Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII (DD931)

Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII (DD931)  [@ RAF Hendon]

The Beaufort was a fast twin-engined torpedo bomber and based on the Bristol Blenheim. However it was heavier and carried a crew of four. Although never considered a successful type it was the RAF’s standard torpedo-bomber from 1940 to 1943.

Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII (DD931)

Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII (DD931)  [@ RAF Hendon]

Design work on the aircraft began in 1935 and the prototype made its first flight on 15th October 1938. The Beaufort Mk I went into service in 1939 and took part in some notable actions, including an attack on the German battlecruiser Gneisenau in Brest harbour on 6th April 1941, resulting in serious damage to the warship and the posthumous award of the VC to Flying Officer Kenneth Campbell of 22 Squadron. The Beauforts operated mainly in the North Sea and Atlantic areas, but some squadrons were deployed to Malta in 1942 and caused great destruction to Axis supply convoys crossing to North Africa. Seven hundred Beauforts were built in Australia (Mks V—VIII), serving with the RAAF in the Solornons, Timor, New Guinea and other Pacific battle areas. Some were converted to Mk IX troop transports.

Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII (DD931)

Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII (DD931)  [@ RAF Hendon]

Unfortunately the featured aircraft is a composite, constructed with sections from several Royal Australian Air Force Beauforts. The real “DD931” was delivered in 1942 and probably spent its entire career in Egypt, until it was struck off charge on 1st January 1944. It served with 42 Squadron, 5 METS - Middle East Training School (coded 5P), and 39 Squadron (coded L).