In Color Veritas

The Art of Rui Candeias

Rui Candeias lives in Portugal and is a former Marine Biologist and self-taught digital colorizer with a special interest in military history.  His digital colorization work comes after a 15 year career in biology and conservation genetics, and is the result of a career change into art, whereby he can dedicate time to his old passion — history.

He has spent the last eight years developing and perfecting his own techniques of digitally repairing and coloring photographic documents of historical interest.  His goal is to be as accurate as possible and thus Rui makes uses of his experience as a scientific researcher and 30 years of accumulated historical knowledge in his work, carefully research the precise colors of each aircraft and setting to ensure the maximum accuracy possible.  He begins with black and white photos, many with a Portuguese connection, and then works tirelessly to add color and render as near to true color as possible, taking as few liberties as possible with the images.

Among his other personal projects, he is currently working as a freelance photo colorizer and is also involved in several projects in collaboration with private and public entities for the research and promotion of history subjects and articles to the general public.  The quality of his work, which includes many aviation subjects, speaks for itself — along with his many delightful histories and captions that endorse each work, as below.


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Julian Mamet standing next to his Bleriot XI
Julian Mamet standing next to his Bleriot XI

The famed French aviator Julian Mamet beside his Bleriot XI about to attempt what would become the first successful flight over Portuguese territory.  The flight, which took place on April 27, 1910, was from Belém’s aerodrome in Lisbon.

Following Mamet’s flight, a series of Portuguese aviators successfully flew over Portuguese territory:

On the 27th of September, 1912, Alberto Sanches de Castro not only did four successful flights on the outskirts of Lisbon but survived a hard landing when his aircraft, a Voisin Antoinette 40cv, lost altitude and landed near a farm.  After landing, he was assisted by Dora Lehrfeld, the daughter of Dr. Teodoro Lehrfeld, who was German industrialist and the land’s owner.  With this flight, he proved that if love is not in the air it can always fall from the skies.  The two fell in love and they later married.

Original from AML (PT/AMLSB/JBN/002769)


French Nieuport Type 17 Pursuit Plane
French Nieuport Type 17 Pursuit Plane

During the Great War, France produced some of the most advanced aircraft in the world.  One such machine was the Nieuport Type 17 fighter plane.  With many variants, it equipped fighter units of all the major allied nations until the arrival of the less nimble, yet more powerful French SPAD VII arrived on the Front in 1917.

The French aces, Guynemer and René Fronk (the all time allied ace of aces in the Great War); the British ace, Edward “Mick” Mannock; the American ace, Eddie Rickenbacker; the Italian ace, Francesco Baracca; and the Russian ace, A. Kozakov, all flew Nieuports at one point in their careers, downing many enemy fighters.

This photo shows a Nieuport Type 17 (the most widely used variant) in French markings at Langley Field, Virginia, during 1917.  Next to the aircraft stand US Capt. J. C. Bartolf and French Lt. Emmanuel Le Maitre.  The latter had arrived as part of a 12-man French Aviation mission on June 19, 1917, to help introduce the aircraft to the American military. From late 1917 to August 1918, Lt. Le Maitre served as a flight instructor at the airfields at Forth Worth before returning to France.

Original from Library of Congress.


1st Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker with his SPAD XIII
1st Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker with his SPAD XIII

With 26 victories to his credit, the Commander of the 94th Aero Squadron, Capt Eddie Rickenbacker, was America’s top scoring ace of the Great War.  He achieved victories #7 through #26 twenty-six in this very aircraft, a Kellner-built SPAD XIII carrying the tail number of S4523.

On September 25, 1918, Rickenbacker sent one of five Fokker D VIIs down out of control, and then shot down one of the two Halberstadt two-seat reconnaissance planes that they were escorting. For this action he was belatedly awarded the Medal of Honor on 6 November 1930.

