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20210822 (4)_633_Squadron_Fairey_Battle_I

Prior to the first volume of F E Smith’s excellent detailed history, which begins when “633 Squadron took over its new base at Sutton Craddock ….” and ends, as Sqn Ldr Adams puts it in the prologue, “….among the Focke-Wulfs and flak of the Black Fjord”, details of this unique elite unit are scarce. The Royal Air Force Museum (RAFM), with better access and technical researchers than most, has put together a short summary of what is known, which begins as follows:

“No.633 Squadron formed in October 1937 as part of 2 Group, Bomber Command, equipped with Fairey Battle light bomber aircraft. It was sent to France to support the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force. During the invasion of France and the Low Countries it fought hard, attacking armoured columns and other tactical targets to slow the German advance. By late May 1940, the squadron was so depleted that its remains were absorbed into other Battle squadrons, effectively disbanding the unit.


The squadron was reformed in June 1940, flying Bristol Blenheims.”

This does not seem an auspicious start (reading the auspices for any Fairey Battle unit could not be other than grim: it was obsolete soon after its introduction to service and must surely only have been sent into action because there was literally nothing else to send.)

My 633 Squadron Fairey Battle I depicts an aircraft during the Battle of France in May 1940 and for an eventual airfield diorama I have conflated the book character of Canadian (according to me, then Sgt) Gillibrand as pilot with the event at the start of the film 633 Squadron where Australian Flight Lieutenant Gillibrand inspects the shot-up tail of his Mosquito and remarks to his navigator: “Hardly touched us!”

According to some sources Battles during the Battle of France had an average life of no more than 13 sorties. While researching this model I looked at a lot of photographs and I know no other aircraft type in which so much of the published material is of crashed aircraft.

Kit: Classic Airframes Fairey Battle.

This completes my project to model the fictional 633 Squadron’s aircraft from formation to disbandment according to the RAFM history, though I may still create some more Mosquitos with different marks and schemes featured in the books: borrowed aircraft include BIV Highball conversions and one high-altitude NFXV, plus a few special schemes.


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Taken on August 22, 2021