Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 3: North American P-51 Mustang Mk. I, II and IV

North American Mustang, RCAF

Data current to 12 April 2021.

 (RAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. I (Serial No. AM148), coded G-RM, No. 26 Squadron, RAF, based at Gatwick around June 1942.  AM148 later served with No. 430 Squadron, RCAF.

North American Mustang Mk. I, Mk. III (P-51B and P-51C), and Mk. IV (P-51D)

Canada had five squadrons equipped with Mustangs during the Second World War.  RCAF Nos. 400, 414 and 430 Squadrons flew Mustang Mk. Is (1942–1944) and Nos. 441 and 442 Squadrons flew Mustang Mk. IIIs and Mk. IVAs in 1945.

The North American Mustang Mk. I does not have a US applied 'P' type designation/aircraft identification number.  It was produced by North American Aviation under a direct contract with the British Government and pre-dates the P-51 designation that was first applied to the next sub-type of the Mustang to be manufactured for the RAF.  No. 430 Squadron, RCAD, still had a few Mustang Mk. I aircraft on their operational strength on 1 January 1945.  They were amongst the aircraft either destroyed or damaged on the airfield where they were based on 1 January 1945 when the Luftwaffe launched their New Year's Day attack on allied airfields on the continent, "Operation BODENPLATTE".  No. 430 Squadron, RCAF, was in the process of converting to the Spitfire Mk. XIV, so the New Year's Day Mustang Mk. I losses hastened their departure from the Squadron, and by mid-January 1945 they were gone.   The Mustang Mk. I did not have provision for underwing hard points.
 
The first Mustang version to have the P-51 designation, was the batch of 150 aircraft that followed on from the Mustang Mk. I.  This was the first batch to be produced for the RAF under Lend Lease - and the reason why it had to be given the US Army Air Force (USAAF) 'P' designation for official USAAF ordering purposes.  This was the follow on sub-type that was armed with 4 x 20-mm Hispano cannon - 2 in each wing to replace the MG and HMG armament of the Mustang Mk. I.  This was the Mustang Mk. IA in RAF service.  93 were delivered to the RAF, while the remainder were retained by the USAAF after Pearl Harbor - before they could be delivered to RAF.  Like the Mk. I, the Mustang Mk. IA did not have provision for underwing hard points.
The next Mustang variant to be built by North American was the A-36A Mustang, which was the dive bomber - ground attack sub-variant produced for the USAAF.  See note regarding sole RAF example flown in UK below.
 
The final Allison engined early Mustang variant to be built by NAA was the P-51A, which was the Mustang Mk. II in RAF service.  The RAF received 50 of them to replace the P-51/Mustang Mk. IA held back by the USAAF from the earlier order.  A couple of RCAF pilots flew these while attached to RAF Squadrons who flew them.  The Mk. II had provision for hard points under the wings for carrying bombs or drop tanks but the RAF never fitted hard points as they used them solely for the low level tactical reconnaissance role.  (Colin Ford, Canberra Australia, Historian, No .268 Squadron Royal Air Force, 1940-1946)
No. 268 Squadron, RAF was a Second World War Army Co-operation and Fighter Reconnaissance Squadron and was the RAF Squadron with the longest continual service record operating the Allison engined North American Mustang in all three major marks used by the RAF, Mk.I, Mk.IA and Mk.II from mid-April 1942 until late-August 1945.  During its existence, the Squadron included aircrew from the RAF, RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF, IAF and PAF.

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9232) or (Serial No. 9253), coded BA-S, No. 424 Squadron, Hamilton, Ontario.  Chris Charland noted that the Mustang in the forefront is former USAF P-51D (Serial No. 44-74502A).  This aircraft served with the No. 1 Air Armament School at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  The No. is difficult to discern, if it is (Serial No. 44-74582), then it would be RCAF (Serial No. 9253). This aircraft later served with entral Experimental and Proving Establishment at RCAF Station Uplands, (later the National Research Centre (NRC) at Uplands, Ontario.

North American Mustang Mk. IV, flown by the RCAF post war (130), (Serial Nos. 9221-9300, 9551-9600).

Postwar, the RCAF acquired a total of 150 Mustang P-51Ds, which were purchased and served in two regular squadrons (No. 416 "Lynx", and No. 417 "City of Windsor") and six auxiliary fighter squadrons (No. 402 "City of Winnipeg", No. 403 "City of Calgary", No. 420 "City of London", No. 424 "City of Hamilton", No. 442 "City of Vancouver" and No. 443 "City of New Westminster").  The Mustangs were declared obsolete in 1956, but a number of special-duty versions served on into the early 1960s.

Following arrangements having been made with the United States Government to purchase 130 North American P-51D Mustangs, the RCAF received its first 32 aircraft during June 1947 with two more following during July of that year; a further five were taken on strength in October 1950, twenty-five during November 1950 and another twenty-five during December 1950.  The balance of forty-three aircraft followed during the first three months of 1951.

Serial numbers were allocated in two blocks, 9221 to 9300 inclusive and 9551 to 9600 inclusive.

The Mustangs, designated in Canada as 'Tactical Fighter Mark IV' (undoubtely the 'Mark IV' being used by virtue of the Royal Air Force's similar designation of its P-51Ds during the Second World War), was to equip the following RCAF Auxiliary Fighter Squadrons: No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron, coded AC, No. 403 "Calgary" Squadron, coded PR, (recoded AD in 1954), No. 417 Squadron, Central Air Command Composite Flight, coded CB, No. 420 "City of London" Squadron, coded AW, (recoded QJ c1955), No. 424 "City of Hamilton" Squadron, coded BA, (recoded PV in 1954), No. 442 "City of Vancouver" Squadron, coded MH, and No. 443 "Sea Island" Squadron, coded PF. 

In addition to these units, Mustangs were also operated by the Central Flying School (CFS), coded DD, the Air Armament School (AAS), coded BZ, No. 1 Flying Training School (FTS), coded GM, Central Experiment & Proving Establishment (CEPE), coded FB, and the Canadian Joint Air Training Center (CJATC), coded OU and AT.  Some Mustangs were also attached to various stations throughout the country, i.e. never apparently attached to any regular Auxiliary unit.  Other code-letters carried by Canadian Mustangs were PX and CM, but it is not known to which units these aircraft belonged.

No. 400 Squadron formed in Canada as No. 110 "City of Toronto" (Army Co-operation) Squadron (Auxiliary) on 5 Oct 1932.  The Squadron flew the North American Mustang Mk. I from Jun 1942 to Feb 1944.  The Squadron's Mustang Mk. I aircraft were all drawn from the AG, AL, AM and AP serial ranges allocated to that aircraft type by the RAF.  The Squadron's aircraft, when they did carry Squadron identification codes were 'SP' followed by the individual aircraft identification letter eg. SP-A.

