The week before Easter was likely to be the last for a while that would need all of us together for a concentrated effort. With the assembly of the fuselage, the last major component was assembled, and while other parts would need to be manufactured and added, they were all a good deal smaller.
We were still waiting for the seat and struts to be made, and Theo could manage the fitting of the seat, and also the rear decking – the curved top of the fuselage behind the pilot – by himself.
As you will note from chapter 50, we’d discovered for sure that the rear decking required some formers for which he had no detailed drawings, but once again the Cross & Cockade International magazine article gave some clues. There was a photograph of a partly burnt out machine (4673) that was obviously the same as 1264 – forward oil tank but no cupboard – and there was the possibility that this might give more positive identification of the internal structure. In the end, it was a bit difficult to get any very detailed information, but it more or less confirmed our earlier guesses based on the parts list (which included these formers) and earlier and later drawings.
Meanwhile I’d had another email from our good friend Paschalis Palavouzis, (see chapter 50) who’d been through the latter half of Grandad’s logbook to establish in greater detail the missions he flew from Thasos. They were all relatively local – the longest was about 30 miles, and navigation wasn’t too difficult, with the coastline and a large river (Nestos) to guide them. He was involved in a lot of bombing, of crops and also of the German seaplane sheds up the coast.
When I thanked Paschalis, I asked him if he had any more pictures of the aircraft out there, and he came up with some wonderful examples; one (unfortunately a low resolution scan of poor quality) could nevertheless be positively identified as 1264.
I decided to try and put positive identification on as many of the aircraft pictured as I could, and set up a spreadsheet to try and identify all the little differences, and it was amazing how many there were!
Of the first batch of Scouts, there were only 5 delivered to Imbros. I had no positive identification of 1259 or 1263, but we did have pictures of the others. 1261 clearly had a rear oil tank and a straight centre section trailing edge. 1262 had a cutout in the centre section trailing edge. 1264 had the gun on the starboard side, no cutout and a forward oil tank. There’s another picture of one with a cutout centre section and (probably) a forward oil tank. The little bit of the serial number we can see would be consistent with either 1262 or 1263, but no others, and the different oil tank would suggest 1263. There’s no armament visible, but it might on the port side. And all of this meant that a couple of photos sent to me by Mick Davis could be reasonably positively identified as 1264, with the gun on the starboard side, a forward oil tank and no cut out. It’s also enabled us to confirm that the cowling was factory standard, according to the original drawings we have, and a pretty good idea about the gun mounting. I’m also pretty convinced that all of them originally had a Union flag on the side, which was later overpainted and a roundel painted over the top.
Incidentally, the title picture is thought to be 3036 – one of the second batch of Scouts delivered to the Eastern Mediterranean with a le Rhone engine and larger dihedral. Grandad didn’t like it as much when he first flew it as it wasn’t as responsive as the earlier ones.
All in all, it’s been a bit of a nerdy kind of exercise, but very valuable nonetheless.