The US Army Air Service (USAS) received its first French built SPAD XIIIs in March 1918.  By the end of the war, fully 893 of them had been delivered to fifteen USAS squadrons fighting along the Front in Europe. Most of these were painted in a French five-color camouflage scheme.  The small white dots on the canvas of Rickenbacker’s SPAD XIII are bullet hole patches, testifying to the many close calls he had experienced in combat over the Front.

Photo taken at Rembercourt, France, on 18 October 1918.

Original from the US Army.


Royal Navy Fairey Swordfish Torpedo Plane
Royal Navy Fairey Swordfish Torpedo Plane

A Swordfish Mk. I of 820 Naval Air Squadron flies over the British aircraft-carrier HMS ‘Ark Royal’ sometime during 1939.  This type of plane was involved in the epic hunt for the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser (also known as a pocket battleship) Prinz Eugen, between the 22nd and the 27th of May 1941.  The engagement is a well-documented sea battle marked by the sinking of the pride of the Royal Navy, the Heavy Cruiser, HMS Hood, with the loss of all but three of her crew.

Despite the many exchanges of gunfire between the two German ships and the Royal Navy, in the end it was one single torpedo launched by a flimsy Swordfish Mk. I that sealed the mighty Bismarck’s fate.

In rapidly deteriorating weather, a flight of Swordfish planes took off from HMS Ark Royal at 14:30 on May 26. Unfortunately, no one had told them that HMS Sheffield was in the same area as the Bismarck, fourteen of the Swordfish attacked the British Cruiser instead, fortunately causing no damage. After re-fueling and re-arming on the other British carrier that was in the battle group,  HMS Victorious, the planes took off again for another go.

Soon after 19:40, the 15 Swordfish biplanes finally sighted and attacked the Bismarck. Launching their torpedoes, they scored two definite hits and one probable.  In an amazing strike of luck, one of the torpedoes did considerable damage to the battleship’s starboard propeller, wrecking her steering gear and jamming her rudders.

Against all odds, the attack had crippled the Bismarck, which was only able to sail only in circles. During the night that followed, the wounded giant was continuously harassed by British destroyers.  At dawn, at 08:47 on May 27, the battleships, HMS Rodney and HMS King George V opened fire on the Bismarck. By 10:10, the Bismarck was dead in the water. Thereafter, HMS Dorsetshire was ordered to sink the Bismarck with torpedoes.  At 10:40, she finally sank, and only 115 of her crew of 2,200 survived.

Original Image Source: Royal Navy


Spitfire Mk. I of No. 19 Squadron
Spitfire Mk. I of No. 19 Squadron

The 9th production Spitfire Mk. I (K9795) in the markings of No. 19 Squadron as used when stationed at Duxford.  This photograph is from Autumn 1938 while flown by Sqn/Ldr Henry Cozens. This Mk. I still has the wooden, two-blade, fixed-pitch propeller, an early ‘unblown’ canopy and ‘wraparound’ windscreen without the bulletproof glass plate.

At the time, squadron letters had not yet been assigned to camouflaged aircraft and No. 19 Squadron temporarily used a white-painted ’19’ on the tail as its own distinctive marking.  These numbers appear to have only been used for a short period during 1938.

Note that the first Spitfire to enter operational service with the RAF was K9789: it started his career also with No. 19 Squadron on August 4, 1938.

Source IWM (CH27)


The Daring Luftwaffe Raid on Chad
The Daring Luftwaffe Raid on Chad

Theo Blaich was a wealthy German plantation owner and adventurer living in Africa.  When World War II started, he reported for service with the Luftwaffe. In January 1942, Hauptmann Blaich compiled a report explaining the strategic importance of Fort Lamy, Chad (today that nation’s capital city, and known as N’Djamena).  He considered Fort Lamy to be a key point in the so-called “Takoradi air reinforcement route” across Africa.  In fact, it was a vital supply depot for Free French and LRDG operations at that time.  Blaich ended his report suggesting the capture of Fort Lamy or, if not that, then at least the bombing of the Allied base there.