 (IWM Photo CH 10222)

North American Mustang Mk. I, RAF (Serial No. AG431), coded D, of No. 16 Squadron RAF, being prepared for a reconnaissance sortie at Middle Wallop, Hampshire.  The pilot in photo putting on his Mae West life vest in front of the aircraft is Flying Officer Doug Sampson, RAAF.

 (AWM Photo via Peter Lambros)

North American Mustang Mk. IA, RAF, with aerial camera behind the pilot.  The Mustang Mk. I's excellent range and low-level performance led to it being fitted with an oblique camera for use in the army co-operation role.  Two RCAF units flew these aircraft.  This Mustang was photographed while it was allocated to No. 268 Squadron RAF.  The pilot shown in the cockpit is Flying Officer G Gibson RCAF, who was attached to the RAF when the photo was taken.  The oblique reconnaissance camera is a Williamson F.24 camera which was the standard reconnaissance camera fitted to RAF Mustangs for low level photographic reconnaissance operations.  No RCAF Squadrons were equipped with the Mustang Mk. IA, although a number of RCAF pilots flew this sub-type of the Mustang while attached to RAF Squadrons that did.

Three RCAF Squadrons operated the North American Mustang Mk. I: No.400 Squadron, RCAF, No. 414 Squadron, RCAF, and No. 430 Squadron, RCAF.

 (RAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. I, RAF (Serial No. AG633), coded XV-E, No. II (AC) Squadron, RAF, with an aerial camera mounted behind the pilot.

No. 414 Squadron formed in Canada as No. 110 "City of Toronto" (Army Co-operation) Squadron (Auxiliary) on 5 Oct 1932.  The Squadron flew the North American Mustang Mk. I from Jun 1942 to Aug 1944.  The Squadron's aircraft were coded AG, AL, AM and AP.

The first Mustang Mk. I victory was claimed over during Operation Jubilee over Dieppe on 19 Aug 1942, by RCAF Pilot Officer Hollis Hills of RCAF No. 414 Squadron.  On his second mission of the day, flying Mustang Mk. I (Serial No. AG470), coded RU-M, P/O Hills, reported he had shot down a Focke-Wulf Fw 190.  Squadron identification codes were 'RU' followed by the individual aircraft identification letter eg. RU-M.

Post-war analysis of RAF and surviving Luftwaffe records, plus review of other official records, including French Gendarmerie and Civil Defence records, record no Luftwaffe FW-190s crashing in the area or adjoining immediate areas where F/O Hills made his claim.  No matching Fw 190 loss is recorded for date, time and location and encounter with RAF Mustangs, although there is a likely matching Fw 190 with damage.  Furthermore, further research has revealed, with matching RAF records, Luftwaffe loss records and other corroborating evidence, including photographs, of certainly one and a very high probability of two earlier claims by RAF pilots against Fw 190s before the claim made by Hills.  Those records also show that at the time Hills made his claim, the RAF did not have a clear confirmation of the earlier claims and could not make them known due to wartime security concerns - part of their intelligence was via intercepts of Luftwaffe radio transmissions and intelligence obtained via other 'special means'.   Details of this research are due to be released in the near future in a major book setting out the history of the North American Mustang in RAF and Commonwealth Service.   So at best, Hills at the time made the first KNOWN and publicly acknowledged claims for an air to air kill flying the Mustang.  (Colin Ford)

 (RCAF Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. I, No. 414 Squadron, RCAF, Dunsfold, Surrey, UK.  No. 414 Squadron received its Mustang Mk. Is in June 1942.  The RCAF Overseas Maple Leaf Roundel decal seen on the front cowling were not first issued to RCAF units until early 1943.  So photo is most likely from first half 1943.

 

 (RCAF Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. I, No. 414 Squadron, RCAF, Dunsfold, Surrey, UK, likely between July and mid-November 1942.

 (RAF Photo)

North American A-36A Mustang (Serial No. EW998), carrying two 250-lb bombs.  This is the sole example of this sub-type of the Mustang received by the RAF in the UK.  EW998 was flown purely for trial purposes in the UK.  (Six examples of the A-36 were borrowed by RAF/loaned by USAAF in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations (MTO), and used for a time in late 1942 to early 1943.)   This A-36A was the first version of the Mustang to be fitted with hard points under the wings allowing it to carry bombs or long range fuel drop tanks.  It was also the only variant to be fitted with the dive flaps/brakes as shown in the photo.  It is not called an A-36 Apache, as confirmed by all North American Aviation (NAA) and USAAF original period documentation, which officially designate and call this aircraft a Mustang.  (Colin Ford)

For a brief period, the Apache name was originally used for an internal NAA proposed marketing name when they were originally trying to interest the USAAF in the P-51 (RAF Mustang Mk. IA) but it was dropped without ever being officially adopted by the USAAF. 

 (NMNA Photo)

NAA publicity photo taken at the NAA plant in California in 1943, showing RCAF Flight Lieutenant Hollis H. Hills briefing a visitor in 1943.  The aircraft is an A-36A Mustang.  While flying with No. 414 Squadron, RCAF, he was recorded as the first pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft with a Mustang.  Born in Baxter, Iowa, he joined the RCAF in 1940.  During his combat service overseas, he was Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD): 

"During the Battle of Dieppe on 19th August 1942, this officer accompanied his Flight Commander on two low reconnaissances over the approaches to the battle area. During the second of these, they were attacked by three Fw 190s.  When Flying Officer Hills found he could not warn his Flight Commander, owing to a radio failure, he engaged the three enemy aircraft, shooting down one and driving off the other two, until the Flight Commander became aware of the situation."

Hollis served with the RCAF from 1940 to 1942.  He transferred to the US Navy on 8 Nov 1942, and fought in the Pacific Theatre of Operations (PTO).  While flying with the 32nd Fighting Squadron based on the aircraft carrier USS Langley (CV-27), he was awarded the Silver Star Medal (SSM):

"Lieutenant Hollis H. Hills, United States Navy, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action as a Pilot and Division Leader of Fighter Planes embarked in USS Langley (CV-27), over Truk, on 29 April 1944.  His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service."  Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 363.

He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).  He became a flying ace with five credited aerial victories.  He also served in the Korean War and in Vietnam before retiring with the rank of Commander in the USN in 1962.  He passed away on 31 Oct 2009.

No. 430 Squadron, formed as an Army Co-operation unit at Hartford Bridge, Hampshire, England on 1 Jan 1943, redesignated Fighter Reconnaissance on 28 Jun 1943.  The Squadron was disbanded at Luneburg, Germany, on 7 Aug 1945.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. Is from Jan 1943 to Dec 1944.  The Squadron's aircraft were coded AG, AL, AM and AP.

