Date?) early 1944 the number/letter code was introduced, where the number often indicated a specific squadron at a specific base. Of course that meant several squadrons with for instance numbers 1, 2 and 3. This system was retained for some days after the invasion, but I guess it soon was apparent that with squadrons from different bases detached to a single base the numbersystem had to go. Cue old two-letter codes some time early July 1944. Any dates out there?
BUT: Some squadrons seems to have retained the old system, maybe for lack of time or for lack of initiative. 333 and 235 sqn mosquitos come to mind, though it seems that 235 removed their number "3" and stuck with the single identifying letter, along with the all over invasion stripes which seems to have been retained longer than in most other squadrons.
Also the Liberator squadrons seems to have kept the number-system past the summer of '44.
Banff and Dallachy as strike wing bases are established September/october 1944. As 404 and 144 Sqn Beaufighters move north they may have had to overpaint their gaudy red/yellow EE* and PL* codes to fit in with the rest of the Strike wing, who carried their Squadron codes in light colour over the wings. At the same time 248 Sqn deviates from the rest of the Mossie Squadrons by carrying red/yellow letters over the wing. So there goes that theory.
Enter 1945. As the last of the under-fuselage invasion stripes are removed a new way of painting the squadron codes is established. When was this? I'd say some time in January 45, but it's hard to tell. By February it seems most aircraft were painted in the new style which to me looks like it was mostly black lettering with the occasional light colour outline. 333 Sqn Mosquitos deviates in having white letter codes. The practises seem inconsistent and makes me wonder what kind of order was actually given. Were there actual sanctioned colours or did the squadrons do as they please?

Finally a word on the use of Dull Red in squadron codes in 1945. Any proof it was ever used for CC planes this late in the war? I know that the single Letter style in 43 used dull red but in 45 the official colour was Light Slate Grey, a colour which seems to have been used by Liberator/Fortress/Catalina and Sunderland squadrons. I can see that LSG easily gets confused with Dull Red on a standard B/W picture but colour pics of Sunderlands prove that the codes were LSG or some other Grey. Are there any late war colour pics of Catalinas or Liberators about?

With hopes of a clarifying discussion,

Kyrre
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Kyrre Ingebrethsen
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