The Consolidated PBY Catalina

Norwegian Squadrons, RAF














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Norwegian PBY's
 
CATALINA by Nils Mathisrud

Norwegian Catalinas are divided into four sections:

No. 333 (Norwegian) Squadron, RAF

 

No. 330 (Norwegian) Squadron, RAF

 

No. 333 Squadron, RNoAF

 

Vingtor Luftveier

No. 333 (Norwegian) Squadron, RAF

 The first Norwegian Catalina unit started life on 8 February 1942 when the Norwegian Detachment of Coastal Command's No. 210 Squadron was established at Woodhaven in Scotland. Later the same month the unit received its first aircraft, a Catalina Mk.I. The purpose of this unit was to operate on the Norwegian coastline, delivering and picking up agents and equipment in cooperation with the Norwegian resistance. Between these clandestine operations the unit had secondary tasks like submarine hunting, recognision flights and convoy escort, as well as transport flights to Murmansk.

The first Catalina was named "Vingtor" and had the name and a small Norwegian service flag painted on the nose. It retained the codes, QL-R, from its previous operator, No.413 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. Two additional aircraft were assigned to the unit, "Jøssing" in arriving in September and "Viking" in March the next year. The unit had by then been established as a separate unit, given the designation No. 1477 (Norwegian) Flight. On 10 May 1943 it gained squadron status and was redesignated to No.333 (Norwegian) Squadron, being the fourth Norwegian squadron within the Royal Air Force. When the Mosquito flight was established at Leuchars, this was given the designation B Flight, while the Catalina unit at Woodheaven used the designation A Flight.

In May 1944 "Jøssing" was heavily damaged after several hits from a German U-boat. The aircraft was written off and was replaced by "Ulabrand". On subsequent replacements the four names were inherited, with Roman numerals II, III etc. added. Today the same four names adorn the noses of four 333 Sqn. P-3C Orion aircraft.

When the Germans started to withdraw from northern Norway, it became a need for transporting all sorts of supplies to the liberated but impoverished people. Thus more and more transport flights were carried out.

With the end of the war, the squadron moved home to Norway on 11 June 1945. Its first base in Norway was at Fornebu just outside Oslo. For the rebuilding the country after the occupation there was a great need for transportation of people and all sorts of equipment. To help whith the transportation needs the squadron's fleet was increased with three ex-Luftwaffe aircraft, an Arado Ar.196A-3 seaplane and two Dornier Do.24T-3 flying boats. There was also a shortage of pilots, so the Dorniers were flown by German pilots.

Since the aircraft were British property, they were returned to the RAF when the command of the squadron was handled over to Norwegian authorities.

Colours and markings

The aircraft were painted according to the spacifications for Coastal Command seaplanes. Initially the upper surfaces and fuselage sides were camouflaged Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey, with Sky undersides. From 8 October 1944 a new scheme was specified, with Extra Dark Sea Grey only on the upper surfaces, with White fuselage sides and lower surfaces. The lower surfaces should be gloss. It should be noted that some aircraft retained their two camouflage colours on the upper surfaces and that only the fuselage sides and lower surfaces were painted white.

Roundels were carried on the upper wings, but not on the lower surfaces. Both 84" and 90" diameter were used for the upper wing roundels, Type B until 2 January 1945 when it switched to Type C. The fuselage roundels were 42" in diameter, Type A1 prior to 21 May 1942, with Type C1 after. Also from this date the fin markings switched from 8" + 8" + 8" and 27" high, to 11" + 2" + 11" and 24" high.

Initially the unit's aircraft did not carry any dedicated registration code. The first aircraft assigned simply retained the codes carried by their previous users. This practice was concluded when it was decided that the aircraft should carry a single 36" high red letter. The squadron never exceeded four Catalinas in strength, and the aircraft used the registration letters A, B, C and D. At some time between late 1943 and early 1944 the number 3 was added to the single letter, before the squadron code KK was dedicated to No. 333 Squadron. In addition to the name, all aircraft carried a small Norwegian service flag on the nose. In the end of July 1945 two Catalinas (JX573/KK-B and JV933/KK-C) were used to carry a delegation including the Commander of the Armed Forces, Crown Prince Olav, on a tour along the entire Norwegian coastline. On this occation the small Norwegian service flags were replaced by much larger flags.