 (IWM Photo, CH 10679)

A badly damaged North American Mustang Mark I (Serial No. AM104), coded L, of No. 268 Squadron, RAF, on the ground at Odiham, Hampshire, UK, after returning from a sortie over the Rouen area, France.  The pilot, Flying Officer A.R. Hill of Norwich, was met by heavy anti-aircraft fire while attacking barges on a canal.  Despite losing the rudder controls and the hydraulic system, Hill brought the aircraft back for a successful landing.  AM104 was repaired and later flew with Nos. 414 and 430 Squadrons, RCAF, before it was again damaged by flak, near Venlo, Holland, on 21 October 1944, and was finally struck off charge.

No. 441 Squadron, formed in Canada as No. 125 (Fighter) Squadron on 20 Apr 1942.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IIIs from May to Aug 1945.

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. III with Malcolm hood, RAF (Serial No. HB876), No. 441 Squadron Mustang coded 9G-L.  This aircraft is armed with four wing-mounted .50 calibre Browning M2 machine guns, and equipped with two under-wing racks for bombs or drop tanks.  Mk. IIIs were powered with one 1,380-hp Packard-built V-1650-3 Merlin engine or one 1,490-hp Packard-built V-1650-7 Merlin engine.  Equipped with a four-bladed constant speed 11-ft-2-in.-diameter Hamilton Standard propeller, it had a maximum speed of 708 kmh (440 mph) at 9,144 m (30,000 ft).

The RAF put into service more Mustang Mk. III fighters than any other version.  These included Inglewood, California-built, P-51Bs and Dallas, Texas-built, P-51Cs.  Like the subsequent Mk. IV and Mk. IVA, the Mk. IIIs should have been designated Mk. III and Mk. IIIA but were not.  The RAF received 855 Mk. III Mustangs, (Serial Nos. FB-100 to FB124 (25); FB135 to FB399 (265); FR411 (1); FX848 to FX999 (152); FZ100 to FZ109 (10); HB821 to HB962 (142); HK944 to HK947 (4); HK955 and HK956 (2); KH421 to KH640 (220); SR406 to SR438 (33); and SR440 (1).  About 60 Mk. IIIs were diverted to other RAF air bases in Canada and Australia.

  (IWM Photo, CL 735, McMurdo (F/Sgt RCAF), Royal Air Force official photographer)

 Warrant Officer C R Castleton of Bingley Yorkshire, bids farewell to his ground crew as he readies for take off in his North American Mustang Mk. III of No. 122 Squadron, RAF, armed with two 1000-lb bombs on wing racks, at B12/Ellon, Normandy. The ground crew are from left to right: Leading Aircraftman G Townsend of Cheshire, Corporal E Whitney of Northampton, Leading Aircraftman S J Davey of Launceston and Leading Aircraftman W Jessop of Preston.

 (IWM Photo, CL 571, McMurdo (F/Sgt RCAF), Royal Air Force official photographer)

Members of a Repair and Salvage Unit attend to North American Mustang Mk. III (Serial No. FZ190), coded QV-A, of No. 19 Squadron, RAF, in the shadow of the shell-torn village church at B12/Ellon, Normandy.  From left to right, Flying Officer F.H. Price of Hereford, Leading Aircraftman L. Polley of Boxted near Colchester, Corporal J. Hughes of Crewe, Corporal N. Lee of Birmingham and Sergeant W.G. Ward of Emsworth.

 (San Diego Air & Space Museum Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. III with Malcolm hood, RAF (Serial No. XF893).

 (RAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. III with Malcolm hood, RAF (Serial No. FX 925), coded SZ-U, cA 1945.

No. 442 Squadron, formed in Canada as No. 14 (Fighter) Squadron on 2 Jan 1942.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IIIs from Mar to Aug 1945, with aircraft coded KH and Mustang Mk. IVs coded Y2. 

(The Squadron did not have a badge during the Second World War)

No. 442 Squadron, RCAF, brielfly flew Mustang Mk. IVs in May 1945.  The RAF Mustang Mk. IV and Mk. IVA fleet of aircraft were based on P-51D and P-51K Mustangs,  P-51Ds built at Inglewood, California and Dallas, Texas made up the Mk. IV, while only the Dallas-built P-51K made up the Mk .IVA.  RAF squadrons operating these Mustangs included Nos. 19, 64, 65, 112, 118, 122, 149, 154, 213, 260, 303 (Polish), No. 442 Squadron, RCAF, and No. 611 Squadrons.

RAF Serial Nos for these Mustangs include KH641 to KH670 (30 Mk. IV), KH671 to KH870 (200 Mk. IVA), KM100 to KM492 (393 Mk. IVA), KM493 to KM743 (251 Mk. IV), KM744 to KM799 (56 that were never delivered), TK586 and TK589 – both former USAAF P-51D-5-NA aircrafts (Serial Nos. 44-13524 and 44-13332).  The RAF received 876 Mk. IV and Mk. IVA in total from the US under the Lend-Lease program.

 (IWM Photo ATP 13617C)

Royal Air Force Mustang Mk. IVA (Serial No. KM219) in the United Kingdom.  This aircraft was delivered as a P-51K-10-NT USAAF (Serial No. 44-12342), Mar 1945.

The RAF Mustang Mk. IVA fleet consisted solely of Dallas, Texas-built, P-51K fighters, received in 1944-1945.  During the spring and summer months of 1944, RAF Mk. IV and Mk. IVA Mustangs based in England accounted for the destruction of 232 V-1 Buzz Bombs by 5 September 1944.  After VE Day, the RAF redirected deliveries of Mk. IV and Mk. IVA Mustangs to its units in India to help ward off the Japanese still fighting in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  After the Second World War, a number of Mustang Mk. IV and Mk. IVA aircraft continued to serve with the RAF up until May 1947, when they were superseded by more modern turbojet-powered fighters.  A large number were returned to the US while unserviceable aircraft were scrapped.

The Mustang Mk. IV was powered with a 1,695-hp Packard-built V-1650-7 Merlin engine driving a four-bladed constant speed 11-ft-1-in.-diameter Hamilton Standard propeller or a four-bladed 11-ft-diameter Aeroproducts propeller.  It had a maximum speed of 703 kmh (437 mph) at 7620 m (25,000 ft). 

The Mustang Mk. IV was armed with six wing-mounted .50 calibre Browning M2 machine guns with 12,100 total rounds of ammunition; three-to-four under-wing attachment points for bazooka tubes, bombs, rockets and drop tanks. 

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, coded H-Y2, No. 442 Squadron, RCAF, at Hunsdon, Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, ca May 1945.  The Mustangs flown by the RCAF during the war were owned by the RAF and carried RAF serial numbers and designations.  

The yellow trimmed Mustang Mk. IVs of No. 442 "Caribou" Squadron, RCAF, flew one of the last operational missions of the Second World War.  On 9 May 1945, the day after VE Day (and some heavy celebrations) the squadron was called upon to escort a naval force that had been sent to liberate the Channel Islands that had been occupied by German forces since 1940. Rumours prevailed that the German Commandant was refusing to surrender and would resist the liberating forces.

