JN862, No. 3 Squadron, No. 150 Wing, RAF Newchurch, Great Britain, June 1944
Following a very successful tour with No. 609 Squadron, flying Typhoons in which he was credited with 6 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air,
and a short spell as a gunnery instructor, F/Lt Remi ‘Mony’ Van Lierde, a Belgian national, joined No. 3 Squadron as B flight commander. His
first allocated Tempest was JN736 JF-Z, a Mk.V Series 1 but when this was lost on operations on May 27, 1944, (when flown by another pilot)
Van Lierde was able to acquire a new ‘Z’, a Mk.V Series 2 Tempest, JN862, which was his chosen mount through most of the campaign against
the V-1. Van Lierde became the highest scoring pilot against the V-1 by day and was credited with 35 destroyed plus a further 9 shared with
other pilots; 30 of these claims were made while flying JN862. Unfortunately, on August 4, 1944, Van Lierde had to make a landing with only
one wheel down, and although he managed to achieve this with minimal damage, the aircraft was unavailable for some time due the resulting
repair work. Van Lierde took a new ‘Z’, EJ557, and when JN862 was returned to the squadron it became JF-Q.
On June 5, 1944, the aircraft which were to participate in the operation Overlord (Normandy landing), received gaudy markings in the form of
eighteen inches wide black and white stripes applied to the wing and fuselage. Ground personnel also painted the lower part of the landing
gear covers in white. The unusual stripes on the spinner are believed to be the Belgian national colours – black (foremost), yellow and red.
NV708, W/Cdr John C. Button DSO, DFC, CO of No. 123 Wing, RAF Station Wunstorf, Germany, 1946/47
Having seen wartime service with No. 33 Squadron as ‘5R-T’, NV708 was chosen by W/Cdr J. C. Button, as his personal aircraft,
when No. 123 Wing was reorganised as a Tempest wing early in 1946. NV708 was sprayed in all-over Aluminium finish and had
a half black/half white spinner as previously seen on his wartime Typhoon ‘ZIPP XI’. His initials, JCB’ and the name ‘ZIPP XII’
were in white, thinly outlined in black. Button is known to have flown a Typhoon marked ‘ZIPP XII’ (see Eduard kit No. 11117) and is
thought to have marked his Tempest as ‘XII’ so as to avoid unlucky ‘XIII’.
Button’s successor, W/Cdr P. P. Hanks DSO, DFC, also used NV708, wearing his initials ‘PPH’ and Type C roundels replaced by
Type D. In April 1948, as the last operational Tempest Mk.V squadron (No. 3) began re-equipment with Vampire jets, NV708 was
flown back to the UK and stored at No. 6 Maintenance Unit, Brize Norton, where it was stored until sold for scrap in February
EJ865, No. 80 Squadron, No. 123 Wing, RAF Station Wunstorf, Germany, October 1947
EJ865 was allocated to No. 485 Squadron, which was attempting to convert from Spitfires to Tempests. The conversion had to be
abandoned due insufficient Tempests available and by early April 1945 EJ865 was with No. 274 Squadron as ‘JJ-B’. It remained
with this squadron until the unit was renumbered as No. 174 Squadron in October 1945, retaining the unit codes and yellow lightning flash which all No. 274 Squadron aircraft now carried. With the steady reduction of squadrons in BAFO, No. 174 Squadron
was disbanded in March 1946 and EJ865 was transferred to No. 80 Squadron.
No. 80 Sqn used traditional flight colours on its Tempests, red for A flight and blue for B flight, the latter colour appearing on
EJ865’s spinner, long-range tanks, background of the fin badge and the small ‘Y’ on the intake dust-filter. The lightning flash was
also retained but now in red outlined in yellow, as was the personal marking – ‘?’ on the side of the intake.
In January 1948 No. 80 Squadron’s ageing Tempests were replace by new Spitfire F.24s and EJ865 was flown back to the UK and
stored at No. 6 Maintenance Unit, Brize Norton, where it was stored for two years before being sold for scrap.
INFO Eduard - November 2021