Survivors
G-MRLL - Marinell
P-51D-5-NA 44-13521 G-MRLL Marinell
Type
Serial number
Construction n°
Registry
Paint Scheme



Owner
Based at
P-51D-5-NA
44-13521
109-27154
G-MRLL
Marinell
Captain Bradford V. Stevens
339th Fighter Group
504th Fighter Squadron
Maurice Hammond
Hardwick, Norfolk
United Kingdom
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Airframe history

P-51D-5-NA with serial number 44-13521 was built at NAA's Inglewood plant in California and was shipped to England at the same day the invasion of D-Day took place. Upon arrival in the UK, she was assigned to the 504th Fighter Squadron of the 339th Fighter Group, which was stationed at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, on June 30th , 1944.

She was named Marinell by her pilot, Captain Bradford V. Stevens, and, during her limited service with the 504th , shot down 4 enemy aircraft.

Marinell was lost on August 13th , 1944, during a fighter sweep/bombing mission against the marshalling yards at St. Quentin, Fonguenias, Beauvais and St. Omer. On that day, she was flown by 2nd Lieutenant Myer R. Winkelman. Various reports state different causes of her demise: some state that she was hit by flak and some reports say that a bomb blast downed her. There is even a report which states her being hit by a 500 pound bomb in mid-air, which seems highly unlikely, because Myers was last seen attempting to belly-land her somewhere north of Paris. Lt. Winkelman did however not survive the crash.

The Missing Air Crew Report (MACR 7775) states the following:

  • Lt. Winkelman was killed on August 13th , 1944 at approximately 19h30
  • The aircraft wreckage was found at St. Just-en Chaussee, 20 km east from Beauvais
  • Kind of capture: one wing hit by bomb of another Thunderbolt
  • Kind of landing: crashed into house

On August 15th , 1944, a pilot statement from Major Bill C. Routt provides the following information: “On the afternoon of 8 August 1944, 2nd Lt. Winkelman was flying on my wing on a dive bombing mission. He was in formation with me when I started down on the target with 4-5 second delay on the bombs.

I pulled out between 1500 and 2000 feet and broke to the right. Lt. Winkelman was not with me when I pulled back up to 6000 feet. 1 st Lt. Hunter – leading my second element – pulled up onto my wing. He said later that he thought he had seen silver parts flying through the air over the bomb bursts.

Lt. Winkelman was last seen at 1830 in the vicinity of Feuquières , France.”

Reading through all of the documents of the MACR 7775 reveals some contradictory elements:

  • One page states the target as “concentration point Brussels” whilst another page states this as the reporting office
  • One page states the cause of the accident as “one wing hit by bomb of another Thunderbolt”, while no P-47s were assigned to this mission”. The report of Bill C. Routt describes the same accident, but the date in this report is August 8 th , while all other pages state August 13th . A wingman “thinks” he saw silver parts flying through the air over the bomb bursts. Another page just describes a brief sentence “by bomb of own plane”

Certain facts are however exactly the same throughout various pages of the report:

  • The location of the crash site
  • Lt. Winkelman was identified by means of his identity tags and was killed by the crash
  • Damage to the P-51 is listed as being 100% (fuselage 100%, landing-gear 100%, wings 100% and tail unit 100%)

Presumably, the persons who examined the wreckage of the Mustang at the crash site noted the aircraft as being no longer repairable en thus listed it as 100% damaged. The fact that parts of the airframe were later discovered at a scrap-yard and the fact that the restoration team of Mr. Hammond state to have put her back together starting from for more than just the data-plate (fuselage sections and tail fin), leads to believe that what the report states is somewhat over-exaggerated.

If in fact G-MRLL is what she claims to be, she's a true combat veteran and is currently repainted in the same colours she wore during her service with the 504th FG.