 (John Mallandine Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV (Serial No. KH661), coded Y2-C, No. 442 Squadron, RCAF, at Hunsdon, Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, just before VE day in May 1945.  This aircraft was flown by Flying Officer P. Bremmner.  No. 442 Squadron was based at Hunsdon from 23 Mar to 17 May 1945, while converting onto the Mustang, and then while the Squadron was engaged in long-range bomber escort duties up to VE-Day.

There were variations on the markings on these Mustang Mk. IVs.  Some were marked as "B", "C" and "T", but also some of the bare metal ones were marked with "Y2" by the windscreen and had the individual letter painted just ahead of the roundel.  Others have the individual letter behind the roundel and the "Y2" immediately ahead of the roundel, in the manner used postwar.  Note that most of the aircraft in these photos have a louvered panel at the lower front of the engine cowling where most P-51Ds & Ks had a perforated panel.  (Jerry Vernon)

 (John Mallandine Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, coded Y2-T, No. 442 Squadron, RCAF, Art Nolan on the wing at Digby in the United Kingdom, May 1945. 

 (John Mallandine Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, coded Y2-B, "The Edmonton Special", No. 442 Squadron, RCAF, in the United Kingdom, ca May 1945.  The Mustangs flown by the RCAF during the war were owned by the RAF and carried RAF serial numbers and designations.

 (Robert Lansdale Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF.

North American Mustang Mk. IVs flown by the RCAF post war (130), (Serial Nos. 9221-9300, 9551-9600).

Canada had five squadrons equipped with Mustangs during the Second World War.  RCAF No. 400, No. 414 and No. 430 squadrons flew Mustang Mk. Is (1942–1944) and No. 441 and No. 442 Squadrons flew Mustang Mk. IIIs and Mk. IVAs in 1945.  Postwar, a total of 150 Mustang P-51Ds were purchased and served in two regular squadrons (No. 416 "Lynx", and No. 417 "City of Windsor") and six auxiliary fighter squadrons (No. 402 "City of Winnipeg", No. 403 "City of Calgary", No. 420 "City of London", No. 424 "City of Hamilton", No. 442 "City of Vancouver" and No. 443 "City of New Westminster").  The Mustangs were declared obsolete in 1956, but a number of special-duty versions served on into the early 1960s.

The  RCAF received its first 32 aircraft during June 1947 with two more following during July of that year; a further five were taken on strength in October 1950, twenty-five during November 1950 and another twenty-five during December 1950.  The balance of forty-three aircraft followed during the first three months of 1951.

The Mustangs, designated in Canada as Tactical Fighter Mk. IV equipped RCAF Auxiliary Fighter Squadrons Nos. 402 'City of Winnipeg' (code AC), No. 403 'Calgary' (code PR, replaced by AD in 1954), No. 417 (Central Air Command Composite Flight' (code CB), No. 420 'City of London' (code AW, replaced by QJ ca. 1955), No. 424 'City of Hamilton (code BA, replaced by PV in 1954), No. 442 'City of Vancouver' (code MH) and No. 443 'Sea Island' (code PF).  In addition to these units, Mustangs were also operated by the Central Flying School [CFS] (code DD), Air Armament School [AAS] (code BZ), No. 1 Flying Training School [FTS] (code GM), Central Experiment & Proving Establishment [CEPE] (code FB) and the Canadian Joint Air Training Center [CJATC] (codes OU and AT).  Some Mustangs were also attached to various stations throughout the country, i.e. never apparently attached to any regular Auxiliary unit.  Other code-letters carried by Canadian Mustangs were PX and CM, but the units these aircraft belonged to are unknown.

 (Robert Lansdale Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, Downsview, Ontario, ca 1950s.

(RCAF Photos)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, running up, ca 1953.

 (NASA Photo)

North American P-51D-30-NA, USAAF (Serial No. 44-74380), was received by the RCAF on 7 June 1947. A s Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9579), it was used at RCAF Stations Rivers, Manitoba and Sea Island, BC until 25 January 1953. It was struck off charge after a Category A crash while serving with 443 Squadron.  Here it is seen in a transitional markings phase, with RCAF roundels and fin flash, but still wearing the USAAF serial and buzz number PF-380.

The markings laid down for the Mustangs were described as follows: all-natural aluminium finish with red outer wing surfaces, upper and lower, red stabilizers, also upper and lower surfaces, and black anti-glare panel ahead of the cockpit.  In practice, however, the red recognition markings to facilitate spotting of a downed aircraft in snow-covered areas, do not appear to have been applied to more than a few aircraft.  Initially, the squadrons used callsigns carried over from wartime practice, with a two-letter unit designator, followed by an individual aircraft letter.  This practice, however, eventually was dropped in favour of the the two-letter unit designator followed by the last three digits of the aircraft-serial.

Individual unit markings gradually appeared on many Mustangs during the late 1950's, but all RCAF Mustangs retained their natural aluminium finish.

In 1955, the RCAF began to reorganize its Auxiliary units, and late in 1956 started to phase out the first of its Mustangs, the last being struck off strength on 1 Nov 1960, although only few were kept active during the late 50's, while most of the aircraft had already been put into storage.

Thirty-nine aircraft were lost during service, and many of the survivors were cannibalized to refit the best airframes for sale in the years following their official retirement.  Most of the surviving airframes were sold to civilian companies, with the result that quite a number of aircraft surfaced again in various Latin American countires, where they saw further use after refurbishment.

No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron (Auxiliary).  Formed 15 Apr 1946.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Nov 1950 to Sep 1956, with the aircraft coded AC.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PL-54433)

North American Mustang Mk. IVs, No. 402 Squadron, training camp at Watson Lake, Yukon, 8 July 1952.  On that day, six No. 402 Squadron Mustangs were armed with two 500 lb. bombs each to be dropped on targets at the Teslin Lake Range, from where they proceeded to Whitehorse.  There they were rearmed with 500 lb. bombs to be dropped on the Teslin Range again on their way back to Watson Lake.  (No. 402 Squadron ORB)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PL-54433) 

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9570), coded AC, No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron, being bombed up at a training camp at Watson Lake, Yukon, 8 July 1952.  

(RCAF Photo via James Craik) 

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9569), coded CB-569, No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron.  9569 was assigned to Trenton Station Flight after service with No. 402 Squadron.  Previously USAF P-51D-25-NA (Serial No. 44-73216).

 (DND Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9569), coded CB-569, No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron.

(RCAF Photo via James Craik) 

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9569), coded CB-569, No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron.

(RCAF Photo via James Craik) 

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9569), coded CB-569, No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron.

(RCAF Photo via James Craik) 

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9569), coded CB-569, No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron.