In Germany, his report was read with bewilderment by the top brass.  Most deemed the idea impossible. Eventually, however, the report reached the hands of Rommel himself, who decided to authorize Blaich to create what would later be known as the Sonderkommando Blaich and try the 5000 km raid with just a single Heinkel He 111 H-6 medium bomber.

The raid was planned in stages with the support of the Italian Air Force, with personal support from Maggiore (Major) Ottaviano Vimercati-Sanseverino, a count and well-known desert explorer, plus a Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 that was to carry spare fuel.

The enterprise started from the Italian airfield near the 11th Century caravan trade center of Sabha in southern Libya.  From there the He 111 departed south on January 20, 1942, followed by Blaich in his personal Messerschmitt Bf 108 (a two-seat type of Messerschmitt that was commonly used for training and utility roles). Sanseverino followed in the SM.81. The three planes would rendezvous at Campo Uno, a flat extension of desert with a firm surface that had been discovered by Sanseverino in 1935.

At 8:00 am on January 21, 1942, topped with 5000 liters of fuel and 16 bombs (each weighing 50 Kg), the He 111 took off alone for the final 12 hour flight to Fort Lamy.  Incredibly and against all odds, the bomber reached Fort Lamy, arriving at 2:00 pm.  It dropped its bombs over the aviation fuel depot and managed to destroy 400,000 liters of aviation fuel, which amounted to fully one sixth of the total fuel stored at the base.

Leaving behind a towering cloud from the burning fuel, the He 111 flew back north, intent on returning to Campo Uno.  However, after four hours aloft, and with only half an hour of fuel left on board, the crew realized that they would never reach the improvised forward base. The sun had already set but in the twilight hour, the pilot somehow managed to land his plane between a pair of mountains, finding a flat piece of desert.  He was just 125 km southwest of Campo Uno.

The crew had rations for six days but only 20 liters of water, hardly enough for the six man flight crew.  Realizing immediately the desperate nature of their situation, the next day the crew erected an aerial radio antenna to call for assistance.  After an entire day broadcasting, the signal still had no reply.

Two days later, on January 23, they finally managed to hear a weak reply from the Italians at Agedabia, a base located approximately 1000 km north of their position.  With news of the plane’s whereabouts, a search began in earnest for the missing Heinkel.  However, the weather worsened and radio contact was again lost.

Four more days of blisteringly hot days and freezing nights went by. Finally, at 5:00 pm on January 27, Blaich distributed the last ration of water to his crew.  The following morning, one of the crew members, Geissler, was carving his name on a flat stone ‘so that people could know to whom these white bones in the desert belonged’ when the faint sound of an engine was heard.  Soon afterward, an Italian Caproni Ca.309 “Ghibli” flew into view.

The Caproni landed and the Italian flight crew jumped from their aircraft carrying flasks of precious water for the crew.  Later that day, after establishing their position, the Italians took off back to Campo Uno, planning to return the next morning with help.

When the Germans heard of the Italians’ find, they sent a Ju 52 from Wüstennotstaffel 1 (Desert Rescue Squadron) to rescue the crew.  The plane arrived at the landing site early the next day with extra fuel and a much needed breakfast of hot coffee and sausages.

Although the raid itself achieved some results, the enterprise plus the rescue were propaganda gold for the Luftwaffe.  Perhaps as a result, Leutnant Dettmann, a Luftwaffe war correspondent who had been part of the flight crew, was the only one of those involved who was given an award.  He received the German Cross in Gold on March 16, 1942.

Having returned to Sabha, around January 30, 1942, a grainy photograph was taken of the six men and their airplane.  From left to right:  Feldwebel Geissler, flight engineer; Leutnant Dettmann, the correspondent; Hauptmann Blaich, leader; Maggiore Vimercati-Sanseverino, Italian pilot; Leutnant Bohnsack, He 111 pilot; and Unteroffizier Wichmann.