Another debatable item is it the real markings of Capt. Stevens' P-51 were 5Q-D or 5Q-B? This is one discussion which in my opinion has no clear answer. One would look to the MACR 7775 report again in search for answers, and whilst there is in fact a note of the individual aircraft call letter, it is so smudged that it could be interpreted both ways. Take a look at a blown-up version of the reference in the MACR report here and judge for yourself what it says. The page of the MACR report shows the following information:

  • On August 13th , 1944 at 19h30
  • Place: St. Just-en-Chaussee, 26km east-north-east of Beauvais
  • Craft: Mustang (B or D Star 5 Q), 504th Ft. Sqd., 339th Group

Obviously, whoever wrote this report had a look at the right side of the crashed aircraft. As no clear WWII era pictures detailing the code letters of this aircraft are found, we'll never know for sure if its code letters were 5Q-B or 5Q-D (there is one WWII era picture of 5Q-B in flight, but it shows the right side of the aircraft and since the name “Marinell” is only on the left side of the cowling, this still doesn't prove anything unfortunately).

The history of 44-13521 remains obscure after the crash in 1944, until it was recovered from a local scrapyard by Didier Chable in the mid seventies. It became part of a museum exhibit.

Its history became clear once again when Maurice Hammond acquired the airframe in 1998 and brought her back to the UK for an intense rebuild, with the help of Hawker Restorations. Maurice Hammond of Hardwick Warbirds previously restored another pristine P-51 Mustang “Janie” and has his own company Eye Tech Engineering Ltd., based in Eye, Suffolk.

The complete fuselage was moved from Maurice's workshop out to Hardwick on September 15th , 2007. The wing section joined it on March 20th , 2008, and was fitted to the fuselage on the following day. On March 22nd of that year, the newly revised engine by Eye Tech Ltd. was also fitted. After all of the systems had been fitted, the first ground run of Marinell took place on June 21st , followed by the first flight on July 26th .

As with many restored P-51s, the fuselage tank gave way for a passenger seat. Other than that, Marinell is one of the most detailed projects out there:

  • It has a Packard Merlin 1650-7 engine, overhauled by Maurice Hammond under the direct control of Eye Tech Engineering Ltd.
  • The propeller is a four bladed Hamilton Standard 24D50-65/7005-7
  • The Mustang is equipped to carry two 75 US gallon auxiliary fuel tanks which can be released in an emergency by the bomb salvo levers
  • The oxygen system has been deleted with the exception of some of the components which have been kept for originality but with non-functioning capability
  • A K-14 gunsight is installed
  • An AN/APS-13 Tail Warning Radar is installed

Her permit to fly came through on September 10th , 2008. Marinell is based at Hardwich Warbirds, together with P-51 “Janie” and various other warbirds and is a regular visitor at airshows across the UK.

Janie & Marinell taxying at North Weald, 25th April 2010
Marinell & Janie, starting up and taking off from Hardwick Airfield
First Flight

Date Registry Owner

1944




1988
2008

44-13521





G-MRLL

Built at NAA plant in Inglewood, California
Shipped to UK on June 6th
Operational with 504th FS of 339th FG as 4413521/5Q-B/Marinell
Crashed on August 13th on a fighter sweep/bombing mission, flown by 2nd Lt. Myer Winkelman
Acquired by Maurice Hammond, Hardwick Warbirds, Eye, Suffolk
First ground run after restoration
Permit to fly on September 10th

Paintscheme information


44-13521 was taken on charge on June 30th , 1944. She was shipped to the UK where she became a part of the 504th FS, 339 th FG and was assigned to Lt. Bradford V. Stevens. This Mustang was lost on August 13th , 1944, whilst being flown by 2nd Lt. Myer B. Winkleman, during a fighter sweep/bombing mission against the marshalling yards at St. Quentin, Fonguenias, Beauvais and St. Omer. It was last seen attempting a belly landing north of Paris.


The name

The Mustang was named after Lt. Bradford V. Steven's girlfriend at that time, Mary Nell Stokes. The name was painted in an Insignia Red colour.

The pilot

Lt. Bradford Stevens from Hood River, Oregon, started out in the P-51B (43-24781) which was named “Miss Haag”. On June 30th , 1944, he exchanged it for the new D-model which he named “Marinell”.

With this Mustang, Stevens, a Captain by then, scored one aerial victory on September 12th , 1944.