  (Bzuk Photo)

North American P-51D-20-NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-63476), Reg. No. N63476, painted as a Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9274), coded AC-274, No. 402 (City of Winnipeg) Squadron colours in 2006.  It has been repainted and currently flies as "KWITCHERBITCHIN".  This Mustang flew with No. 442 Squadron (Auxiliary) at RCAF Station Sea Island (Vancouver), British Columbia, then with No. 403 Squadron (Auxiliary) at Calgary, Alberta, and finally No. 402 Squadron (Auxiliary), at Stevenson Field, Manitoba, shown here as AC-274, just before its retirement.  9274 carried No. 402 Squadron's yellow and blue colours as stripes on rudder and spinner, plus the name "City of Winnieg Squadron" in script on the anti-glare paint, just above its exhausts. 

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, on the ramp.

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9258), 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron (Aux), Stephenson Field, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

No. 403 "City of Calgary" Squadron (Auxiliary).  Formed 15 Oct 1948.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Nov 1950 to Oct 1956, with the aircraft coded AD, PR--.

 (F/L Lynn Garrison Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9591), coded PR-281, No. 403 Squadron, RCAF Station Calgary, Alberta, 22 Feb 1957.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9279), coded AD, No. 403 "City of Calgar" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary), based at Calgary, Alberta.  It is shown here loaded with 500 HE pound bombs at Watson Lake, Yukon, on 7 July 1952.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9281), coded PR-281, No. 403 (City of Calgary) Squadron (Auxiliary) at RCAF Station Calgary, Alberta.

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9281), coded PR-281, 403 Squadron, piloted by F/O Lynn Garrison, RCAF Station Calgary, Alberta, 15 Feb 1956.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, being armed with bombs during winter flight trials with the Winter Experimental Establishment at Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, being armed with bombs at the Winter Experimental Establishment at Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.

 (RCAF Photo)

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, with bent prop, ca 1954.

 (RCAF Photo)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207279)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF Station Uplands, Ontario, 18 June 1951.

 (British Columbia Archives Photo, Item I-60981)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9551), coded CK-O, RCAF, NCR unit at Arnprior, Ontario.  This aircraft was equipped for trans-sonic wing flow tests, ca 1951.  During high-speed dive tests, the canopy disintegrated and struck the tail surfaces.  After exceeding the mach number, the aircraft then yawed and went out of control.  It struck the ground near Richmond, Ontario on 14 Feb 1951.  The aircraft was totally destroyed.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9257), RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec, Ontario, ca 1951.  This aircraft was flown from RCAF Station Uplands, Ontario.  It crashed at Carlton Place, near Uplands, on 9 November 1951.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584571)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, 9243, Uplands, 6 Sep 1951.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207281)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9249), 20 June 1952.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9232), coded GM-V.  "GM" was the code for the Air Armament School at, RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, in the 1950s.

No. 417 "City of Windsor" Squadron formed as a Fighter Reconnaisance unit at Rivers, Manitoba on 1 Jun 1947.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Jul 1947 to Jul 1948, with the aircraft coded AT--.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207280)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9567), coded AT-F, No. 417 Squadron, Uplands, Ontario, 1 Dec 1950.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207278)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9567), coded AT-F, No. 417 Squadron, Uplands, Ontario, 1 Dec 1950.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, 417 Squadron, Trenton, Ontario.  Newly arrived and preparing for a flypast a the Canadian National Exhibition.  Note Roundels without the Maple Leaf.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9232), Trenton, Ontario.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, ca 1950s.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9234), coded GM-X, firing rockets, No. 1 Armament School, ca 1950s.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9555), FC-M, with lightning bolt.  This aircraft was flown out of Toronto, Ontario, by No. 400 Squadron and at Rivers, Manitoba by No. 417 Squadron before going to RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  It was written off, after Category A crash near Picton, Ontario in June 1952.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9555), FC-M, with lightning bolt.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

(DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9566), coded FB-N, and wearing early style red and blue maple leaf roundels, probably serving with a test unit.  9566 later served at RCAF Stations Rivers, Manitoba and Chatham, New Brunswick.  On 20 Nov 1953 it was struck off charge (SOC) after a Category A crash.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9552), coded FB-N, and (Serial No. 9566), coded DD-P, with different Roundels, Grand Prairie, Alberta.  9552 was flown out of RCAF Stations Rivers, Manitoba; Trenton, Ontario; and Chatham, New Brunswick.  

No. 416 Squadron, formed at Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario, 8 Jan 1951.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Jan 1951 to Mar 1952, with the aircraft coded AS--

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV (Serial No. 9246) leading a formation of  No. 416 (F) Squadron fighters based at RCAF Station Uplands, Ontario, 24 Jan 1952.  The squadron operated the Mustangs between January 1951 and March 1952, and then converted to the Candair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2.

No. 420 "City of London" Squadron (Auxiliary) formed at London, Ontario on 15 Jun 1948.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Dec 1950 to Aug 1956, with the aircraft coded AW.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9287), coded OU-287, flown at Canadian Joint Air Training Centre (CJATC), Tactical Flight, Rivers, Manitoba.  Later flown with No. 420 Squadron (Auxiliary) at RCAF Station Crumlin (London), Ontario. with red wing tips, yellow and red nose cone.

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9287), coded OU-287, flown at Canadian Joint Air Training Centre (CJATC), Tactical Flight, Rivers, Manitoba.

 (Griffin Collection Photo via Mike Kaehler)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9228), coded AW-K, No. 420 "City of London" Squadron (Aux).

 (Air Dave Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No.9---), coded AW-J, AW-L, and AW-R, No. 420 "City of London" Squadron (Aux).

No. 424 "City of Hamilton" Squadron (Auxiliary) formed at Hamilton, Ontario on 15 Apr 1946.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Nov 1950 to Sep 1956, with the aircraft coded BA--.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207282)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9255), coded BA-U, No. 424 "City of Hamilton" Squadron, flying out of Mount Hope, Ontario.

No. 442 "City of Vancouver" Squadron (Auxiliary) formed at Vancouver, British Columbia on 15 Apr 1946.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Nov 1950 to Oct 1956, with the aircraft coded SL--.

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9276), coded PV-276, No. 442 Squadron (Auxiliary) at RCAF Station Sea Island (Vancouver), British Columbia, ca early 1950s.

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9276), coded PV-276, No. 442 Squadron (Auxiliary) at RCAF Station Sea Island (Vancouver), British Columbia, with a bent propellor after a crash landing, ca 1954.

 (DND Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, USAAF (Serial No. 44-73347), c/n 122-39806, RCAF (Serial No. 9298), coded Y2-E.

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9298), was manufactured in 1945 by North American Aviation Inc. in Inglewood, California, and served first with the U.S. Army Air Forces during the Second World War.  Details of its American history are unknown.  In March 1951, 9298 was acquired by the RCAF and served with No. 442 "City of Vancouver" (Auxiliary) Squadron, which operated out of the Sea Island Airport, near Vancouver, British Columbia.  It was coded PF-298.  In the early 1960s, the RCAF started transferring its historical aircraft to the Canadian War Museum, commencing with the Mustang in December 1961.  Transfer to the Canadian War Museum was stopped when it was determined that it did not have adequate facilities.  The Mustang was then transferred to Rockcliffe Airport in 1964.  It is painted in the colours of a Mustang Mk. IV flown by No. 442 "City of Vancouver" Squadron as it would have appeared in 1945.  (CA&SM)

 (aeroprints Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, USAAF (Serial No. 44-73347), c/n 122-39806, RCAF (Serial No. 9298), coded Y2-E.

