Profiles

The site has a superb collection of specially commissioned full colour 'Profiles' based on extensive research and expert analysis. See Clive Caldwell's personal Spitfire Mk VIII profile below.

Spitfire VIII, A58-484 (British serial JG543) at Morotai in March 1945; one of three Spitfire MkVIII's allocated to Clive R Caldwell.


Caldwell and his all important groundcrew.

This aircraft like many others, was delivered to the RAAF wearing the RAF 'desert' scheme of Dark Earth, Middle Stone and Azure Blue. The Middle Stone portions were subsequently over painted in Foliage Green. Pilot initials 'CR-C' were Sky Blue, spinner and fuselage band in white with probably black bands. Below the cockpit was a Group Captain rank pennant and an impressive scoreboard indicating aerial victories against German, Italian and Japanese aircraft. Of note is the relative contrast between upper surface camouflage colours. RAF 'desert' camouflaged Spitfires typically had a 'darker' shade of the standard RAF colour Dark Earth resulting in a relatively lower contrast upper scheme when combined with RAAF Foliage Green.


Caldwell preparing '484' for the long flight to Morotai from
Darwin in December 1944.

At wars end Caldwell was officially credited as the RAAF's highest scoring ace with a total of 28.5 enemy aircraft shot down, 20.5 of which were gained in RAF squadrons in the Middle East . Although his last aerial victory was a Mitsubishi 'Dinah' over Darwin in August 1943 the scoreboard on A58-484 shows a total of only 27.5. The variance was due to the scoreboard being calculated by his ground crew with reference to his logbook comments rather than any official documentation.

The serial number is unusual in that the letter styles of 'A58' and '-484' are different and not in alignment. It appears that the '-484' portion of the serial was over-painted when the fuselage band was applied and later reapplied using a different letter style stencil. The rudder carries the No. 80 (Fighter) Wing 'ace of spades' emblem. White wing leading edge had a 'straight' edge on underside and a narrower tapering edge on the upper wing surface. The underside of the cannon fairings were also painted white. All roundels were 32 inches in diameter.

Upper surface camouflage pattern depicted below is partly speculative and assumes the partial repainting with RAAF colours would follow approximately the original RAF standard pattern.

The Australian War Memorial has within its archives a brief BW film clip of this aircraft taken by the RAAF public relations unit at Morotai in early 1945.

Rear fuselage detail

starboard side

The detail image shows the serial number with different style lettering of 'A58' and '-484'. Starboard side serial is assumed to have a similar mix of number styles.

 

Single cannon

Double cannon

This aircraft was one of the few Mk VIII's to be retrofitted with 4 cannons. It is not known for how long, but given the very poor handling associated with this configuration, one would expect it to have been a very temporary modification.

STOP PRESS!

Recent research has uncovered further detail on A58-484's camouflage and markings. See inside the members section for updated details.