T6 Harvard Aviation


HISTORY - G-BJST CC&F-4-292 - Harvard 4

Harvard G-BJST was built in 1953 by the Canadian Car and Foundry Company (C&CF) as a model T6J.It was built for the USAF under the Mutual Development Assistance Program (MDAP) due to Military officials calling for the introduction of legislation to expand suitable military training equipment. After the negotiation of the North Atlantic defence treaty there was a requirement to provide military aid to strengthen member country’s against the communist threat in Europe. As part of a order placed in 1951 by the USAF aircraft were supplied to the French, German, Italian, Turkish and other Airforce’s to help speed up there recovery after world war two. Apparently under the contract number AF-20641 two batches of T-6 were manufactured by the CCF. The first batch consisted of 143 aircraft with 69 going to Italy, 24 to Belgium and 51 to the French Air Force


CAA PERMIT APPLICATION STATES THAT - This aeroplane, registration G-BJST has been presented to CAA with no confirmation of its identity apart from the Italian Air Force serial number MM53795. This aeroplane is a Harvard 4 which is believed to have been constructed in 1953 at the Canadian Car Foundry. Its history is unknown, but it was last used by the Italian Air Force. It is thought that the aircraft may have been refurbished by Aero Navalli prior to release from the Italian Air Force. All previous Log Books were missing. http://www.caa.co.uk/AANDocs/27642/27642000000.pdf


G-BJST's designation as the 'T-6J' is still a matter of debate. According to extensive research completed by Dan Hagedorn written in the book 'North American's T-6' He states that "A great deal of confusion has surrounded the alleged use of the USAF designation T-6J to cover the MDAP - procured Harvard 4 aircraft that were built as new aircraft by the Canadian Car and foundry Co., Ltd. (CCF) It seems that the designation of T-6J has gained currency over the years but up to now there has been no supporting evidence of this class. However for the purpose of our aircraft we will refer to it as the 'J' as this designation in the 21st century indicates that this aircraft was one of the aircraft produced under the MDAP scheme.

1953 - 1970's MM53799 at Latina, the sister aircraft to G-BJST

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Designated as MM53795

After production in January 1953 it was allocated the USAF serial number 51-17110 with its original airframe number of CCF4-292 and sent in a consignment of 69 to Belfast Northern Ireland where they were reassembled and later flown to Italy. when the Italian air force received there new aircraft they gave it there own serial number of MM53795. It was sent to the Italian air force to provide training for their new emerging Airforce and was probably based at Latina airbase near Rome where it’s sister aircraft now stands as a gate guardian.

1970's - G-BJST during her time with the Italian Air Force

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Final posting

Sometime during the 1970’s it finished it service with the Italian Airforce ending it service as a SCIV (Ia Scuola Centrale di Volo (Central school of flight instructors) and then its history become’s a bit sketchy. It appeared on the UK and on to the British register in December 1981 at Kemble where the photograph on the right was taken. Thanks to Martin Pole for sourcing the Photograph and above information.

1980's - G-BJST then reappeared in Coventry England at Victor Aviation around 1986/87

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Reappearance during the 80's

Apparently at this time G-BJST was part of the Jeff Hawks collection that supplied aircraft to the film industry) and was painted to appear as a Japanese Zero in “Empire of the Sun” with some work carried out to the rear canopy to make it look more authentic.

It's masquerade as a Zero was a little more convincing involving surgery to the canopy area + wing mods etc. It was shrouded in transparent plastic; G-BJST when it was offered for sale in an auction at Luton. You can see two of the Nord 3400s in the background. Ironically these also came originally from Ferte Alais.

With kind permission - Words and pictures by Tim Badham from an article on The Aviation Forum - http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?51235-G-TOMC-when-at-Baginton&highlight=G-BJST

G-BJST apparently withdrawn from the auction due to missing paperwork! CCF 292 Changed ownership again in 1996 and was taken to Little Gransdon for restoration to flying condition this was a slow process and eventually sold in August 2000 to Peter Tuplin at Classic Aero Ltd. (Photo Martin Pole)


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Royal connection

G-BJST was painted in the colour scheme of the aircraft HRH Prince Philip flew during his advanced training. His Harvard at that time, bore the five stars denoting his rank of Marshal of the Royal Air Force and is accurately represented on the starboard side of the aircraft today.

BBC News report -

1953: Duke of Edinburgh gets his wings. The Duke of Edinburgh has been awarded his pilot's "wings" during a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace. He was presented with the award by Air Chief Marshall Sir William Dickson, Chief of Air Staff. The Duke's flying instructor, 29-year-old Flight-Lieutenant Caryl Ramsay Gordon was present at the ceremony. Earlier in the day, he watched his royal pupil complete three solo circuits and landings, or "bumps" as they are called, at White Waltham airfield in Berkshire in order to qualify for his wings.

An RAF examining unit had described his flying as "thoughtful with a sense of safety and airmanship above average".

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A new find (serial number) on the inside of the port flap

Something else recently came to light when Brian Jones noticed that there was a serial numbered plate on the inside of the port flap with the date on it of 11-12-1943....Initially this was quite exciting as we knew this could easily be traced. Using our facebook friends we asked if anyone could throw some light on this and Shane Clayton from Canada came back with the following information....

