Canadian Warplanes 4: Taylorcraft Auster Mk. III, IV and V, Auster AOP.6

Taylorcraft Auster Mk. III, IV and V, Auster AOP.6

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524521)

Cpl David Dumphries, hand-propping a Taylorcraft Auster Mk. III,(Serial No. NJ931) "Wee Wattie - La Pissa del Padrone", of SHQ Flight, No. 651 (AOP) Squadron RAF at Vasto, Italy, Feb 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524496)

Captain N.H. Chase returning from artillery observation flight in Taylorcraft Auster A.O.P. III aircraft of the R.A.F., supporting the 17th Field Regiment, R.C.A. Castel Frentano, Italy, 10 Feb 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524495)

Captain N.H. Chase returning from artillery observation flight in Taylorcraft Auster A.O.P. III aircraft of the R.A.F., supporting the 17th Field Regiment, R.C.A. Castel Frentano, Italy, 10 Feb 1944.


(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524519)

Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk. III, RAF in support of RCA, Ortona, Italy, 10 Feb 1944. Pilot Capt. A.G. Tony Dick receiving final flight instructions from Flight Commander Capt. Pat Henderson while their AOP aircraft is being serviced by Leading Aircraftmen (L.A.C.'s) Robert Ducroq and E.J. Edwards.

The Taylorcraft Auster was a British military liaison and observation aircraft in service during the Second World War.  The Auster Mk. III, IV and V were issued to 12 RAF, one Polish and three RCAF Air Observation Post (AOP) Squadrons.  No. 664 Squadron RCAF, No. 665 Squadron RCAF and No. 666 Squadron RCAF were issued the Auster Mk. IV and V, and were formed in the UK at RAF Andover in late 1944 and early 1945.  The RCAF squadrons were manned by Canadian personnel of the Royal Canadian Artillery and the RCAF, with brief secondment to the squadrons with pilots from the Royal Artillery; overall control was maintained in the UK by 70 Group, RAF Fighter Command.  The three squadrons deployed from RAF Andover, England, to the Netherlands, to Dunkirk, France, where the last Canadian 'shots' in Europe were fired, and later to occupied Germany.  The Canadian Army flew Auster AOP.6 aircraft post war.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232925)

Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk. III, mission plans, Italy ca 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225661)

Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk. III, RAF No. 661 Air Observation Squadron, C Flight, Pilot Capt D. Murray, speaks with Capt R. Lowe before a mission, 31 July 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225660)

Artillery Observation aircraft of RAF Air Observation Squadron 661 being dug in at a forward air field. It is being covered with camouflage netting, Normandy, 31 July 1944. No. 661 Squadron was a Royal Air Force Air Observation Post squadron associated with the First Canadian Army and later part of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Numbers 651 to 663 Squadrons of the RAF were Air Observation Post units working closely with Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. A further three of these squadrons, Nos 664, 665 and 666, were manned with Canadian personnel. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.

No. 661 Squadron was formed at RAF Old Sarum on 31 August 1943 with the Auster III and in March 1944 the Auster IV. The squadron role was to support the First Canadian Army and in August 1944 it moved to France. Fighting in the break-out from Normandy it followed the Canadians across the low countries and into Germany. The squadron disbanded at Ghent, Belgium on 31 October 1945.

Auster AOP.6, RCAF Serial No. 16673), OU-673.  (RCAF Photo)

The Auster AOP.6 was a military air observation aircraft produced by Auster Aircraft Ltd., to replace the numerous wartime Taylorcraft Auster aircraft then in-service.  It had a strengthened fuselage, increased all-up weight and a 145 hp (108 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major 7 engine.  It had a different appearance to the wartime Austers due to the lengthened landing gear struts (due to the larger propeller), and external non-retractable aerofoil flaps.  More than 400 were built.  Canadians flew both the AOP.6 and the T7 trainer.

Auster AOP.6 (36), (Serial Nos. 16651-16686), T7 (6), (Serial Nos. 16687-16692), for a total of 42 aircraft.

RCAF Serial No., Construction Number, Reg. No.