You can read his combat mission reports of his missions here:

Name
Rank
Unit
Date
Credits
Stevens, Bradford V. 1st Lieutenant 504th FS 05-30-1944 2
Stevens, Bradford V. Captain 504th FS 09-12-1944 1
      Total credits 3

The paint scheme

The newly arrived 339th FG was originally scheduled for service with the 9th AF, but was exchanged with the 8th AF for the P-47 equipped 50th FG. They became assigned to the 8th AF on April 4th , 1944, and were stationed at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire until October 10th , 1945. Their nickname became “The lads from Fowlmere”.

In mid-march of 1944 they were assigned a red and white checkerboard by SHAEF. The checkerboard consisted of two
6-inch vertical rows of Insignia Red squared over an Identification White base. The spinners were equally divided into three bands of white, red and white.

Various pictures show that a variation was used in the placement of the checkerboard: on some images the checkerboard terminates at a point just a bit forward the exhaust manifold cut-out, while other photographs show the checkerboard overlapping the cut-out area, albeit by just a few inches.

The group flew its first combat mission on April 30th , 1944. This was also the date at which they became operational with the P-51 Mustang. They were at that time the 5th FG of the 8th AF to convert to the P-51.

Due to the relatively late arrival of the 339th in the ETO, all aircraft assigned to the Group squadrons were P-51Bs of the natural metal finish variety. The QIM markings and squadron code letters were thus exclusively painted in black. These would all comply with 8 th Fighter Commands prescribed size, letter style and placement for similarly equipped Mustang units. Later replacement aircraft would include the C-, D- and K-series P-51s.

The 8th AF advice in May of 1944 to apply camouflage paint to the upper surfaces of the aircraft was not followed by the 339th FG.

As with other British based USAAF units, full D-Day Invasion Stripes were applied to all of the Groups serviceable combat aircraft immediately prior to the Normandy invasion. At that time the Squadron codes were reinstated in black on the white band. The Invasion Stripes would continue to be displayed by all Squadrons of the 339th FG until a directive was issues to convert to the “half stripe” pattern later in the summer of 1944.

In October of 1944, the 8th AF issued an order for additional squadron identification by means of coloured rudders. These individual colours were adopted by the 503rd and 504th FS in November of 1944 and by early December most of their
P-51 rudders displayed the respective unit colours.

The 503rd FS (unit code “D7”) used Insignia Red, the 504th FS (unit code “5Q”) adopted British Dark Green as their rudder colour and the 505th (unit code “6N”) opted to use no colour. The 505th rudders would remain unpainted for the remainder of the war.

In some rare cases the Olive Drab anti-glare panel was extended back to encompass the entire main canopy area.

With the application of the coloured rudders of both the 503rd and 504th FS, the existing black 12-inch wide horizontal QIM stripe was mostly over-painted, thus leaving the leading edge of the marker intact. In other cases it was removed entirely prior to the addition of the colour paint.

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

We can assume that the timeframe of the paint scheme of G-MRLL is situated somewhere between September 12th, 1944, and late November of 1944:

  • The Invasion Stripes were changed to their “half markings” on August 6th , 1944
  • Capt. Bradford Stevens scored his 3rd aerial kill on September 12th , 1944 and G-MRLL displays 4 kill markings
  • G-MRLL has an unpainted rudder. The 504th adopted British Dark Green rudders in late November of 1944.

It is unclear however where the 4th kill marking originated on G-MRLL. I've been unable to find any documented evidence of Capt. Bradford Stevens' 4th kill. If you are able to help us out on that one, please feel free to contact us.

G-MRLL also has a marking “our little friends” on the port side of the canopy frame. This marking does not seem to show on an original image of 44-13521 in 1944.

Pictures of G-MRLL Marinell

   

 

Walkaround pictures of G-MRLL Marinell

 

Contributor pictures of G-MRLL Marinell

     

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

1
2
3, 5, 22, 23
4
6
7
8
9
10
11, 12
13
14-19
20
21, 22

© Stephen Blee
© Mick Bajcar
© Martin Stephen
© John Allan
© Simon Thomas
© John Meyers
© PaulHP
© Gareth Horne
© Gary Stedman
© Rinze De Vries
© Stuart Thurtle
© Huw Hopkins
© Jarrod Cotter for Warbird Depot
© Martin Stephen

Pictures of the original "Marinell"

   

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

Usefull links

339th Fighter Group

Copyright © Christophe Haentjens - http://www.crazyhorseap.be