 (Author Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, USAAF (Serial No. 44-73347), c/n 122-39806, RCAF (Serial No. 9298), coded Y2-E.

 (Author Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, USAAF (Serial No. 44-73347), c/n 122-39806, RCAF (Serial No. 9298), coded Y2-E.

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, USAAF (Serial No. 44-73463), c/n 122-39922, RCAF (Serial No. 9575), previously "Oklahoma Miss", Reg. No. N351D, currently CF-VPM, painted in RCAF No. 442 Squadron colours as worn in 1945.  Michael Potter, Vintage Wings of Canada, Gatineau, Quebec.

No. 443 "City of New Westminster" Squadron (Auxiliary) formed at Vancouver, British Columbia on 15 Sep 1951.  The Squadron flew Mustang Mk. IVs from Nov 1952 to Oct 1956, with the aircraft coded PF--.

 (Tony Edmundson Photo via Bruce Richards)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9597), No. 443 (Auxiliary) Squadron "City of New Westminster" at RCAF Station Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1956.  Delivered to the RCAF on 8 Nov 1950, struck off charge (SOC) 15 Oct 1959.

(Nathan Howland Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9593), coded PF-593, No. 443 Squadron.

 (Bill Ewing Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9250), coded PF-250, No. 443 Squadron, visiting Winnipeg, Manitoba.  This aircraft was produced for the USAAF as a P-51D-25-NA (Serial No. 44-73027) in 1945.  It was transferred to the RCAF as a Mustang Mk. IV, on 6 Dec 1950.  It served with No. 416 (F) Squadron at RCAF Station Uplands, Ontario, and, as indicated by the code letters "PF", No. 443 (Auxiliary) Squadron "City of New Westminster" at RCAF Station Sea Island, Vancouver.

 (LynnGarrison9263 Photo)

North American Mustang IV (Serial No. 9263), ex-No. 403 Squadron, RCAF, before ferry flight from Calgary, Alberta, to Canastota, New York, 1960.

 (Toronto Star Photo Archives)

North American P-51 D Mustang, USAAF (Serial No. 44-74427), RCAF (Serial No. 9592), taken on strength (TOS) 8 Nov 1950.  With No. 403 Squadron (Auxiliary) at Calgary, Alberta, in 1950s, later with No. 442 Squadron (Auxiliary) Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia, until struck off strength (SOS) 15 Oct 1959.   9592 flew with several civilian owners, Reg. N2251D.  It took part in the Toronto International Airshow (TIA) in 1980, as "Miss Coronado", when this photo was taken for the Toronto Star (Public Domain).  It is curently flying in France, Reg. No. F-AZSB, as "Nooky Booky IV".

 (Alan Wilson Photo)

This North American P-51D Mustang (Mustang IV), (Serial No. 44-73979), coded WZ-I, ex-RCAF Mustang (Serial No. 9246), c/n 122-40519, once stood as a gate guardian at CFB St. Jean, Quebec, before being presented by the Canadian Government to the Imperial War Museum in London, UK, in 1968.  It was on display for many years suspended from the ceiling inside the main entrance to the IWM at Lambeth, painted in the markings of a USAAF fighter, “Big Beautiful Doll”. The Mustang was later moved to Duxford to form part of the refurbished American Air Museum.  It has been repainted to represent another USAAF 78th Fighter Group aircraft, "Etta Jeanne II". The 78th FG was based at Duxford in 1944-1945. 

OK, I admit to being shameless when it comes to asking for permission to sit in the cockpit of a Mustang.  North American P-51D Mustang (Serial No. 44-74009), "Miss Kat Brat", Reg No. N988C, owned at that time by Jack Shaver, during an airshow we took part in at Charleston, West Virginia, 1977.  This Mustang flew as RCAF (Serial No. 9275) from 11 Jan 1951 to 17 Sep 1957.

 (Author Photo)

North American P-51D-20NA Mustang, USAAF (Serial No. 44-63889), c/n 122-31615, CF-FUZ, all black with white cheat line along the fuselage, CNE Toronto, Aug 1977.   Flown  by Gary McCann, Stratford Ontario, 1973-1983.  Built in 1944 at Inglewood, California, currently Reg. No. N4034S, flown by Meir Motors GMBH, Eschbach, Germany.

RCAF Two-seat Mustang Mystery

Robert Wilsey in the UK wrote “I am currently having a book on my military aviation reminiscences published.  I talked  to my basic rotary flying instructor who was ex-RAF and a student at the NATO Air Training Plan at RCAF Station Gimli, Manitoba, in the early 1950s.[1]  After completing his Harvard course at Gimli, he was asked to take part in a short student experiment at RCAF Station Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and underwent some very brief dual instruction on the P-51D and B-25 Mitchell before returning to the UK.   I checked with him and he definitely flew about 5 hours dual in the front seat of a two-seat P-51D (possibly a TF-51D) at the time at No. 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) which had moved from Gimli to Moose Jaw.  I note that none of the 130 Mustangs transferred to the RCAF from the USAF were recorded as TF-51Ds, so I wonder about this Mustang two-seater.

Most unfortunately, the elderly gentleman lost his initial flying logbook many years ago so I cannot supply a serial number.  Do you know of any RCAF TF-51Ds, or were a couple perhaps loaned by the USAF for this training experiment? 

 Just to be clear I understood from my ex-RAF instructor that his 5 hrs dual on the Mustang at Moose Jaw was a training experiment that he believes was discontinued - so it was very much a ‘one off’.”
Best
Robert

 I wrote to Mike Kaehler, and asked him, was possible that we borrowed one from the USAF, or converted one ourselves? 

 Hi Hal,

I have looked through the Mustang history cards and every source I can think of and I have not found anything stating the RCAF had or borrowed TF-51 Mustangs.  Your best bet is to contact Jerry Vernon.  He is an older gentlemen that used to be an aircraft maintenance officer at 442 Sqn and is an expert on Mustang history.  He lives in Burnaby, BC and can be reached at jevernon@telus.net.  He was an RCAF Associate Historian during the old program.  You could also pose the question in my Facebook group, someone might know the answer.
Good luck.
Cheers,
Mike

 Jerry quickly responded, Thanks Hal…that is a very strange suggestion!

I have all of the Mustang record cards and have been researching RCAF Mustangs and warbird Mustangs for over 40 years, so I am 100% certain there were no dual control RCAF Mustangs!!