Photograph Source: ECPAd


Ofw. Eberhard von Boremski and "Yellow 4" of 9./JG 3 "Udet" heads to the Eastern Front
Ofw. Eberhard von Boremski and “Yellow 4” of 9./JG 3 “Udet” heads to the Eastern Front

Bf 109 F-4 “Yellow 4” of 9./JG 3 “Udet”, at the time flown by fighter ace pilot, Ofw. Eberhard von Boremski, shown when photographed in early May 1942.  Possibly this image was taken when the unit was still undergoing refit at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Germany, shortly before it was transferred back to the Eastern Front. Alternatively, the photograph may have been taken soon after deployment when the unit arrived at Chuhuiv Airfield, near Kharkov.

Sadly, the rudder with its 43 kill markings is out of the photographer’s frame.  Von Boremski had just received the Ritterkreuz (Knight’s Cross) for his expertise flying, receiving the award on May 3, 1942. In all, he flew 630 missions during the war and by the end of hostilities, he was credited with the extraordinary total of 104 kills.

In May of 1942, 9./JG 3 received 32 new Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4s. It is thought that these aircraft were originally scheduled for delivery and service in North Africa, and thus the upper surfaces were painted in RLM 79 Sandgelb (sand yellow) and the under surfaces were painted in RLM 78 Hellblau (light blue). In an attempt to adapt the camouflage scheme to the Russian front, additional colours were added.  This created a unique camouflage scheme that was only used either by 9./JG3, or possibly by the whole III Gruppe of JG 3 (records are not clear). The additional colors are thought to have been RLM 70 (dark green) and RLM 75 (grey violet).


Leutnant Hermann Graf is the first to score 200 kills
Leutnant Hermann Graf is the first to score 200 kills

One of a series of three photos showing 9./JG 52 ace, Leutnant Hermann Graf, accompanied by a Wehrmacht soldier on an unidentified airfield said to be somewhere on the southern sector of the Eastern Front during the Spring/Summer offensive of 1942. If the dates are correct, then,the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 that stands behind them is not Graf’s usual mount. As Staffelführer or Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader), normally he flew “Yellow 1”.  Therefore, this is a different aircraft based on the rounded top of what little we can see of the fuselage identification number. If the dates are wrong and this photo was taken earlier, during the late summer of 1941, then it is possible that this is one of those he may have flown at the time.

Hermann Graf was the first pilot in aviation history to achieve 200 aerial victories when, on the September 26, 1942, he shot down three Soviet airplanes in one day, thus reaching the mark of 202 kills.  It is thought that on that day he flew “Yellow 11” instead of “Yellow 1”.  In most aviation history circles, Graf’s name is associated with the previous machine, but the fact is that most of his victories were marked on the tail of “Yellow 1”, independent of which aircraft he flew when he scored his kills.

After a number of assignments in Germany between 1942 and 1944, in September 1944, Hermann Graf returned to his old unit, this time as “Kommodore” of JG 52. There he remained until the end of the war.  He amassed a final tally of 212 aerial victories, ten of which were in the West against four-engine heavy bombers.

According to several published sources, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4s of 9./JG 52 were painted in different patterns of RLM 74/75/76. Weathering, dust, sunlight, shadows and reflections, have been all taken into consideration in the preparation of this colorized photograph.


Guy Gibson, the Dambuster
Guy Gibson, the Dambuster

Wing Commander Guy Gibson (at center), Commanding Officer of No. 106 Squadron RAF, standing with his two Flight Commanders, Squadron Leader J H Searby (left) and Squadron Leader P Ward-Hunt (right), at Syerston, Nottinghamshire, upon the date of the completion of Gibson’s tour of duty with the Squadron in March 1943.

