G-BTCD - Ferocious Frankie
P-51D-25-NA G-BTCD Ferocious Frankie
Serial number
Construction n°
Paint Scheme

Based at
Ferocious Frankie
Major Wallace E. Hopkins
361st Fighter Group
374th Fighter Squadron
Old Flying Machine Company
Cambridge, United Kingdom
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Airframe history

Mustang P-51D-25-NA 44-73149 was built by North American Aviation at Inglewood, California and delivered to the United States Army Air Force on February 27th, 1945. By the end of March she was assigned to her first unit with the 8th Air Force in the United Kingdom, serving at Leiston, Suffolk amongst other stations. There is a report which states that she flew with the 357th FG, but not much is known about her history back then.

In January of 1946, after a period of eleven months, she was shipped back to Newark, US where she was put in storage.

On June 7th , 1947, she was sold to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) where she received serial 9568 and was dubbed a Mustang TF Mk. IV. During her stay with the RCAF she was used at the Defence Research Establishment in Suffield, Alberta where she was assigned to Training Command. In 1953 she was completely overhauled in Winnipeg and was put into open storage at Carberry, Manitoba a few months later. She stayed with the RCAF until she was officially struck off charge in 1960.

A couple of years before however, in 1957, she was sold to a private owner James H. Defuria & Fred J. Ritts (DBA International Aiways of Canastota, NY, US) and registered as N6340T.
The Mustang was stored unconverted at RCAF Station Carberry, Manitoba until 1962 and was eventually sold to Aero Enterprises in Elkhart, IN on May 10th , 1960, who had her dismantled and trucked to Elkhart, IN, where she arrived in July of 1962.

She was then resold for $5,400 onto Ernest W. Beehler of West Covina, CA on July 30th , 1962. She had 511 flying hours at that time. The P-51 was damaged in a wheels up landing at Lexington, MO on April 16th , 1965 and was repaired.

On August 19th , 1974, she was once again passed on to Charles E. Beck & Edward J. Modes, Burbank, CA where she was raced in the Unlimited Class in Reno, painted as #7, Candyman. She finished second with an average speed of 384mph … not bad for a stock Mustang.
After another short ownership passage to Robert E. MacFarlane of Placerville, CA on August 4th , 1976, she was sold onto Stephen Grey and was added to The Fighter Collection at Duxford in May of 1980.

Before shipment to the UK took place, she was overhauled again in Oakland, CA. The Mustang was then delivered to Geneva from the US and reached the UK (Biggin Hill) on May 2nd , 1981.

At Duxford she was given the livery with a Moose's head on one side and the name Candyman on the other. In 1981, at Biggin Hill, flown by Ray Hanna, she flew her first public display.

In May of 1986, she was sold onto John V. Cocker, San Mateo, CA and registered N51JJ, but remained leased by The Fighter Collection in the UK.

In 1987 she made her first appearance on the big white screen when she participated in the Hollywood movie “Empire of the Sun”, repainted as “My Dallas Darlin”.

In 1989 she was part of another Hollywood blockbuster “Memphis Belle”, where she flew as “Candyman”. After co-starring in the movie she was given a complete overhaul once more. The rear fueltank was removed to make place for an extra seat. Also, a new 1720hp Merlin 724-1C engine was installed.
Unfortunately, not long after her overhaul, she was again damaged in a landing accident at Stapleford on August 9th , 1990.

On January 11th , 1991 she moved onto Patina Ltd, but remained leased by TFC. She was re-registered as G-BTCD. She flew marked as USAAF 46-3221 “Candyman” & “Moose”, coded “G4-5”.

In 1998 she made another brief big screen appearance in Steven Spielberg's “Saving Private Ryan”.

On April 16th , 1999, she moved “next door” when she was acquired by Mark Hanna of the Old Flying Machine Company to become part of the Breitling Fighters. Today she is still owned by the OFMC. She was repainted as
41-3704/B7-H/Fearless Frankie in an olive drab scheme.

In 2002 she received the paintjob in which she still displays in many aishows in the UK: 413704/B7-H “Ferocious Frankie” of the 374th FS, 361th FG, which was flown by Major Wallace E. Hopkins. It was named in honor of his wife Frankie.

The original 44-13704 "Ferocious Frankie" did survive and is on display at the United States Air Force Museum at Robins AFB, Georgia.

Youtube video clips of G-BTCD in various movies:

Empire of the Sun
Saving Private Ryan
Hart's War

Date Registry Owner









Delivered by NAA to USAAF on February 27 th
Shipped back to Newark, US and put into storage
Sold to RCAF on June 7th
Stored at Carberry, Manitobaafter a complete overhaul
James H. Defuria & Fred J. Ritts (DBA International Aiways of Canastota, NY, US)
Aero Enterprises in Elkhart, IN on May 10th
Ernest W. Beehler of West Covina, CA on July 30th
Damaged in a wheels up landing at Lexington, MO on April 16th
Charles E. Beck & Edward J. Modes, Burbank, CA. Raced in Unlimited Class in Reno as #7 Candyman.
Robert E. MacFarlane of Placerville, CA on August 4th
Stephen Grey, The Fighter Collection at Duxford, UK
Overhauled in Oakland, CA
Delivered to Geneva in May
Delivered to Biggin Hill on May 2nd
First public display in Europe, painted as “Moose”/”Candyman”
John V. Cocker, San Mateo, CA, leased by The Fighter Collection 1986-1991
Repainted “My Dallas Darlin” for the movie “Empire of the Sun”
Repainted “Moose”/“Candyman” for the movie “Memphis Belle”
Second overhaul
Damaged in landing accident at Stapleford on August 9th
Patina Ltd, January 11th 1991 – 1999, still leased by TFC, marked as USAAF 46-3221 “Candyman” & “Moose”, coded “G4-5”.
Participated in “Saving Private Ryan”
Mark Hanna of the Old Flying Machine Company on April 16th .
Operated by The Breitling Fighters
Painted as 4 1-3704/B7-H/”Fearless Frankie” (olive drab)
Participated in Hart's War
New paintjob 413704/B7-H “Ferocious Frankie” of the 374th FS, 361th FG, which was flown by Major Wallace E. Hopkins

