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TYPHOON Mk 1b, XP- K, JP 600 174 'MAURITIUS' SQUADRON FROM INVESTIGATION TO DISCOVERY

Alain Obée learned from his friend Gérard Flicot, a passionate aviation enthusiast and resident in Toeufles, that an allied plane crashed in a pasture next to his property. Alain searched for a witness in the village, and finally contacted Madame Edithe Calippe, who recalled the approximate location of the crash of an Allied plane in 1941. On December 28th 2016 we decided to carry out an on-site reconnaissance. After more than an hour and a half of unsuccessful searches, we finally found the precise location, thanks to the magnetometer. I then contacted my friend Etienne Boulnois to enquire about his availability to come and dig the location. We arranged for a recovery to be attempted on Saturday, December 31st when we were assured of good weather.

On December 31st it was foggy but the sky was blue and the temperature below zero. At 9 o'clock the first bucket from the excavator was filled and immediately discovered small pipes from inside a radiator. We thought it could have been from a Spitfire wing radiator, but when large fuselage tubes then began to quickly appear, we suspected that it was another type of aircraft. With the discovery of a half-undercarriage leg that was much bigger than that of Spitfire, we suspected that this could have been a Typhoon. In fact 6 metres down found pieces of the huge Typhoon radiator. Subsequently, a small plate relating to the engine was discovered with the inscription of the name of SABRE. From this, there was no doubt, we had found a Typhoon. The pieces were becoming bigger the deeper we went, next being from the rear with all the hydraulic mechanism of the retractable tail wheel, then the tail wheel, and a phenomenal quantity of tube plates, with very little corrosion. Then came: oxygen cylinder and compressed air cylinder, armor plates, two magnetos, two generators, one for the engine and the other for the IFF, the engine ignition plate, various fuel plates assembly identification, such as the vertical fixed tail plate and depth plates, the fixed elevator, the IFF transponder with its antenna and power box; the sheet with part of the serial number 600, the bottom of the letter X from the Squadron code (174 ‘XP’), part of the letter K, individual coding of JP600; the car door cockpit type Mk1b first version, with the ejection handle of the canopy.



Crash site and drop point of the pilot

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IDENTIFICATION OF THE AIRCRAFT

In the middle of the day, I phoned JP Ducellier to tell him that we had discovered a Typhoon, he reminded me that it could be only one of two Typhoon that had collided on January 7, 1944. We were leaning towards JFL Cobbett's JP 600, it was said in the village that the pilot had been killed when parachuting from JP600, however, it was no longer possible to collect direct testimony. After cleaning some parts, I found the figure 600 on the sheet, but it was hard to see because once out of the ground and in came into contact with oxygen the paint disappeared quickly. On two other plates we could still distinguish a part of the J and on the other part of the letters JP and the number 600. We had therefore confirmed that it was Typhoon MK 1b JP600, pilot JFL Cobbett. Then Dany Dheilly found reports of gendarmerie that came from the departmental archives indicating "a plane fell to Toeufles, deceased driver." Then in another report a second plane to Behen with a wounded Australian pilot and taken prisoner was R.V. Smith and his JR373. We were sure of our identification.

French Gendarmerie report
January 7th 1944 (1)

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French Gendarmerie report
January 7th 1944 (2)

Rapport 7 Janvier 1944 Site.JPG

French Gendarmerie report
January 7th 1944 (3)

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P/O JF Cobbett pilot of
JP 600 and Tex, the mascot of 174 Squadron (Décember 1943)

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JF Cobbett (JP 600) and RV Smith (JR 373) 174 Squadron (1943)

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HAWKER TYPHOON Mk 1b XP- K, JP 600

JP600 was part of the 4th production batch of 600 aircraft built by Gloster Aircraft Company Ltd, Brockworth, Gloucestershire in 1943. Gloster built all but 16 of the 3317 Typhoons, the Gloster Gladiator, 1000 Hurricanes, the Gloster Meteor and after the war the famous Javelin. All Typhoons were fitted with the Napier Sabre IIa engines with the early example fitted with the ‘Car Door’ but later they were equipped with sliding canopies. Many of the older Typhoons were retrospectively modified with the sliding canopy. Deliveries of the 4th production batch began on April 5th 1943 and were completed in December 1943, the average daily production was 18 aircraft.

The JP600 is part of the same production as Typhoon JP843, a project by a Canadian-New Zealand association 'Typhoon Legacy'. Both aircrafts were equipped as standard “car door” canopies and subsequently modified with sliding canopies in spring 1944. Since JP600 was lost in January 1944 (near the end of production), it had not been modified so was equipped with the old "car door" canopy, moreover we found the two ejection handles for the canopy. Noel Helean's Typhoon Mk 1b carried the serial number JP845.

The association "Typhoon Legacy" has identified many pieces. Moreover, one of their contacts in France, Nicolas Walter, Alsacien, will borrow pieces to measure and model them in 3D so that the association can rebuild them as originally, because there are no more examples engineering drawings. The other British charity "Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group" based in Uckfield, England also helped us to identify certain parts. This association led by Dave Robinson has the project to rebuild Typhoon Mk 1b RB396 to fly, so some of the parts were given to them (the rear), to scan and measure them to enable examples to be reproduced (news link). This charity has an unused and inhibited Napier Sabre IIa that will be used to enable RB396 to fly, an active memorial to all the Typhoon crews, everything they achieved and the sacrifices they made. This charity will also restore a second static Typhoon cockpit to display it during ceremonies and meetings in order to help raise the funds needed to finance the reconstruction. The construction of the empennage will begin in early 2018, a number of companies have already been contacted to be involved in the restoration (Airframes Assemblies on the Isle of Wight being one of the these)

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IN THE PRESS......

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Courrier Picard 30.01.17.JPG
THE EXCAVATION
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Debut de l'excavation.jpg
fuselage.jpg
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Ghislain et le fuselage.jpg
fuselage et cables de commande.jpg
Jacky et l'arriere du fuselage.jpg
Ghis remonte.jpg
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Raise of the engine almost 6 meters depth

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Jacky et Ghis commencent le nettoyage sur place.jpg
excavation.jpg
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moteur Napier (5).jpg
chargement Pierre Jean Jean et Geralde.jpg
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The well-kept engine...

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Ready to be clean

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The engine.....after

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A much needed shower!!!

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Napier Sabre (1).jpg

IFF Lower part 1, 2 et 3

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IFF MKIII

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IFF 4 et 5 Upper part

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IFF antenna

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Canopy ejection handle

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Central lamp under the fuselage

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Half leg landing gear

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Rev Counter

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Footstep

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Crowbar

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Magnetos

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Spark Plugs

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Elevator

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Engine Frame

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Cockpit Port Joint 'L'

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Vertical empennage plate

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Detail of the empennage plate

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Serial number JP 600

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Starter

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Compressor

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Generators and starter

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Hydraulic pump

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Primming pump

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Front of the primping pump

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Radio controler (plaque)

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Radio controler

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Radio transmitter

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Radio transmitter

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Tail wheel

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Tail wheel (detail)

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Plaque "SABRE"

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Armor plate

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Tank selector

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Tombe de JF COBBETTpg (1) (Copier).jpg
Script Pierre Ben and JP Ducellier, layout Michel Lespagnol

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