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A curious weapon

Article about: An interesting report with some curious photographs showing a Spitfire of the RAF carrying beer kegs under the wings. I've never seen this. Can anyone tell what the purpose of it ? To see th

  1. #1

    Default A curious weapon

    An interesting report with some curious photographs showing a Spitfire of the RAF carrying beer kegs under the wings. I've never seen this. Can anyone tell what the purpose of it ? To see these curious and unbelievable photos, visit the link below:


    Best Regards!

  2. #2


    This was a quite well-known and publicized incident. After D-Day, a brewery called Heneger & Constable donated free beer for the troops in Normandy. The idea was picked up by 2nd TAF that, as the Spitfire MkIX had pylon points for bombs and drop-tanks, they would 'deliver' the beer. One or more Spitfires were pictured with old-fashioned beerkegs under the wings but these did - naturally enough - make the aircraft difficult to fly and land. Much of the beer was actually transported in converted, cleaned-out drop-tanks which were even officially designated 'Mk. XXX' ( most likely a pun on the well-known 'Triple X' beer of the time.

    According to legend, HM Customs cottoned on quite quickly and put a stop to the fun.

    Most likely, this all had more to do with the RAF Public Relations people than anything else, but the 'beer-keg Spitfires' have since become a staple of every plastic kit modeller's show .....

  3. #3


    Strange but true!

    These "deliveries" flew from RAF Tangmere (of SOE fame) near Chichester where the brewery in question was located.

    I used to live in the former married quarters (RAF Tangmere closed in '74) when I was stationed in Chichester in the '80s and this was a part of local folklore.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Tangmere, Sussex, July 1944: in front of a Spitfire IX of 332 (Norwegian) Squadron, a standard 45-gallon Typhoon/Hurricane ‘Torpedo’ jettison tank modified for use on the Spitfire (because of an expected shortage of 45-gallon shaped or slipper tanks) is filled with PA ale for flying over to Normandy while an RAF ‘erk’ writes a cheery message on the tank. The pilot sitting on the wing in this clearly posed government publicity picture is wearing a Norwegian Air Force cap-badge – something no one who has reprinted this picture seems ever to have pointed out. Is the man filling the tank a brewery worker? Surely. Is the beer from Henty and Constable’s brewery in nearby Chichester? It seems very likely …

    Addendum: the pilot has now been identified as almost certainly being the Norwegian Spitfire ace Wing Commander Rolf Arne Berg, CO of No. 132 Norwegian Wing, who was killed a few months later, aged 27, in February 1945 while attacking a German airfield in the Netherlands."



    PS The caption was clearly written by someone unfamiliar with UK beer types, PA stands for Pale Ale. This is pretty much the same as IPA or India Pale Ale first introduced during the British Raj as a lighter and more refreshing brew for the troops (Oh Yes! Nothing really changes does it?) than the heavier dark beers commonly served at that time
    Last edited by Watchdog; 12-27-2015 at 01:17 PM. Reason: extra inf and typo's
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

  4. #4


    This has been discussed here before a while back, here's an old linkypoo to it.

    Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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