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37204 Corgi   Halifax B111 - 158 Sqn RAF, Friday the 13th (2001 ONLY) £ 0.00
      Out of stock
  The stunning 1/72 scale Halifax model features opening bomb doors, rotating turrets and optional undercarriage positions. This B Mark 111, LV607 'Friday the 13th', is in the livery of 158 Squadron, RAF based at Lisset, Yorks in 1944-45. As a mark 111 this aircraft was fitted with Bristol Hercules Air cooled radial engines. She is now represented at the Bomber Command museum at Elvington airfield in North Yorkshire. The Museum’s Halifax reconstruction is based on a section of the fuselage of Halifax II, HR792, which carried out an emergency landing on the Isle of Lewis in 1945. A crofter, Mr McKenzie, purchased the fuselage section for use as a hencoop. The wings came from Hastings, TG536, at RAF Catterick. The reconstruction is named “Friday the 13th” in honour of Halifax, LV907, which completed 128 operations with 158 Squadron, and is representative of all examples built. It is typical of the type which formed part of the early 1,000 Bomber raids in April 1944. Highly sought after limited edition of only 2,010, these models are now extremely hard to find and must be seen to be appreciated. The box lid has a small indent on the upper surface but truly nothing that detracts.

Right from its very first operation on 30th March 1944, Halifax LV907 was to prove to be a ‘lucky’ aircraft. That night, still un-christened, and known as just another F for Freddie, it was Joe Hitchman at the controls, with an assembled crew. It should have been Joe’s night off, but he was called in for this raid on Nuremberg. His Squadron leader had taken his regular aircraft, G for George, out that night but was shot down and lost – it could have been Joe, but fate had had other ideas.

Why “Friday the 13th”, surely an unusual name to give an aircraft? The story goes that 158 Squadron had lost seven Halifax aircraft with the registration letter F in succession, within a year. When Halifax LV907 was delivered to the Squadron, it also bore this ‘unlucky’ letter, which had caused many crews to become nervous of flying aircraft with this code letter, and was given to the charge of Pilot Officer Cliff R R Smith and his crew. “Smithy”, in his characteristic ‘stuff and nonsense’ attitude to this fear, decided to break this jinx, by giving the aircraft its ‘unlucky’ title, along with the decals of the Grim Reaper and an upside down horseshoe, which he painted on. It is even noted that an open ladder had been painted above the crew entry hatch, which they would have to pass under to board the aircraft, but it was deemed this would be taking things too far and its removal was ordered.

Over the years, several accounts of the naming of the aircraft have given the name of one Clifford MacDonald as the person who named “Friday the 13th”. With Eric King’s visit, this little mystery was solved. It transpires, quite incredibly, that they were one and the same person! “Smithy” had married, and unusually, taken his wife’s surname. So Cliff Smith became known as Clifford MacDonald.

The symbolism of the aircraft did prove to be lucky and the aircraft carried a number of crews during its operational life, and indeed Eric completed 29 missions aboard ”Friday the 13th”, gaining the DFM on his 28th outing. In all, Eric completed 39 ops.

During his look around the Halifax, Eric recalled his often painful memories of flying into battle. He said that initially, the young crews, all volunteers, were enthusiastic and eager to get to work, but after 5 missions or so, the seriousness of the situation and the peril they faced began to sink in. He regards himself as incredibly lucky to still be alive to make this trip and sit in his old ‘office’, the Wireless Operator position.

Behind every great aircraft there is a bloody-minded, determined chief engineer/designer/Managing director. Sir Frederick Handley Page was such a man.
The largely unhindered competition between British aircraft manufacturers was always intense and resulted in greater and faster leaps in technological advances. One such was the Halifax bomber.

Designed to the same 1935 specification as the Avro Manchester, Sir Frederick must have got wind that the Rolls Royce Vulture engine was a ‘stinker’ and quickly moved to Bristol Hercules engines. Then the Air Ministry threw more spanners in the works and demanded suitability for dive bombing, tropical capability, a strengthened floor and an additional two engines. All four engines had to be Merlins. From the outset then, the Halifax was a compromise that conveniently allowed adaptations for towing, transportation, paratrooper and bombing duties. An unintentional bonus was that, should a crew have to face the terror of ditching in the sea, the extra floor strength meant their chances were far better than a Lancaster crew’s. Also, the Halifax floated for longer than a Lancaster – apparently!

However, all this adaptability had a price. The redundant requirement for dive bomber characteristics had led to a thicker wing which included cells for bomb carrying. This led to reduced performance and crucially, reduced altitude. Even when Sir Frederick got his way with the dropping of the front turret and adoption of four Bristol Hercules engines, the Halifax still used more fuel and carried 2000lb less ordnance than a Lancaster. Yet it was much appreciated by its crews, particularly those of coastal command and from introduction in November 1940 till the end of the war and during the early years of post-war transportation, the Halifax proved a sturdy and reliable workhorse.

Two restored examples exist. The one at the excellent Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington (just off the A64 York ring road) is a ‘bitsa’, made up of genuine components and decorated in the markings of ‘Friday the Thirteenth’, one of many illustrious Halifaxs. The other, NA337 was recovered from Lake Mjosa in Norway during 1995. Restoration was completed in 2005 and the Special Duties MkVII now resides at the RCAF Memorial Museum, Trenton, Ontario. An additional Halifax, W1048, was recovered from Lake Hoklingen, Norway, in 1973 and can be viewed in mostly un-restored condition at the RAF Museum, Hendon. This is the only extant Merlin powered Halifax MkII. During 2006, the remains of a transport Halifax, JP276 were found approximately 60 miles from Warsaw. There is some speculation that enough of the aircraft survives to warrant restoration and exhibition at the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
Picture of model:-

Corgi aviation archive general information

(note not all this information will apply to the above model)

The Corgi Aviation Archive features a vast selection of diecast model airplanes in 1:144, 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales and has become the standard by which all other ranges are judged. Each Corgi model is based on a specific aircraft from an important historical or modern era of flight, and has been authentically detailed from original documents and archival material. Subject aircraft in the Aviation Archive appeal to all aviation enthusiasts and every diecast model airplane includes such features as:

  • Realistic panel lines, antennas, access panels and surface details.
  • Pad printed markings and placards that won't fade or peel like decals.
  • Interchangeable landing gear with rotating wheels.
  • Poseable presention stand to display the aircraft "in flight".
  • Many limited editions with numbered certificate of authenticity.
  • Detailed pilots and crew members (1:72/1:32).
  • Authentic detachable ordnance loads complete with placards (1:72/1:32).
  • Selected interchangeable features such as airbrakes, opened canopies and access panels (1:72/1:32).
  • Selected moving parts such as gun turrets, control surfaces and swing-wings (1:72/1:32).
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