Boulton Paul Defiants

By Bob Pearson

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DEFIANT PS-V (L7026) of No.264 Sqn is seen here in the summer of 1940 in typical green/brown/sky camoflage. Note the lack of underwing roundels common at the time. On 28 August 1940, Plt/Offs P.L. Skinner and C.E. Johnson were shot down and killed by Bf109s near Sillibourne Farm, Hinxhill, Kent.

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Defiant PS-P (N3313)

Following the disastrous showing of No.141 Sqn against the Bf109 on 19 July 1940 in which they lost six of nine Defiants, the Defiant was withdrawn from daylight duties and became a night fighter. As appropriate to their new role, Defiants were now painted in a matt black finish called RDM2. Note the non-standard yellow outline to the roundel and the retracted fairings on the rear fuselage and canopy to allow unobstructed movement of the turret. These automatically collapsed as the turret revolved.

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Defiant DZ-Z(N3328)

Although the camoflage value of RDM2 will be apparent, one problem was the continued use of grey codes, therefore nightfighters soon came to wear red codes. DZ-Z of No.151 Sqn also has a most interesting piece of nose art in the form of a shark mouth and eye. N3328 arrived at No.151 Sqn on 12 December 1940 and stayed until 22 August 1941, after serving with various units it crashed in a hailstorm on 24 October 1942, killing the pilot, Sgt JL Coulter RAAF.

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Defiant RA-H (V1110)

Although the codes visibilty was reduced by changing to red, the roundels were still of high visibilty with their yellow and white, therefore these were changed to just red/blue in all six positions. Two Canadian squadrons flew the Defiant, Nos. 409 and 410, RA-H is from the latter unit. Both units flew patrols during the summer and autumn of 1941, but had no combats and were converted to the Beaufighter by early 1942.

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Defiant AQ (T3997)

The next service for the Defiant after being withdrawn from nightfighter duties was to provide Air-Sea-Rescue for downed airmen in the channel. Light canisters containing dinghies were fitted under each wing and the first ASR Defiant squadron was formed on 29 March 1942. Those ASR squadrons using the Lysander began converting to the Defiant in May. The ASR sqns only used a squadron code and not an individual one. therefore all aircraft in No.276 Sqn wore the code AQ. T3997 was later converted to a target tug.

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Defiant TT (D863)

The final service provided by the Defiant was to be as a target tug. The turret was removed and an operators winch was installed, with a compartment for the drogue below the fuselage. Many surviving Defiants were converted to TT configuration while the final 150 ordered were built as such. Seen here is the very first Defiant TT, D863, seen wearing the yellow 'P' of a protoype aircraft, the undersides are striped in yellow and black as a recognition aid as well.


References:

All Defiant information is taken from the following
  • THE DEFIANT FILE by Alec Brew; Air-Britain 1996
  • PROFILE No.117 - DEFIANT by M J F Bowyer; Profile Publications 1966
  • FIGHTING COLOURS - RAF FIGHTER CAMOUFLAGE & MARKINGS 1937-1975 by M J F Bowyer 1975

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