Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bf 109 E-3 'White 1' - AE479

I have recently come across some photographs that are particularly interesting for me from a local history point of view. Living in Farnborough, home of the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), I have always been aware of the important role carried out by the RAE during the Second World War for its aviation research and development history, but until a recent visit to the FAST museum in Farnborough, I have not really looked into the aircraft that were captured and tested there. So after some digging I thought I would post some brief information that I have found. 
Below are some photos of a Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 known as 'White 1' of the 1. Staffel of JG 76. This aircraft was captured by the French on 22 November 1939 after Feldwebel Karl Hier was forced down after combat between Hornsburg and Bitche. Hier force-landed 'White 1' at Goersdorf, near Woerth and the aircraft was soon repaired and evaluated by the French at the Centre d' Essais en Vol at Orleans-Bricy. This aircraft was then given to the RAF at Amiens in May 1940, where it was flown by Flying Officer Eric Brown of No.1 Squadron in mock combat with a Hurricane and a Curtiss Hawk. White 1 was subsequently transferred to Boscombe Down for initial flight tests and then moved to the RAE Farnborough for additional tests and evaluation on 14 May 1940. It was in Farnborough that White 1 was given the serial number AE479. On 13 June 1940, famous fighter ace 'Sailor' Malan (No.74 Sqn) flew this 109 over Farnborough to test its performance. I believe Bob Stanford Tuck (No.92 Sqn) also flew AE479 over the RAE to compare it to the RAF's own fighters. This aircraft was eventually shipped to the USA on 7 April 1942 but it crashed during a test flight in November that same year and was finally scrapped at Chanute Field on 26 November 1942.

Down near Woerth
White 1 captured in France
White 1 with RAF roundels and british serial number
In flight


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