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The Hawker Hurricane in 3Sqn RAAF Service - Page 2

3 Squadron Hurricane (unknown serial) reportedly taken at Benina in early 1941.  Photo Ken Watts via Dick Hourigan.

The Additional Nose Camouflage

One of the intriguing aspects about the early Hurricanes used in the Middle East has always been the additional camouflage on the nose and wing leading-edges of many airframes, where the Blue sweeps from the wingroot up over the nose with Brown and/or Green mottling to break up the outline when viewed from head on.  The Blue also is carried back over the wing leading edges to a distance of roughly 12-18" with the mottle both above and below the wing.

Thirty years ago it was thought that this was a peculiarity restricted to just a few individual airframes.  However I have now seen 60+ photos of these aircraft in the service of all the Med-based Hurricane units in 1941 (3 RAAF, 33, 73, 274, 208, 451 Sqns etc) in North Africa and even some that were sent to the ill-fated RAF Expedition to Greece.  The great majority of them share a common pattern, with the light colour sweeping up over the nose [marked "1" in the drawing below], the spinner and wing leading edges the same colour ["3"], and the colour taking a peculiar upward kink forward of the wing root ["2"]. Due to the uniformity of this pattern, there must have been some local instruction ordering it's use, but no one seems to have located it yet.

This light colour appears to be Sky Blue in most cases. It is not the under-surface Sky paint, as the demarcation line between the two can be clearly seen in many photos.  There are a small number of cases where the colour appears to be darker than Sky Blue and is possibly a light Stone colour, as was postulated by some sources many years ago.  It should be noted that these are very much in the minority with most instances using Sky Blue.

The mottling that is added to break up the outline varies between airframes (every one is different), and can be in either Green or Brown (with a combination of both sometimes being shown) and can vary from a light mottle effect as per Blake Pelly's P3822 (below) applied with a spray gun, to a much cruder application obviously applied by brush per the heading photo on this page.

Study the photos carefully of your subject if you ever intend to build a model of one of these machines.


Now for a look at the schemes for a number of individual airframes:

Hurricane P3822

Photo A.Rawlinson

This is the best-photographed of the 3Sqn examples that I have. It is a typical example of the Desert Scheme of Dark Earth and Midstone, with the additional camouflage on the nose and wings. The under surfaces are not Azure Blue, which was not used till a lot later, but appear to be Sky.  This probably indicates a simple repaint of the Dark Green of the Temperate scheme with Midstone.

There is one unusual aspect - the area of Sky Blue on the nose has been modified so that it has a soft sprayed edge, much higher than usual with these schemes (see photo to left of Alan Rawlinson in the cockpit).  The Overspray on the Blue also appears to have been lightly applied with a spray gun, rather than by brush.

Hurricane Mk.I (Trop), P3822, F/Lt Blake Pelly, Benina, 26 February 1941.
Dark Earth and Midstone upper surfaces with Sky below.  Note how the Sky Blue is swept up over the nose and wing leading edges and is lightly mottled with Brown on these and the spinner.
Name PAMELA (seen on the nose in some photos) and serials are in Black.  Note that the P in the serial is overpainted by the camouflage.


Two of the above photos are from Alan Rawlinson & show him in the cockpit of P3822.  On these two and the heading photo on page 1, which was taken at the same time, the name 'PAMELA' does not seem to be below the exhaust stacks; and the paintwork is in much better condition than in the close-up of him in the cockpit above.   The remaining two photos are official ones dated 26/2/41.  The photo inside the hangar and the second of Alan's photos show clearly the demarcation between the Sky lower surfaces and the Sky Blue strip along each wing on the underneath. 
The last photo appears to show 'PAMELA' as the machine in the foreground nearest the camera.

Hurricane V7772

Photo A. Rawlinson

This is probably one of the most well-known of the 3Sqn examples, as the photo appears in many sources.  A completely standard Temperate scheme with no additional camouflage or squadron codes.  Incidentally it is the only one I have ever seen that is like this from 3Sqn (however note that V7414 on Page 4 has a lot of similarities, but with an unusual Sky spinner and odd fin flash), so it is possibly unique for that reason.

Hurricane Mk.I (Trop), V7772, F/Lt A.Rawlinson, Amiriya, 18 February 1941
Temperate camouflage of Dark Green/ Dark Earth upper-surfaces with Sky lower-surfaces.  Spinner and serials in Black. This is a typical example of the standard Temperate scheme without any modifications.
BTW:  All the Hurricanes used by 3 RAAF have the actual aerial wire stretching from the mast to the fin.  The TR9 radios that did not require the external wire had obviously not reached the Med at this stage. 

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