Guy Gibson would later become famous for leading 19 especially modified AVRO Lancasters from 617 Squadron in the famous “Dambusters” raid known as “Operation Chastise” on the night of May 18, 1943.  The mission targeted the Moehne, Eder, Sorpe, and Schwelm Dams in the Ruhr, the industrial heart of Germany, thereby flooding large areas of the river valley.

When Guy Gibson was posted to form 617 Squadron in March of 1943, a squadron raised especially for the raid, it was John Searby who took Gibson’s place as CO of 106 Squadron.  Later appointed CO of 83 Sqn, Searby would lead the also famous Peenemünde Raid of August 1943. For his role on that raid Searby would be awarded the D.F.C.

The aircraft behind them is Gibson’s Lancaster B Mk.I “Admiral Prune II”.  He first flew Lancaster W-4118 which also featured nose art of Mickey Mouse and was the first “Admiral Prune”.  On February 5, 1943, with another crew on board, W-4118 went missing after an engine fire near Dijon, France. Another Lancaster, ED-593, then became Gibson’s aircraft, as shown in the photograph.

Although this photograph is usually associated with the Dambusters Raid by the media, of the three man depicted, only Gibson actually took part in that operation.

Original: IWM (HU 91942)


Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat landing on Tarawa
Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat landing on Tarawa

An F6F-3 Hellcat from the US Navy’s VF-1 squadron takes off from Tarawa Airfield on Betio Island. In the foreground the wreckage of a Mitsubishi A6M2 ‘Zero’ can be seen, as the Japanese had used the airfield until the Battle of Tarawa, on November 23-25, 1943.

Immediately after the battle, Tarawa Airfield was repaired and expanded for use by American forces. It was renamed “Hawkins Field” in honor of Marine 1st Lt. William Dean Hawkins who was killed in the battle and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The airfield was used by fighters, light aircraft, medium bombers, and for emergency landings.

As a colorization note on this photograph, the under-surface of the wreckage of the Japanese ‘Zero’ should be in light grey.  However, given the strong shadows and proximity to the ground, colorization only included added sand and dust, and reflections of the ground beneath.

Original: USMC


Canadian pilots Jeff Northcott and Lloyd Chadburn with the "City of Winnipeg"
Canadian pilots Jeff Northcott and Lloyd Chadburn with the “City of Winnipeg”

Spitfire Mk.V EP120 “City of Winnipeg” with Squadron Leader Jeff Northcott on the left and another famous Canadian pilot, Lloyd Chadburn on the right. Lloyd Chadburn would fly this aircraft prior to his death in action near Caen, France, on June 13, 1944. He was just 24 years old at the time of his death in action.

Note the two recently painted “kill markings” on the side of the aircraft. These represent the last two Messerschmitt Bf 109s that Northcott shot down while flying this very aircraft, EP120.  One was downed on October 3, 1943, and the other just a month later November 3, 1943.

Photo Source: D. Hatcher

Spitfire Mk.V EP120 “City of Winnipeg” with Squadron Leader Jeff Northcott on the left and another famous Canadian pilot, Lloyd Chadburn on the right. Lloyd Chadburn would fly this aircraft prior to his death in action near Caen, France, on June 13, 1944. He was just 24 years old at the time of his death in action.

Note the two recently painted “kill markings” on the side of the aircraft. These represent the last two Messerschmitt Bf 109s that Northcott shot down while flying this very aircraft, EP120.  One was downed on October 3, 1943, and the other just a month later November 3, 1943.

Photo Source: D. Hatcher


Free French Dewoitine D.520s in Summer 1944
Free French Dewoitine D.520s in Summer 1944

Three Free French Air Force Dewoitine D.520s flying over southern France, probably in late Summer 1944.  The Dewoitine D.520 was the French Air Force’s best single engine fighter at the outbreak of WWII. Slightly slower than the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, it was more maneuverable and available in greater numbers.  The fighter could have caused a lot of trouble for the Luftwaffe, but as it happened, only 34 of the 246 D.520s that had been produced by May 1940 were among the 609 front line fighters available to face the 3500 Luftwaffe aircraft.  The French rushed as many as possible into the front line units, but nothing could be done to turn the tide of the ground war, with the German Wehrmacht engaged in a Blitzkrieg offensive that rapidly overran or bypassed French fortress and wall static defenses.

