JN803, No. 486 (RNZAF) Squadron, No. 122 Wing, B.80 Volkel, the Netherlands, October 1944
One of the earliest Tempest Mk.V Series 2 aircraft was delivered to No. 486 (RNZAF) Squadron at RAF Newchurch on May 17,
1944. It was flown throughout the campaign against the V-1 flying bombs, by many different pilots. It is believed that the 26 kill
markings relate to claims made by pilots flying the aircraft rather than claims by any one pilot. This total makes JN803 one of
the most successful Tempests against the V-1. At the end of September 1944 the Newchurch Tempests left No. 150 Wing and flew
to join No. 122 Wing at B.60 Grimbergen in Belgium and month later to the newly captured B.80 Volkel in the Netherlands. JN803
was often flown by F/O ‘Jack’ Stafford, who had shot down 4 of the V-1s on its scoreboard. In December 1944 it was issued to
No. 3 Squadron. However, the aircraft was lost in combat on December 30, 1944, when shot down by Bf 109s of IV./JG 27, its pilot
captured and murdered by a security officer at Rheine airfield.
Tempest in the standard camouflage, so called Day Fighter Scheme, sports only partial recognition markings in the form of black
and white “invasion” stripes. Their application on the wing and fuselage upper surfaces was discontinued by the order dated
September 10, 1944. The V-1 kill markings are painted under the windshield on the fuselage starboard.
NV994, F/Lt Pierre Clostermann, No. 3 Squadron, No. 122 Wing, B. 112 Hopsten, Germany, April 1945
The first of F/Lt Pierre Clostermann’s famous No. 3 Squadron Tempest, ‘JF-E’ was NV994, collected from No. 83 Group Support
Unit, RAF Dunsfold while No. 3 Sqn were at the Armament Practice Camp, RAF Warmwell. After a ten-day break from operations to practice their gunnery technique and practice bombing, the squadron flew to a new base in Germany, B.112 Hopsten, on
April 18, 1945. No 3. Squadron would not get chance to try its bombing skills on operations before the end of the war – less than
three weeks away. Photos taken on April 18, 1945 show that NV994 was not marked with Clostermann’s ‘scoreboard’ nor the
name ‘Le Grand Charles’ at that time.
NV994, S/Ldr Pierre Clostermann, No. 3 Squadron, No. 122 Wing, B.152 Fassberg, Germany, June 1945
Another photo, at No. 3 Sqn’s next station, B.152 Fassberg, probably very soon after VE-Day, shows the only change at that time may have been
the addition of the famous red spinner. This was unlikely to have been added during hostilities as, following many misidentification incidents
and attacks by Allied aircraft, 2nd TAF had very strict rules on markings; spinners were invariably painted black.Later in May, No. 3 Sqn added
their unit badge (a cockatrice on a monolith, representing an early flying creature and Stonehenge, which was near their first base) to all
their Tempests and Clostermann decorated NV994 with his scoreboard (including some kills which he had been able to confirm after the war
finished) and the name ‘Le Grand Charles’ in honour of General Charles de Gaulle. He flew this aircraft through June 1945 and took it to B.160
Kastrup, near Copenhagen. A big air display for the Danish people was planned for the July 1, 1945 and went ahead despite bad weather. Clostermann flew JF-E NV994 in a formation flypast but was unable to land at Kastrup due the bad weather.
He managed to land at nearby Vaerlose, a smaller grass airfield but NV994 was damaged
in an accident (nature unknown).
INFO Eduard - November 2021