I have read most of the RCAF Mustang technical files in the Archives and there is no mention of even thinking of doing this.  Taking out the tank would mess with the Weight & Balance, Centre of Gravity, etc.  On the other hand, the aircraft was tricky to fly with fuel in the fuselage tank…no aerobatics, etc. allowed, so it was used mainly for long cross-country trips, ferrying, etc.

You could make a simple two-seater by taking out the fuselage tank and sticking in a small jump seat, but there was certainly no room for any controls.  The USAAF used to do that sometimes so they could take a 2nd person up for a ride or observation…I think I have heard that General Eisenhower flew in a Mustang during the Normandy campaign.[2]  To make a dual control aircraft would require making more space and the humped-up canopy to make it more comfortable for the person in the back!! 

According to John Andrade’s book “U. S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials”, the USAF converted less than 20 to dual control.

As far as I understand it, there were very few true dual conversions postwar for the USAF….several were remanufactured in the mid-1960s at Temco (Texas Engineering & Manufacturing  Co;), and supplied on the Mutual Assistance Program to places like Bolivia and perhaps Indonesia or the Philippines.   These were done in the mid-1960s and issued with new Fiscal 1967 serial numbers

I think the Cavalier Corp.(aka Trans-Florida Aviation) also remanufactured some true dual control aircraft for military use as well as civilian two seaters, but they didn’t get into the act until after the RCAF had retired the Mustangs in 1956(they bought ours from Vancouver and they were ferried down to Sarasota by several RCAF(Auxiliary) pilots….in 1960!!)

There have been a number of warbird Mustangs converted to dual control over the  years and lots made into simple two seaters without dual controls. 

There were Mustangs at the Canadian Joint Air Training School at Rivers, Manitoba as early as 1947 when the first 30 were obtained from the USAF.  They formed a small Tactical Flight which later became No. 417 Squadron.  Also, in 1950 I know they ran a Mustang OTU at Rivers.

If this were just an experiment, I suppose they could have borrowed one from the USAF.  I don’t think there were “any” (let alone “many”) two-seater or dual control warbird Mustangs available in the 1950s.    

He didn’t claim that he flew it from the back seat, so maybe his instructor or check pilot was just sitting in the jump seat coaching him and trusting to God he didn’t screw up!  That is the way many Mustang warbird pilots took their training and sometimes both guys were killed before they got the hang of handling the torque!

Otherwise you flew the Harvard, did a few hot landings, read the pilots’ manual and away you went solo!

Try looking at the diary for No. 2 FTS.  It looks like it ends in 1951.

Jerry Vernon

You are an extraordinary fountain of information Jerry, many thanks!  The idea that the passenger crowded in behind the pilot for a few flights seems to make the most sense.  I have managed to badger several Mustang owners into letting me sit in the cockpit, and I think the second “rider” would have to be fairly small to fit behind the pilot.  

 May I use your commentary on my Mustang web page?  I think other fans would find it just as interesting as we do.

 Hal sends

 Jerry wrote back to say, “Sure go ahead and use it.   I think this is one of the first times I have been called “an older gentleman”, but I guess I do fit the bill, as I turned 85 last month! 

It still bears looking into, as I doubt that the RCAF would have taken the fuselage tank out of a Mustang for this purpose.  Maybe the gentleman’s memory is playing tricks on him, but I am hard pressed to think what other type of aircraft he might have mistaken for a Mustang! 

Sadly, I have never had a Mustang back seat ride, although the late Jerry Janes did offer to take me up in his, in return for my help in identifying the unidentified ex-RCAF hulk out El Salvador that he was having rebuilt.  I was not keen on flying with him until he had built up some time on the airplane!  Then it was forgotten and never happened. 

I had a look at the Diaries for No. 2 FTS and RCAF Station Gimli.

No. 2 FTS was at Gimli from 1 Dec 1950 to 15 Jun 1953, when it moved to Moose Jaw and Gimli became an AFS with T-33s.   Unfortunately, the No. 2 FTS diaries for 1 Dec 1952 – 31 Mar 1953 and 1 Jun 1953 – 15 Jun 1953 are missing and are not on the microfilm.  There are no diaries for No. 2 FTS at Moose Jaw, only a set of Organization Orders for the unit.

Looking at the Station diary, there are diaries for Gimli covering this period, but there is no mention of any special trials or any visits by a two-seat Mustang.  Gimli was the site of the Auxiliary Summer Camps in 1949 and the early 1950s, with Mustangs, Vampires, Mitchells and Harvards.  I know that No. 442 and No. 443 Squadrons went there a couple of summers, but that was before my time with No. 442 Squadron as an airman.

I am always curious to know more about Mustangs than I already know, so I did a bit more poking.  John Andrade’s book shows 8 converted plus 2 more later(but the later may not have been until the 1950s??) plus 9 random s/ns converted(list may not be a complete list) later, which may be the 15 TEMCO mods you show. 

Then there were a bunch remanufactured by Cavalier, some single seaters and some TF-51Ds, mostly for the Peace Condor Project for Bolivia.  Nobody has any idea of their original identities, as nobody kept track of the pieces.  Cavalier had a hangar full of dismantled Mustangs, many of which were ex-RCAF that they had purchased.  This probably accounts for several that had been ferried down to Syracuse by Lynn Garrison and then abandoned there when the deal to sell them was blocked by the US State Department and the Canadian Government.  It probably also includes several others that simply disappeared that had not already been secretly ferried across to Central America. 

One owner told me that his ex-FAB airplane was full of old RCAF overhaul tags from MacDonald Bros Aircraft at Winnipeg!

These Cavaliers had new “67-“ s/ns, so certainly wouldn’t have been around in the 1950s, plus also two Cavaliers with “68-“ s/ns that were converted for use as chase planes for the US Army…they were two-seaters but not dual control. 

I have a lot of info. on the Bolivian aircraft, as the 5 airworthy survivors ere swapped for 5 T-33s by Arny Carnegie in Edmonton.  I have met all 5 pilots involved at one time or another, especially the late Hector MacGregor, and have duplicates of some of his slides and also slides from Gerry Westphal.  The other 3 ferry pilots were Les Benson, Jock McKay, and Butch Foster.  They are all  ex-RCAF and I understand that a couple of them were still serving and on leave at the time! 


So, having the s/ns, I was hoping that John Baugher’s USAAF s/ns list might give some clue if any of them had been loaned to the RCAF, even for a short period.  Alas, no luck!

The first 8 certainly appear to be factory conversions as they were 45-11443 to 45-11450.  Baugher just shows them as TP-51Ds, but with no individual aircraft details at all.

The additional 2 were 44-84610 and 44-84611.  Adjacent s/ns, but the details are hazy and point to a later conversions.  Baugher shows 44-84610 to TF-51D in 1954 and 44-84611 appears to have been sold as surplus, was registered as N6326T(but that is part of the registration block issued for ex-RCAF Mustangs!), was a Cavalier conversion, went to Bolivia as FAB-508 and crashed.  The records and published information on these  two appear to be a mess!

Then the random s/ns converted….