By the end of the French Campaign, of the 437 that had been built, 106 had been lost in combat.  In turn, the D.520s claimed 108 kills and 39 probable in exchange, which was among the best records in aerial combat at the time against the vaunted Luftwaffe.

After the Fall of France, the surviving Dewoitine D.520s were used by German, Italian, Bulgarian and Vichy air forces and saw combat against the Allies in Italy, the Eastern Front, North Africa, and Syria.

In Summer 1944, the Allies invaded the south of France and rapidly moved north.  A number of D.520s that were still in use by the Germans as training aircraft were captured.  These formed the foundation of two fighter-bomber groups that started the new Free French Air Force.  The planes were organized into two units — GCB II/18 ‘Saintonge’ and GCB I/18 ‘Vendée’.

Still wearing German camouflage, the three Dewoitine D.520s in the photograph were once again flying with French colors and markings.  Both groups flew in support of FFI units in southern France and later against the German Atlantic pockets.


Captured P-47D "Razorback" Thunderbolt with the Beute-Zirkus Rosarius
Captured P-47D “Razorback” Thunderbolt with the Beute-Zirkus Rosarius

With propeller removed, a recaptured P-47D “Razorback” Thunderbolt rests peacefully in a German hangar at Göttingen, on April 9, 1945.  A US Army serviceman poses beside the plane.

This P-47D Thunderbolt was formerly known as “Ruthless Ruthie”, and was captured in Italy when the pilot, Lt Lloyd S. “Scotty” Hathcock, from the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, 12th Air Force (one of the USAAF four African-American fighter Squadrons fighting in Europe), got lost during a ferry mission.  Unluckily, he landed at the enemy-held field at Rome-Littorio on May 29, 1944.

The plane was then test flown by the Luftwaffe at Rechlin and coded “8+6”. It was later transferred to the “Beute-Zirkus Rosarius” on October 12, 1944, and flown as T9+LK.  To aid in identification in the skies, the tail was painted a bright yellow.  Notably, it is thought that T9+LK flew several reconnaissance flights over England a few days prior to D-Day.

“Beute-Zirkus Rosarius” (Rosarius’ Booty-Circus) was the name given to the 2.Staffel of the “Versuchverband Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe” (Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief’s Research Unit) after its commanding officer, who was named Ted Rosarius.

This special unit was divided into three Staffels, each with individual roles.  1.Staffel was involved in long range reconnaissance missions; 2.Staffel operated captured Allied fighters in a training role, and 3.Staffel carried out experimental and test flights with captured equipment (including a Vought F4U-1 Corsair delivered by submarine from Japan in August 1944).

Beute-Zirkus Rosarius also conducted salvage operations all over occupied Europe.  These operations were undertaken to such an extent that there was never a lack of spare parts, ammo, lubricants, and even allied fuel for the 20 odd fighters that the three Staffels kept operating until the end of the war.

In the background, on the right, can be seen a captured North American P-51D Mustang (LH-N 44-14687 of the 350th FS, 353rd FG, lost on 24 March 45; the pilot, Lt. Carl A. Larsen, was taken prisoner), and on the back upper left corner can be seen the fuselage of a British Mosquito.

Original: US Army


"Hunting for Swallows", a captured Me 262 jet fighter
“Hunting for Swallows”, a captured Me 262 jet fighter

As the Allied armies advanced deeper into Germany, the soon-to-be winners started worrying more and more about the post-war period and the potential rivalries that many felt would likely soon emerge with the Soviet Union. To assure supremacy, special teams were quickly deployed by all sides, each hoping to be the first, and if possible the only ones, to get their hands on some of Germany’s most advanced research, weaponry, and top scientific personnel.