Consolidated Catalina Mk.I
W8424 / QL-R "Vingtor"
1477 (Norwegian) Flight RAF
Woodhaven, Scotland 1942
 

Aircraft is painted Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey over Sky. Type B roundels on the upper wings, with Type A1 fuselage roundels. The codes, remaining from its former operator, are 36" high Medium Sea Grey letters. 8" high U.S. type Night serial numbers. The name "Vingtor" is in Night.

 

Consolidated Catalina Mk.I
FP314 / A "Viking"
333 (Norwegian) Sqn. RAF
Woodhaven, Scotland 1943
 

Aircraft is painted Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey over Sky. Type B roundels on the upper wings, with Type C1 fuselage roundels. The codes are 36" high Red letters. 8" Night serial numbers. The name "Viking" is in Night. The former U.S. insignia shines through the paint on the nose.

 

Consolidated Catalina Mk.I
W8424 / 3-B "Vingtor"
333 (Norwegian) Sqn. RAF
Woodhaven, Scotland 1944
 

Aircraft has been repainted in Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey over Sky, with a slightly different camouflage pattern. Type B roundels on the upper wings, with Type C1 fuselage roundels. The codes are 36" high Medium Sea grey letters with Yellow outline. 8" high U.S. type Night serial numbers. The name "Vingtor" is in Night.

 

Consolidated Catalina Mk.I
JV933 / 3-C "Jøssing II"
333 (Norwegian) Sqn. RAF
Woodhaven, Scotland 1944
 

Aircraft is painted Extra Dark Sea Grey over White. Type B roundels on the upper wings, with Type C1 fuselage roundels. The codes are 36" high Medium Sea grey letters with Yellow outline. 8" high Red serial numbers. The name "Jøssing II" is in Night.

 

Consolidated Catalina Mk.I
JX582 / KK-A "Viking II"
333 (Norwegian) Sqn. RAF
Woodhaven, Scotland 1945
 

Aircraft is painted Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey over White (weathered to a darkish, dirty white appearance). Type C roundels on the upper wings, with Type C1 fuselage roundels. The squadron letters are 48" high with the individual letter is 36" high, all in Red. The serial number is 8" high, also in Red. The white lines in the Norwegian flag are missing. The name "Viking II" is in Night.

 

Consolidated Catalina Mk.I
JX573 / KK-B "Vingtor V"
333 (Norwegian) Sqn. RAF
Norway 1945
 

Aircraft is painted Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey over White. Type C roundels on the upper wings, with Type C1 fuselage roundels. The codes are 36" high Red letters. 8" high Red serial numbers. The service flag is approx. 830mm x 1400mm. The name "Vingtor V" is in White.

 

Consolidated Catalina Mk.I
JV933 / KK-C "Jøssing II"
333 (Norwegian) Sqn. RAF
Norway 1945
 

Aircraft is painted Extra Dark Sea Grey over White. Type C roundels on the upper wings, with Type C1 fuselage roundels. The codes are 36" high Red letters. 8" high Red serial numbers. The service flag is approx. 830mm x 1400mm. The name "Jøssing II" is in Night.

 

 

W8424 after being repainted, with code 3-B. The camoflage follows the standard pattern loosely. Upper wing Type B roundels were used until January 1945.

 
 

Typical camouflage scheme for Coastal Command Catalinas. Other aircraft have similar camouflage, some in a mirror image pattern. Upper wing Type C1 roundels were used from January 1945. The wing roundels could be 84" or 90" in diameter.

 

No. 330 Squadron, RAF

 No. 330 squadron was the first of the Norwegian squadrons within the RAF, being formed on 25 April 1941 at Corbett Camp near Reykjavik on Iceland. The squadron was initially equipped with 18 Northrop N-3PB seaplanes, ordered by the Norwegian Naval Air Arm before the war. The operational tasks were reconnaissance patrols, submarine hunting and convoy escort. Occasional ambulance flights for the local population were also carried out. In addition to the headquarters and the A Flight at Corbett Camp, two detachments were established, B Flight at Akureyri and C Flight at Budareyri.

