Coastal Command WW2

YMCA Tea Car, a gift to Coastal Command

I stumbled upon this brilliant image whilst browsing the IWM collection, looking for images of Coastal Command.

Piecing together to the story from the other images in the set, it appears that five of these Tea Cars were donated by the “peoples of America” to work on Coastal Command stations. The captions name a Mr Krauger as the representative of, I assume, the British War Relief Society (BWRS).

The BWRS were a channel, through which the United States could send non-military, humanitarian aid to Great Britain during the early years of the Second World War1.

I have a great interest in Coastal Command due to their presence at my local wartime Airfield of RAF Beaulieu. I would be very surprised if one of these, or similar cars wasn’t stationed there.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (CH 4110) Time for Tea. The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Coastal Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert (far right), enjoys a ‘cuppa’ with some of his pilots from a YMCA tea car, supplied by the British War Relief Society in America, 8 December 1941. The officer in the middle is an American pilot.

Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Hampshire WW2

Tichfield Kite balloon ‘bedding down’

ROYAL AIR FORCE BALLOON COMMAND, 1939-1945. (CH 13212) Leading Aircraftmen W E Rushton and R Carrick of No. 12 Balloon Centre based at Tichfield, Hampshire, ‘bed down’ a kite balloon following inspection, during one of the FABIUS invasion exercises conducted in the Southampton area. In the foreground is the portable winch operated by the two-man crews to raise and lower the balloon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

For more information about the balloons at RAF Titchfield.

Aircraft Hell Hawks P-47D WW2

387th Fighter Squadron in training

I stumbled upon this fantastic photograph of the 387th Fighter Squadron whilst browsing the Fighter Group’s Facebook group recently. I thought it would be a great subject to add some colour enhancements.

The original image can be found on page 12 of Charles Johnson’s 1975 book “The History of the Hell Hawks”.

The squadron were still in the early stages of their formation in 1943 when the image was taken. They trained on the East Coast of the United States, between Dover, Delaware and Millville New Jersey, so it’s likely that the image was set in either location1.

Not long after this photograph was taken, the squadron shipped out to the United Kingdom aboard the Queen Elizabeth.

There are colour photographs that Jonathan Bernstein kindly alerted me of, showing early training P-47’s that have a yellow nose and some with yellow wings. I decided to use that scheme for this image, rather than the squadron’s usual white2.

I’m very pleased with the end result and I hope it helps bring the scene to life. Not all of the pilots made it home which makes it even more poignant to me.

Original Image of 387th Fighter Squadron, found on page 12 of "The History of the Hell Hawks"
Original Image of 387th Fighter Squadron, found on page 12 of “The History of the Hell Hawks”.

The image caption from the book reads as follows.

A group photograph of 387th Fighter Squadron personnel. Sitting on the wing, left to right, Second Lieutenants Clifford L. Thomas, Thomas E. Stanton, Mahlon T. Stelle, (KIA June 7, 1944), Robert E. Robinson, Joseph W. Faurot, First Lieutenant James E. Hill on top of the engine, Second Lieutenants John W. Motzenbecker, Andrew W. Smoak, George E. Robinson, Harold B. Johnston, (killed at Gosfield England on February 13, 1944), Homer G. Bulard. Standing on wing, left to right, Second Lieutenant Harold W. Cowper, Jr., First Lieutenant Louis T. Houck, Second Lieutenants Russell E. Gardner, Edward F. Boles, (KIA June 30, 1944), Karl M. Kloeppel, Jr., and Henry F. Vagts. On the ground in the center is First Lieutenant Ralph P. Warshaw, Engineering Officer. All others are unidentified. (H. Vagts)

Johnson, Charles R 1975, The History of the Hell Hawks, Self Published