The US Army Air Force’s Air Technical Intelligence (ATI) Division had at the top of its priority targets the Messerschmitt Me 262, nicknamed ‘Schwalbe’ (Swallow) in its fighter variant.  By May of 1945 Germany’s defeat was just a matter of time and the ATI was hard at work.

Intelligence reports indicated that several Me 262s had been spotted on an airfield in Bavaria, just south of Augsburg at the Lechfeld airbase, which was the home base for the main Messerschmitt factory.  ATI Colonel Harold E. Watson sent a priority request throughout the theater of operations to assemble a small group of volunteers, drawn from the most capable pilots and mechanics available.

As the new team members filtered in, they were assigned to the project and informed of their highly classified mission to locate a squadron’s complement of the Luftwaffe’s most advanced jet aircraft, learn how to operate and maintain them, and stand by for orders to fly them out of Germany.

When one of Watson’s men, Lt R. C. Strobell, arrived at Lechfeld, he was relieved to see that a small group of Americans had preceded to the field, which was already in Allied possession. These men, from the 54th Air Disarmament Squadron, had arrived in the area a few weeks earlier with orders to preserve and safeguard as many Me 262s as possible. A week prior to Strobell’s arrival, the last of eight airworthy 262s had been test flown, and two more were awaiting engines.

The 54th ADS men were quick to make their mark upon the project by painting conspicuous names on the left side each of these airplanes. The right side of each jet bore their unofficial squadron name, reflecting their constant squabbling: the “Feudin’ 54th”.

The aircraft in this photo (V083), ‘Wilma Jean’, mounted a 50 mm cannon.  It was a Me 262 A-1a/U4 prototype, designed as a bomber interceptor.

Unfortunately, on June 30, during a ferry flight, one of the plane’s engines began shedding turbine blades and the resultant vibration caused a tail planes to malfunction.  This placed the jet into an uncontrollable dive. The pilot, Ludwig Hofmann (a former Luftwaffe’s Me 262 test pilot), managed to bail out and deploy his parachute before blacking out.  He survived the event, suffering several contusions and severe bruising from “head to toe”.

Of the original eight Me 262 in existence worldwide today, four of them were from those rescued by ATI and the “Feudin’ 54th”.

"Não Faz Mal!" (It matters not!)
“Não Faz Mal!” (It matters not!)

A Portuguese P-38G Lightning photographed beside a P-39 and P-400 Airacobra of OK Squadron, stationed at OTA airbase.  These were originally USAAF aircraft that force landed in Portuguese territory and were subsequently interned. The P-39s belonged to two USAAF fighter groups that landed in Portugal on their way to North Africa in December 1942 and February 1943. After the internment, the Portuguese government offered to buy the aircraft for $20,000 each, which the US accepted, even offering crates with four other aircraft that had already been used in combat.  However, the USAAF provided no maintenance manuals or spare parts.

The P-38G was one of two aircraft (the other a P-38F) that had belonged to the USAAF’s 94th Fighter Squadron.  It had landed in Lisbon’s Portela Airport on its way to North Africa on the 15th November, 1942 and was interned and pressed into service with the Portuguese Air Force.


Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver dive bomber in Portuguese markings
Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver dive bomber in Portuguese markings

A US made Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver dive bomber in Portuguese markings photographed while flying over the the Tejo (Tagus) river estuary in Lisbon, Portugal.  This photograph was taken during the state visit of the Brazilian President in 1955.  The pilot of this particular aircraft was Commander Cyrne de Castro, a Portuguese Navy Officer.

In 1950, the Portuguese Naval Aviation received 24 of these aircraft. They formed the first anti-submarine squadron of the Portuguese Navy, being given the codes AS-1 to 24 — the Helldiver in this photograph is marked AS-14.

Photo Source:  Jorge Pereira

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