Fairey Fox

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15 years 6 months

Posts: 30

A long shot I know, but someone may know where to find what I am looking for. My father flew Fairey Foxes with 12 Squadron in the mid 1920s, and recently I have been in touch with an ex RAF Warrant Officer who joined the squadron at about the same time, as a young airframe fitter. He is now 94, but has an amazing memory of events and people. Among other things he asked me if I knew, he wondered if my father had flown Fairey Fox No J7946. He was particularly interested because that aircraft was reported destroyed in a crash at Hendon in October 1928. However, he has a photo of the same aircraft taken a year later, and a friend of his had a log book entry to say he flew the aircraft about the date the photo was taken. So what the old gentleman has been trying to find out for the last 40 years, is which aircraft from 12 Squadron did crash on that date, at Hendon during an air display before the Sultan of Oman, killing the pilot, Flt Lt W E Somerville. And, incidentally, if I could resurrect one aircraft from history, the Curtiss engined Fairey Fox would be it. I would love to have flown one.
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Profile picture for user Andy in Beds

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16 years

Posts: 2,778

Tim there was an article in Aeroplane Monthly some years ago that may shed some light on this. If you can bear with me for a few days I'll try and dig it out for you. PM me an E-mail address. Cheers Andy.

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16 years 2 months

Posts: 1,442

Tim, From Air-Britain's 'Royal Air Force Aircraft J1 - J9999 & WW1 Survivors' 'J7946 (F852) First flown 28.6.26, TOC 12 sqn 6.26, tail came off after dive during salute to HH Sultan of Oman , Hendon, 11.10.28, WOC. But 12 sqn 2.30, ASS Hawkinge 9.1.31!' Which may be where your info came from.

Member for

15 years 6 months

Posts: 30

Thanks for responses and picture. It would seem that either my old friend has it wrong, unlikely in view of the photo he has, or the official report has the wrong a/c tail number. I'll keep looking. I still prefer the uprightV nose shape of the Curtiss Fox to the inverted V Kestrel shape, but then I was brought up with it from my fathers old photos, now sadly vanished. Thanks,Tim
Profile picture for user keithmac

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 341

Hi Tim, The problem you have in identifying the aircraft that crashed is not new. As soon as you start doing any serious research into the history of individual aircraft you run across conflicting information. The official history of any RAF Squadron is compiled from the Sqn Record book (RAF Form 540). This is compiled by the Sqn Adjutant on a monthly basis and records all significant events that have happened over the previous month. Sometimes mistakes occur, and if not noticed and corrected, become the official story. I was 12 Sqns Warrant Officer from June 1999 until I retired from the RAF at the end of 2001. During that time I did some research on the Sqn's history, and J7946 is recorded as having been the aircraft crashed on that occasion. So that's the official story, but perhaps the Adj got it wrong!! Anyway the previous photo was not of 12 Sqn's Fox's, those were Belgian ones. So here, from the Sqn Archives are a couple of shots of J7941. KeithMac
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Member for

15 years 6 months

Posts: 30

Thanks very much Keithmac, yes that's the one, lovely! And thanks for your thoughts, I remember Squadron record books, in my day the Sqn Adj was one of the aircrew as a secondary duty, not me, I'm glad to say, so I'm not surprised that the odd mistake crept in. Nice to meet a couple of people from my fathers old squadron, if only by electronic proxy! Many thanks, Tim
Profile picture for user paulmcmillan

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 2,554

Thread Reprise from death I have just found a Letter from the late Group Captain Albert Edward Dark in Aeroplane November 1994. He also suggests serial is incorrect he says he had a photo of J7946 in flight, with two Fox IA in close proximity. The other two Fox are J9028 and J7943 were not received by squadron until Feb 14, 1929 and March 1, 1929 respectively. He also flew J7946 on two separate dates: Sept 24 and 25, 1929 Also killed in crash at Hendon was Corporal Fitter Christopher John Loud #243592