Shane Clayton The '14-' on the serial number means that it came from the Lend-Lease batch of Noorduyn AT-16's (ie all the FE***, FH***, FS***, FT***, KF***, etc Harvard Mk IIB's). 14A-1873 was KF172, but I don't know if it was actually fitted to KF172 and installed on your Harvard at a later date, or was part of the vast spares inventory left at Noorduyn after the war and was eventually installed on your Harvard during production. I'm leaning towards it being installed on KF172 first, as your Harvard was built mid-way through the Can-Car production run (292 out of 555) and most likely would have had 99% CC&F new-built parts by that point in production.

So the next question was inevitably what happened to KF-172?

Martin Pengelly Am afraid it didn't do much... in storage most of its life and then issued to the Central Flying School between February 1951 and January 1955. Was sold for scrap in April 1957.

So this was slightly disappointing as we had hoped in a jovial sort of way that it may had come off a Harvard that had been operational in some exotic war time location like the middle east or Malta training Hurricane pilots however this was not to be the case. KF 172 lived a very short existence, probably assisted in its 4 years of service life in the training of hundreds of pilots before succumbing to the blow torch and cutters!

Rear wing spar plate


Shane Clayton Looks like these came off an RCAF Mk 4 since BJST was already in Italy by 1959. Aircraft Industries was the overhaul depot for eastern Canada. (Northwest Industries in Edmonton was for western Canada)

Modification plate


Shane Clayton I'm pretty certain that the mod plate refers to the diagonal stringer reinforcements added to the undersides of RCAF Harvard (both 2 & 4) horizontal stabilizers in the mid to late fifties.

2014 - G-BJST

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Where is she today?

G-BJST is on the public transport register and available for flying lessons with
Classic wings at Duxford or pilot conversion training with T6 Harvard Aviation.

G-BJST in its current paint scheme in 2014. Unfortunately the aircraft was polished with an agent which stripped the top coat of lacquer and removed some of the paint down to the yellow primer and aluminium in places.

Pilot: Andy Goodall Instructor: Neil Oakman during Harvard conversion training in February 2013 at Duxford Imperial War Museum (IWM)


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Here is ST now dressed as AJ 841 in all her glory… She was compiled on the 29th July 2015 by RS Paintwork at Fishburn airfield.

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A decision was made by the syndicate in August 2014 to re paint G-BJST in a new scheme for 2015. Work will commence hopefully in April 2015 to represent a MKIIB Harvard used to train RAF pilots between 1942 - 46....
The RAF Air Ministry form 78 shows that it was delivered from the USA and shipped direct to the Middle East (ME) 23/11/41on the SS M - LIVANOS ....It looks like during its time in the Middle East it moved internally up to the 21/061945 and then "Struck of Charge" (SOC) on the 25/04/46

Interestingly the SS M LIVINOS may be either Steam Ship (SS) MARY or MICHAEL which were both incidentally sunk by U Boats in 1943 off the West coast of Africa!

At 10.37 hours on 11 July 1943 the unescorted Mary Livanos (Master Theodore Glyptis) was hit on the port side aft by one G7e torpedo from U-178 while steaming at 8 knots in the Mozambique Channel.

AJ 841 - This saw service with 74 OTU training hurricane pilots and then saw service with 154 Squadron. 154 was formed at Chingford in Essex and at one time with spitfires was at fowlmere.

AJ 841 - was in the same batch as the other two AJ 845 - AJ 944. All served initially with either 71 or 74 OTU. Some went onto the Egyptian Air Force and one to the USAAF. AJ 841 was struck off charge on the 25 April 1946.

154 Squadron - The squadron reformed in November 1941 at RAF Fowlmere (Just West of Duxford) as a fighter squadron equipped with Spitfire IIAs. It was briefly located in the south west of England then based at RAF Hornchurch. In November 1942 it moved to Gibraltar and Algeria to take part in Operation Torch. On 4 June 1943 it arrived in Malta, it then operated from Palestine and Cyprus. From 23 August 1944 it was based at Fréjus, France providing air cover for the forces that moved north to join those that had landed at Normandy. It was disbanded in Naples on 1 November 1944 but reformed on 16 November 1944 at RAF Biggin Hill to escort bombers and flew Mustangs until it was finally disbanded on 31 March 1945.

71 OTU - Formed at Ismailia in Egypt under the control of No 202 Group on 1 June 1941 from the fighter element of No 70 OTU.  Its task was to acclimatise fighter and army co-operation pilots to desert conditions.  From June to September it was tasked with providing night defence of the Canal Zone but in the latter month it moved to Gordon’s Tree in the Sudan.  In October ‘C’ was detached to form No 74 OTU and with it the commitment to train army co-operation pilots.  Further moves occurred on 1 May 1942 to Carthargo and 5 May 1943 to Ismailia with control passing to No 203 Group on 10 July 1943.  Training ceased on 20 May 1945 and the unit disbanded on 11 June.

74 OTU - Formed at Aqir in Palestine from ‘C’ Flight of No 71 OTU on 18 October 1941 to train army co-operation pilots in tactical reconnaissance duties under desert conditions.  It made various moves to Rayak in July 1942, Muqeibila in November 1942 and back to Aqir in February 1943 before ending at Petah Tiqva in September 1943, with control being transferred to No 203 Group on 10 May 1943.  The unit disbanded on 16 July 1945

Photography - Where possible we have attributed all photographs to the photographer where known. Its not our intention to breach any copyright as most of the pictures have been taken from open source media.

email: Info@T6Harvard.com
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