Paintscheme information

P-51 G-BTCD is currently painted in the colors of Major Wallace E. Hopkins "Ferocious Frankie", 361st FG, 374th FS.

The name

Major Hopkins named the aircraft after his wife Frankie.

The pilot

Hopkins was born in in Washington, Georgia, and enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1939. He did not enter pilot school until a year later and graduated in July of 1941. In 1943, he was reassigned from the 8th Pursuit Group to the 361st FG.

He was appointed Group Operations Officer and flew a total of 76 combat missions. He achieved a total of 8 victories: 4 air-to-air and 4 strafing kills. He also damaged 1.5 aircraft on the ground. Although the aircraft displays 8 kills, he does not officially qualify as an ace if the criteria is solely air-to-air victories.

After having been promoted to Lt. Col. in 1944, Hopkins was appointed Deputy Group Commander in April of 1945.

Hopkins, Wallace E. Lt. Colonel 361st FG 08-08-1944 2
Hopkins, Wallace E. Major 361st FG 05-29-1944 2
      Total credits 4

The paint scheme

The 361st FG was assigned to the 8th Air Force on November 30th , 1943, and converted to the P-51 Mustang in May of 1944, which made them one of the first four groups to do so.

They started out flying the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt in December of 1943. Originally, the 361st FG had no specific group color to distinguish themselves from other Fighter Groups.

In March of 1944 they were directed to repaint the 24-inch white QIM engine cowling marker with Identification Yellow as a means of improving recognition.

The yellow engine cowling pattern was continued on the newly received P-51s and was even extended forward to include the spinners.

Although the vast majority of new P-51s delivered to the 361st FG were of a natural metal finish variety, almost all were to receive an “edging” application of Dark Green paint to their upper surface areas soon after delivery. The black tail QIMs were removed and the top half of these bands located on the horizontal stabilizers were over-painted and not thereafter reapplied in any form.

The camouflage treatment included the both upper wing and horizontal stabilizer surface areas. This application of Dark Green was, however often confined to the inner half of the upper wing surface on a good number of these applications. Wing tips as well as trim tabs and the top edges of the tail fin often received a wide assortment of individualized paint applications during the period prior to the assignment of official squadron colours in late October of the same year.

In 1944, several Fighter Groups revised their Group colors in order to further improve recognition. In July the 361st FG made the decision to extend the yellow nose pattern further towards the rear, being taken over the anti-glare Olive Drab to the end of the engine bay, and then down to a panel line running to the exhaust stack. At the exhaust stack, the yellow was taken down and forward under the nose at a point roughly in line with the halfway mark of the exhaust stack.

The 375th FS went even further by taking the rear part of the yellow marking down to the lower edge of the second long inspection panel.

In October of 1944, the 8th AF issued an order for additional squadron identification by means of coloured rudders. The 361st comprised of the following Fighter Squadrons:

  • The 374th FS (unit code “B7”) was assigned Insignia Red as an additional rudder colour
  • the 375th FS (unit code “E2”) carried Medium Blue rudder colours
  • the 376th FS (unit code “E9”) had their rudders painted in Identification Yellow.

Later in the war, squadron colours also began to appear on the wingtips, as well as on some canopy frames.

© Juanita Franzi

For more information on the following general P-51 markings, please click their appropriate links:
D-Day markings
US National Insignia markings
General P-51 markings

Since G-BTCD has no coloured rudder, this places the timeframe of this paint-scheme somewhere between May of 1944 (conversion of the 361st FG to the P-51) and October of 1944 (this is when 8th AAF issues squadron colours as a extra means of additional squadron identification).

Since she's painted with the extended nose pattern and has D-Day stripes only on the bottom of the wings and bottom fuselage, and displays a total kill-score of 8, we can be more specific and ascertain the timeframe somewhere between August 1st , 1944 and October of 1944.


Pictures of G-BTCD Ferocious Frankie


Walkaround pictures of G-BTCD Ferocious Frankie


Contributor pictures of G-BTCD Ferocious Frankie


Contributor image copyright (left to right, top to bottom):


© Johannes Raber
© Stephen Fox
© Christian Waser
© Anton Heumann
© Simon Thomas
© Malcolm Clarke
© Steve D Hall
© Ian Robertson
© John Allan
© Gary Chambers
© Ian Older
© Markus Willmann
© George Canciani
© Colin Hollywood
© Iain
© Geoff - GJC1
© Ben Allsup
© Peter Ashton

Pictures of the original "Ferocious Frankie"

If you have any high-quality photographs of G-BTCD you would like to share on this website, please contact us.

Usefull links

The Old Flying Machine Company

The 361st Fighter Group

Copyright © Christophe Haentjens -