44-13918 – shows as serving overseas with known nose art and names

44-73494 – to the Korean Air Force as ROK 205.  On display in Korea.

44-74210 – no details.

44-84654 – no details.

44-84658 – two totally different histories attributed to this one!  No idea which is true!

44-84660 – to Guatemala as FAG 345

44-84670 – no details.

44-84900 – to USN for carrier trials, to NACA as NACA 127, warbird as N51YZ

44-72990 - ex-RCAF 9283/N6327T.   US Army chase plane for Cheyanne helicopter

This last one went around in a circle after RCAF service, to a warbird and then back to the U. S. military as a chase plane for the Cheyanne and other helicopter programs at Edwards AFB, and in now in the Fort Rucker Museum.  Not a wartime two-seater at all!

The Mustangs rebuilt from parts by Cavalier were 67-14862 to 67-14866 plus 67-22579 to 67-22582, all going to Bolivia, plus two more chase planes for the U. S. Army, 68-15795 & 68-15796.

Commenting on your thoughts….although some were converted to two-seaters in the field, I would doubt that anybody went to the extra effort to install dual controls, or certainly not full dual controls.  They were probably “war weary” examples to be used as unit hacks with a jump seat only.

Otherwise, the 10 wartime factory conversions and some of those TEMCO conversions would be the best suspects. 

A story about flying in the back seat and having more money than brains(although a warbird Mustang was dirt cheap in those days).  One of our 443(Aux) Mustangs that was purchased by Trans-Florida Aviation(later Cavalier) ended up with a guy in Indianapolis.  The tank was  taken out and a jump seat was installed.  Three weeks after buying it he took his buddy up for a ride and  both of them were killed on landing, presumably due to a torque roll.  The aircraft landed upside down shearing off the canopy, fin and rudder, and decapitating both occupants. 

Otherwise the aircraft was not badly damaged(I have photos of it lying there).  Both wingtips were a bit chewed up and the prop and gear case had departed the engine.  The fuselage sat around as a hulk for several decades, was rebuilt and won the “Best Mustang” award last year at Oshkosh.  It is now flying with a new owner in Germany.

As a bit of a funny twist, the registration remained on the US Civil Register for 30 or more years, with the FAA note to the effect that the owner had not been answering their mail.  I guess not!

Jerry Vernon,

Secretary, Air Force Officers’ Association

Secretary, 801(Vancouver) Squadron, RCAF Association

Hi,

I have had a long telephone conversation with my ex-instructor which has proved illuminating. 

  • The Mustang and B-25 training trial/experiment was held at Gimli in early 1953 just before the 2FTS moved to Moose Jaw.
  • 2 x two seat Mustangs arrived  and spent one or 2 weeks at Gimli. They were fitted with dual controls and were marked USAF!
  • My contact flew in one of them (the same aircraft) about 5 hours dual, all from the front seat. As far as he remembers his instructors in the rear were RCAF.
  • He told me that the RCAF Harvard cockpit layout was generally to mimic P-40 and that generation of front-line so that the student knew where to expect to find undercarriage, flaps etc. Part of the experiment was to determine how far this held true with Harvard to Mustang transition. Apparently my contact had no problem with controls but found the lack of visibility on take-off and landing tricky.
  • The 2 Mustangs then moved on to another RCAF base, as if they were on a ‘tour’.

So I think we can say that 2 x USAF TF-51Ds visited Gimli and other RCAF stations in early 1953.

Best regards

Robert

Footnotes:

[1] The NATO Air Training Plan was an aircrew training program which ran from 1950–1958, authorized by NATO, and implemented by the RCAF.  The program trained pilots and navigators from NATO signatory countries with the purpose of improving NATO airpower in response to the perceived military threat in Europe from Soviet Bloc countries.

Like the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) of the Second World War, Canada was chosen because of its remoteness from the potential battle areas in Europe.  Also, like the BCATP, the NATO Air Training Plan trained aircrew from many countries other than Canada and the United Kingdom, and used air stations throughout Canada, with many located on the prairies well away from congested urban areas and where the land was open and flat.  Many of the old BCATP stations were expanded and used for the NATO training program.  Trainees came from such countries as the UK, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Portugal, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, Greece, and Italy.

Training began at RCAF Station London, Ontario, at the NATO Training & Induction School ( relocated to RCAF Station Centralia in 1954) where students were familiarized with RCAF aircraft and flying terminology, and were taught flight procedures, meteorology, basic navigation and basic English.  Student navigators went to an Air Navigation School (ANS) such as RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba or RCAF Station Summerside, PEI.  For pilots, the next step was Flying Training School (FTS) using Harvard aircraft.  Training continued on Canadair CT-133 Silver Star jet trainers, Beechcraft Expeditors, or Mitchells at an Advanced Flying School (AFS).  Training changed in 1956 when a Primary Flying Training school was opened at RCAF Station Centralia.  At Centralia, student pilots first trained on de Havilland Chipmunks and then on Harvards.  After primary training, pilots were selected to train on multi-engine aircraft or single-engine aircraft. For multi-engine aircraft, trainees went to an Advanced Flying School where they would train on Expeditors or Mitchells. For single-engine aircraft, trainees would go to one of several other Advanced Flying Schools using T-33 jet trainers.  RCAF graduate pilots would be posted to an Operational Training Unit (OTU) where they would learn to fly operational aircraft. Foreign pilot graduates would be sent home.

By 1957, many of the countries involved had their own training facilities so the program began to wind down.  Limited bilateral training continued, however, for countries unable to train their own aircrew. Two of these countries were Denmark and Norway.

Canada currently operates a similar program called NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC).  (Greenhous, Brereton; Halliday, Hugh A. Canada's Air Forces, 1914 - 1999. Montreal: Editions Art Global and the Department of National Defence, 1999) 

[2] Just before noon on 4 July 1944, a North American P-51B Mustang of the 354th Fighter Group took to the air. Wedged into a makeshift observer’s seat behind the pilot was General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied invasion force. At the controls was 40-year-old Major-General Pete Quesada.  General Eisenhower wanted to see the terrain at St. Lo for himself,” Quesada said. “I flew him around the area, getting low enough so he could see how rough the country was.” Three additional P-51s clung to Quesada’s aircraft as escorts.  Eisenhower urged Quesada to fly faster. Quesada flew the Mustang 50 miles beyond Allied lines. For 45 minutes, Eisenhower contemplated breakout plans and watched artillery flashes below. Eventually, Quesada recalled, “I started getting anxious about the fact I had the supreme commander stuffed behind me in a single-engine airplane with no parachute over enemy territory.”  Quesada brought Eisenhower back safely, though both men received reprimands for their joyride. To General Omar N. Bradley, the two looked like “sheepish schoolboys caught in a watermelon patch.” The next day, Eisenhower had to explain to his boss, General George C. Marshall, that the flight “was pure business.” (Air Force Magazine, 1 April 2003)