RAF Typhoon Display Team
Seen at airshows across the UK during 2014 and 2015 were Typhoons of the RAF painted in the colours of aircraft that served during the Second World War to commemorate two important anniversary's in the force's history.
These were D-Day and the Battle of Britain. This article tells the story of the camouflage schemes chosen.
During May 2014 RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire played host to a special event that would see Typhoon ZK308 unveiled in a scheme to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Operation Neptune, more commonly
known as D-Day. In attendance was 92 year old Flying Officer (Retd) John Byrne who flew the aircraft's namesake the Hawker Typhoon during the invasion of France back in 1944. The special paint
scheme chosen would see the addition of black and white invasion stripes on both upper and lower wing
surfaces and on the fuselage towards the rear of the aircraft to pay tribute to the Typhoon pilots of World War 2 who played a vital role in supporting ground troops during this crucial period. The
significance of these invasion stripes was that aircraft that operated over the landing beaches in 1944 had them painted on to help with identification of friendly aircraft.
The Typhoon would perform at over 20 airshows during 2014 both solo and sometimes with a Supermarine Spitfire of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which would also be painted
with invasion stripes.
RAF Syncro 75
Signing up to the RAF in 1936 first joining No. 72 Squadron before in 1940 going to No. 249 Squadron. It was on the 16th August that same year when his actions earnt him the Victoria
Cross. Flying near Southampton Nicolson was attacked by a Messerschmitt Bf 110 suffering wounds to one eye and one foot and his aircraft engine was damaged and petrol tank set alight.
On trying to parachute out he came across another enemy aircraft shooting it down before baling out.
View the full citation
Rising up the ranks during his RAF service to become Wing Commander, Nicolson would also earn the Distinguished Flying Cross before losing his life on the 2nd May 1945 when flying as an observer
on a B-24 Liberator of No. 355 Squadron the aircraft crashed in the Bay of Bengal.
Normally when commemorating an anniversary modern Royal Air Force aircraft have their tail painted or small additions to existing paintwork but for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain during 2015 it
was decided to re-paint the whole aircraft to pay tribute to the remaining veterans of the battle. It would be Typhoon ZK349 of No. 29 (R) Squadron that would be used. The
scheme chosen for the aircraft was that of Fighter Command's only Victoria Cross recipient Flt Lt James Brindley Nicolson who on the 16th August 1940 received the award for his actions that day
when he was with No. 249 Squadron flying his Hawker Hurricane Mk I (P3576) GN-A. This would see the Typhoon painted
in the green and brown camouflage used by most fighter aircraft during the battle on the topside, whilst underneath the aircraft would have the RAF roundel of the period.
With the idea of the camouflaged Typhoon being to pay tribute to 'The Few' it was also decided to pair the aircraft with a Spitfire from the RAF BBMF and form what would be known as Syncro 75.
The Spitfire chosen Mk IIA (P7350) was itself a Battle of Britain veteran, if this was unavailable another Spitfire from the flight would be used, which entered service during August 1940 and served
with Nos. 266 and 603 (City of Edinburgh) AuxAF Squadrons during the battle. When performing the duo would arrive together perform a couple of flypasts before breaking off and displaying together
something they would do over 25 times in 2015.
The camouflaged Typhoon would prove very popular and was photographed extensively wherever it went.