RCAF Serial No. 16651, c/n 2558, Reg. No. CF-MMY

RCAF Serial No. 16652, c/n 2576, Reg. No. CF-KBV

RCAF Serial No. 16653, c/n 2577, Reg. No. CF-KLD

RCAF Serial No. 16654, c/n 2578, Reg. No. CF-FJM

RCAF Serial No. 16655, c/n 2579, Reg. No. C-FKBW

RCAF Serial No. 16656, c/n 2580, Reg. No. CF-LGM

RCAF Serial No. 16657, c/n 2581, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16658, c/n 2582, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16659, c/n 2583, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16660, c/n 2584, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16661, c/n 2585, Reg. No. unkknown

RCAF Serial No. 16662, c/n 2586, Reg. No. CF-XNF, preserved in the British Columbia Air Museum Victoria, British Columbia

RCAF Serial No. 16663, c/n 2587, Reg. No. CF-KJP

RCAF Serial No. 16664, c/n 2588, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16665, c/n 2589, Reg. No. CF-KGZ

RCAF Serial No. 16666, c/n 2590, Reg. No. CF-LXT

RCAF Serial No. 16667, c/n 2591, Reg. No. CF-LIC

RCAF Serial No. 16668, c/n 2596, Reg. No. CF-MOE

RCAF Serial No. 16669, c/n 2597, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16670, c/n 2598, Reg. No. C-FLWK

RCAF Serial No. 16671, c/n 2599, Reg. No. CF-LWA

RCAF Serial No. 16672, c/n 2600, Reg. No. C-FLOE

RCAF Serial No. 16673, c/n unknown, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16674, c/n unknown, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16675, c/n 2853, Reg. No. CF-LPA

RCAF Serial No. 16676, c/n 2854, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16677, c/n 2855, Reg. No. CF-LSU

RCAF Serial No. 16678, c/n 2856, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16679, c/n 2857, Reg. No. CF-KFN

RCAF Serial No. 16680, c/n 2858, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16681, c/n 2859, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16682, c/n 2860, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16683, c/n 2861, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16684, c/n 2862, Reg. No. CF-OMW

RCAF Serial No. 16685, c/n 2863, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16686, c/n 2864, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16687, c/n 2865, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16688, c/n 2866, Reg. No. unknown

RCAF Serial No. 16689, c/n none, converted from T.7, Reg. No. CF-KPM

RCAF Serial No. 16690, c/n none, converted from T.7, Reg. No. CF-KLD

RCAF Serial No. 16691, c/n none, converted from T.7, Reg. No. CF-KYB

RCAF Serial No. 16692, c/n none, converted from T.7, Reg. No. CF-KPL

(DND Photos via Mike Kaehler)

Auster AOP.6, RCAF Serial No. 16663, c/n 2587, coded ZE-663, Reg. No. CF-KJP, RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, ca 1954-55.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3617348)

Auster T7, RCAF (Serial No. 16688), BV-B, No. 444 (Air Observation Post) Squadron, 5 Aug 1952.  On 1 Oct 1947, No. 444 (Air Observation Post) Squadron was formed at the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre (CJATC) at Rivers, Manitoba, flying de Havilland Chipmunk and Auster AOP Mk. VI aircraft.  These aircraft were used to train army pilots in ranging and directing artillery fire.  The squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 1949.

Auster T7, RCAF (Serial No. 16688), BV-B, No. 444 Squadron, 5 Aug 1952.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3617347)

Auster T7, RCAF (Serial No. 16688), BV-B, No. 444 Squadron, 5 Aug 1952.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584694)

(Clive Prothero-Brooks Photos)

Auster AOP.5 (Serial No. TJ398).  Recently acquired for the RCAM and flown to the museum in an RCAF CC-130 Hercules transport from the UK.  It is painted to represent a Canadian Army artillery spotting aircraft operating in Italy during the Second World War.

(Wiltshirespotter Photo)

(Mike Kaehler Photos)

Auster AOP.6, RCAF (Serial No. 16662), C-FXNF, British Columbia Air Museum Victoria, British Columbia.