From Coastal Commands point of view, the Northrops were not considered suitable for the operations. Neither was it practical to operate a type that was exclusive within the RAF inventory. A few months after the squadron was established, Coastal Command announced that the Northrops should be replaced by Lockheed Hudson light bombers. However, while they were waiting for the Hudsons, the Coastal Command changed their mind and decided that the squadron should get Catalina amphibians instead of the Hudsons. The RAF had received 12 PBY-5As on the Lend-Lease basis, designated Catalina Mk.IIIa by the Air Ministry. Although the intention was that 330 Squadron should receive all the 12 Catalinas, they only had six aircraft operational, with three aircraft in reserve. Thus, the squadron continued to operate six of its Northrops alongside the Catalinas.

On 1 December 1942 the squadron received a message to move from Iceland to Oban in Scotland where the personell should start training on Short Sunderland flying boats. The C Flight at continued to fly their Northrops from Budareyri until April 1943 when No. 330 Squadron was declared operative on Sunderland. Two months later the squadron moved again, to Sullom Voe on Shetland where it was based for the remaining of the war.

After the war No. 330 Squadron was reformed within the RNoAF and has been flying Republic F-84G Thunderjets fighters, Grumman UH-16B Albatross submarine hunters and is currently the Norwegian SAR squadron flying Westland Sea King Mk.43B.

Colours and markings

The Catalina Mk.IIIs were painted in the standard BuAer camouflage colours of Blue Gray M-485 over Light Gray M-495. The RAF roundels were painted over U.S. stars. Initially the aircraft carried Type A1 roundels on the nose, which were changed to Type C1 from 21 May 1942. Upon delivery the aircraft had non-standard fin flash below the tailplanes, but these were soon replaced to correct style and position. It is not certain wether the code letters were painted on the aircraft, no photos show this.

Consolidated Catalina Mk.IIIa
FP527 / O "Odin"
330 (Norwegian) Sqn. RAF
Reykjavik, Iceland 1942
 

The aircraft is painted Blue Gray M-485 over Light Gray M-495. The paint is stripped off the rear fuselage section. RAF roundels are painted on top of U.S. insignia, 108" Type B roundels on the wing upper wings and 36" Type C1 roundels on the fuselage nose. Serial number is 8" high Night on the tail and 4" on the nose. The code and name is not painted on the aircraft.

 

 

Upper wing roundels are believed to be in the standard size and position for U.S. insignia. No markings were carried on the undersurfaces of the wings.

 

No. 333 Squadron, RNoAF

 Early 1946 the squadron moved its base to Sola, near Stavanger. The main tasks became transport and SAR, with searching for mines and herring (!) as secondary tasks. A detachment was also established at Skattøra near Tromsø, to serve as support for the Norwegian stations at Spitzbergen and other Arctic outposts.

The Catalinas of 333 Squadron that had been returned to the RAF were replaced by 11 airframes purchased by the RNoAF. The aircraft were newly overhauled at Wig Bay in Scotland (RAF's maintenance unit for Catalinas), and were all of the type Boeing (Canada) Catalina Mk.IVb. Another aircraft of the same type was purchased from Vingtor Luftveier, replacing one aircraft that was withdrawn after an accident.

The Catalina flying boats were replaced by six PBY-5A amphibians that were acquired in 1953 through the US Marshall plan. One of these were destroyed by fire at Sola. The remaining five aircraft were returned to the US when the RNoAF received Grumman HU-16B Albatross in 1961.

Colours and markings

Initially the aircraft carried the standard British markings. When control of the Norwegian squadrons was handled over from Royal Air Force to the Royal Norwegian Air Force in November 1945, the new Norwegian roundel was (more or less crudely) painted over the British roundels. In addition Norwegian roundels were applied to the undersides of the wings. British serial numbers on the undersides of the wings were painted over.

From 1946 the new aircraft type codes were introduced, the letter 'K' denoting Catalina, and two individual ketters for each airframe. On both sides of the aircraft the letter 'K' was positioned to the left of the roundel, with the two individual letters on the right. This whole set of markings was positioned symetrically on both sides of the fuselage, resulting in a non-symetrical placement of the fuselage roundels. The British serial numbers on the base of the fin was retained.

In 1952 the RAF style squadron codes were reintroduced. No. 333 Squadron's code 'KK' was positioned aft of the roundel on both sides, with the individual in front, resulting in a symetrical placement of the fuselage roundels. The aircraft were painted in a dark blue upper surface colour, possibly the British colour Deep Sky. Some aircraft had their undersides painted blue as well. The RAF serial numbers were replaced with the USN Bu. Aer. Nos.

