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Remembered Today:

A Ansaldo with the RFC ?


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Hello,

 

A bit of an obscure question I'm afraid. Currently on ebay at:

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Original-ww1-RFC-royal-flying-corps-experimental-section-aircraft-photograph/124527588428?hash=item1cfe6c344c:g:YPYAAOSwVuhgAErp

 

there is a photo of an Ansaldo SVA . The rear of the image shows the text 'Photographic Record and Experimental Section. Does anyone know whether an Ansaldo was tested at Martlesham Heath or any other RFC establishment. Was a serial assigned?

 

Regards,

 

Clint

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I read some where that an Ansaldo flew from Italy to the UK in Nov 1917 , so that could be the  source  of this story.

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Hello Nils,

 

Thanks for the response. Any thoughts on where you saw the information at all?

 

Regards,

Clint

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The  key  word here Clint is "somewhere" !  :wacko: lt was an ltalian pilot, but if l had the details l would  be impressing you with my brilliance. Sorry  l cant do better from memory.

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 Hello Clint,

I don't think this answers your question, but it may be the reason that prompted nils d to post above response.

In his book Fighters 1914-1919, author Kenneth Munson lists the AnsaldoA.1 Balilla. It was tested in November 1917 at the SVA airfield in Turin.

It was put through it's paces by 3 of Italy's top fighter pilots-Maggiore Francesco Baracca, Tenente-Colonello Piccio, and Capitano Ruffo di Calabria.

Could it be that one of these pilots flew the machine to England, or could the RFC have sent a team out to Italy to assess it?

Regards

Geoff

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Airshipped

Hi Clint,

 

I wouldn't rely on eBay descriptions as to whether it's RFC, RNAS or RAF.

 

I've the wartime logbooks of Ulsterman Cecil Arthur Rea. He served at Martlesham Heath for much of the war. He was later to be a test pilot with Boulton Paul and Gloucester. (In 1924 Rea was granted special leave as one of two pilots selected to fly the Gloucester Aircraft Company’s Schneider Trophy entry, a Gloster Napier Seaplane. Unfortunately the other pilot, Captain Hubert Stanford Broad, crashed the machine).

 

Although Rea is absent from Sturtivant & Page's excellent book on RNAS/RAF naval aircraft serial numbers, he definitely served at Martlesham Heath, and flew all sorts of exotic beasts, some quite unloved, others evolutionary dead-ends. Frustratingly, Rea's recording of aircraft serial numbers is haphazard, often missing a letter. He later hand-wrote additional descriptions over the serials, not all of which would necessarily be accurate either.

 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, there would appear to have been an Ansaldo S.V.A. at Martlesham Heath in November 1918. (See below).

IMG_4360.jpeg.b968cfc397e877f3cde3e7771343f79f.jpeg

 

Alas 'E3151' is not a valid serial number.

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Capt R.M. Charley joined the Armament Experimental Station at Orfordness after service with with the BEF in 54 Sqn on Pups. He first flew the SVA on 3 July 1918, on a flight (delivery?0 from Martlesham Heath to Orfordness. He made 3 further flights on the machine, giving its (Italian?) serial or constructor's number as 6758 and noted its engine as a 200-hp SPH.

 

6 August: 30 min flight to 10000ft - "10000 feet in 11 mins. It is a nice machine to fly: flew near ground at 140mph".

11 August: 20 min flight to 5000ft - 2I saw steam blowing off from radiator cap. I came down: found leak in radiator".

12 August: 20 min flight to 2000ft - "Machine is not at all bad but needs much practice to be able to fly well"

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Hello,

 

I'd just like to say thank you very much to 'Airshipped' (sorry I don't know your name to address you properly, but I'm in your debt for the post) and Mick. As I feel certain one of you would have mentioned, were the case otherwise, I take it that no British serial was allocated apart from the bogus one inthe logbook?

 

Regards,

 

Clint

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topgun1918

Flt Sub-Lieut C A Rea is mentioned once in "Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Unit 1911-1919"; 3609 [Grahame-White XV] Deld Cranwell 25.3.16 but FL en route at Peterborough, crashed on TO, TW (FSL CA Rea); Deleted 14.4.16.

 

 Graeme

 

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Hello,

 

Returning to Cecil Arthur Rea's Logbook. Is there any possibility that the serial E3151 is correct for the SVA. I know that this serial is thought to have been assigned to an F.E.2h, but the site at http://www.airhistory.org.uk/rfc/aircraft.html provides no details beyond the serial itself and that it was assigned to an F.E.2h. I wonder could the serial have been cancelled for the F.E.2h and reassigned to the SVA? This could,of course, be ruled out if any photo exists of the F.E.2h or ar any written record of its movements. So my question is, are there any such records?

 

Regards,

 

Clint

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topgun1918

The FE2 book from Cross & Cockade International shows that the serials E3151 to E3153 were allotted to FE2ds A6501 to A6503, rebuilt/converted to FE2h specification, with a 6-lb Davis gun in a modified nacelle, by Ransome, Simms and Jeffries under Contract Number AS3981/18A, dated 13 March 1918; E3151 was at the EAD, Grain by 23 May 1918, awaiting wings and tail.

 

Graeme

 

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Airshipped

Thanks Graeme, 

 

Clint, if you look at Rea's entry for the 'Arab Griffin' you'll find another spurious serial, ie 'C2208' (or perhaps 'G2208'). The correct serial should be N100, or close to that number. 

 

If he's taking the trouble to record these precisely incorrect numbers it suggests that he's reading them from somewhere on the aircraft. Perhaps these are engine numbers? 

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