Fleet Air Arm Tail Letters
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Can anyone enlighten me as to when the FAA adopted Ship Identity Letters on the tails of aircraft? I suspect it was late in the Second World War. I have seen no photographic evidence from before 1944 when small subdued letters appear on Firefly and Baracuda tails.
The very comprehensive The Squadrons and Units of the Fleet Air Arm by Ballance, Howard & Sturtivant (Stapleford 2016) which contains not just squadron/unit histories, but also an extensive listing of code markings.
Code letters were allocated to ships and shore stations, and it may be that some unofficially carried this on the tail, but Ballance states that –
“A further development in April 1945, was the allocation of deck identification letters for all forms of carrier….” and ” From April 1945 the parent carrier letters were used as fin markings…”
[Sturtivant etc p438]
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