The PBY-5A amphibians delivered in 1954 were painted Glossy Sea Blue ANA 623. Otherwise these carried the same style of markings as the blue Catalina sea planes. Some amphibians had the squadron crest painted on both sides of the cockpit. Two amphibians carried day-glo orange paint on the nose, wing tops and tail area towards the end of the service.

Boeing (Canada) Catalina Mk.IVb
JX395/ K-AE
333 Sqn. RNoAF
Sola, Norway 1947
 

The aircraft is Extra Dark Sea Grey and White. Norwegian roundels originally overpainted RAF roundels. New 600mm fuselage roundels and 500mm codes overpainted previous RNoAF roundels. The tail letter is 1200mm high.

 

Boeing (Canada) Catalina Mk.IVb
JX412/ K-AK
333 Sqn. RNoAF
Sola, Norway 1950
 

The aircraft is lys grå (light grey) and hvit (white). 600mm fuselage roundels and 500mm codes.

 

Boeing (Canada) Catalina Mk.IVb
JX385/ KK-N
333 Sqn. RNoAF
Sola, Norway 1953
 

The aircraft is a British dark blue colour, possibly Deep Sky, and White. 600mm fuselage roundels and 500mm white squadron codes. Bu.Aer.No. is in white, 100mm high. The tail letter is in white, 1000mm high.

 

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina
48332/ KK-D
333 Sqn. RNoAF
Sola, Norway 1957
 

The aircraft is overall Glossy Sea Blue, ANA 623. 600mm fuselage roundels and 500mm white squadron codes. Nose letter and the last three digits of the Bu.Aer.No. are in white, 100mm high. The tail letter is in white, 1000mm high.

 

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina
46580/ KK-C
333 Sqn. RNoAF
Sola, Norway 1960
 

The aircraft is overall Glossy Sea Blue, ANA 623, with day-glo orange nose, wing tips and tail area. 600mm fuselage roundels and 500mm white squadron codes. The tail letter is in black, 1000mm high.

 

 

Upper sides of JX395 showing standard RNoAF roundel positions. The roundels are 2000mm with a 50mm wide white outline.

 

 

 

Lower sides of JX395 showing standard RNoAF roundel positions. The roundels are 2000mm. On dark surfaces the roundels will have a 50mm wide white outline.

 

Vingtor Luftveier

 In the immediate years after the end of World War 2 there were several groups of people who had served in the air force who started their own airline company. One of these companies was Vingtor Luftveier (Vingtor Airways) which was founded in the spring of 1946 in Sandefjord. One of the founders had served an a mechanic at No. 333 Squadron, this explains the choice of the name Vingtor.

During its short life, Vingtor Luftveier operated a number of interesting ex-military aircraft. The fleet included five Beechcraft UC-43 Traveller (Staggerwing), two Handley Page Halifax C Mk.8 and two Consolidated Catalina Mk.IVb.

Vingtor Luftveier had a long and hard struggle against the authorities to get the licences to fly sceduled air services. These licences were never granted, but the company got permission for taxi flying. The economy was tight all the time, and the company went into bankruptcy in July 1948.

Both Catalinas were ex-RAF aircraft built at Boeing of Canada in Vancouver, and bought from the Ministry of Supply on 4 February 1947. They were delivered from No. 57 MU and flown to Horten in May and June. JX381 was registered LN-OAP. After the closure this aircraft was sold to the air force where it served until it crashed in 1954. JX419 got the registration LN-OAR and had an even more unkind fate. It crashed already in August 1947, but with no loss of crew and passengers.

Colours and markings

Vingtor Luftveier's company colours were dark red with cream titles and markings. The exact hues are not known. A cheatline with an eagle's or dragon's head adorned the fuselage on several of the aircraft, at lear the bigger types like Catalina and Halifax.

Boeing (Canada) Catalina Mk.IVb
JX419 / LN-OAR
Vingtor Luftveier
Fornebu, Norway 1947
 

The aircraft is dark red with cream undersides of hull and wingtip floats. All markings are in cream.

 

 

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Taken from http://vingtor.net/profiles_content.html