112 'Shark' Squadron

The Menace

Tomahawk IIB AN218, coded 'B' and named 'Menace' was flown by Flying Officer Neville Bowker.
These shots were among the first group of photos to be released showing 112 Squadron's then-new
sharkmouth motif, providing inspiration for the A.V.G. in China/Burma to decorate their P-40s
in a similar fashion. The following is the news tag from the reverse of the photo, dated 10/16/41:

Tomahawk Fighters Retouched
Africa -- As if U.S.-built Tomahawk fighters with RAF pilots at the controls weren't disquieting
enough to the Axis airmen fighting over Africa, an artist attached to an RAF squadron has gone to
work on the outfit's Tomahawks with this horrendous result. The sleek lines of the American fighters
lend themselves very well to this transformation into man-eating sharks.

Project 914 Archives - Larger Image

From: LIFE Unknown Issue - Larger Image

Brushing a Shark's Teeth

The Imperial War Museum caption for this photo reads:

"Mechanics perform an engine change on Curtiss Tomahawk Mark IIB, AK475 'GA-J'
of No. 112 Squadron RAF at a landing ground in the Western Desert."

Imperial War Museum - Larger Image

A little to the right...

This well-known and widely-published photo shows a Kittyhawk I of 112 Squadron taxiing
at Sidi Heneish Landing Ground, Egypt with the requisite spotter sitting on the port wing.

Project 914 Archives (S. Donacik collection) - Larger Image

Shark Handlers

Men of 112 Squadron with one of their sharks. I have conflicting info as to who is who,
except the fella on the left; Clive Caldwell, who is also shown in the next two photos.

RAAF - Larger Image

Desert Brass

The next two photos were taken on March 28th, 1942 during a visit by Air Vice Marshall
Arthur Coningham during which 112 Squadron was presented its new badge. I have conflicting
information as to the location... it was either Gambut Airfield in Libya or Sidi Heneish, Egypt.
Shown in each photo is Coningham and Squadron Leader Clive Caldwell, 112 Squadron's C.O.

Imperial War Museum - Larger Image

Andrew Main via RAFWEB - Larger Image

Toothless Shark

This Kittyhawk IA has either yet to receive 112 Squadron's distinctive sharkmouth
motif or has had replacement cowling panels fitted.

San Diego Air & Space Museum - Larger Image

Triple Bite

The Imperial War Museum's caption for the following photo reads:

"Three Curtiss Kittyhawk Mark IIIs of No 112 Squadron, Royal Air Force preparing
to depart from Medenine on a sortie. The pilots of FR472 'GA-L' and FR440 'GA-V',
are waiting for the section leader in the farthest aircraft to move out. All
three Kittyhawks display the squadron's distinctive 'shark mouth' insignia."

Imperial War Museum - Larger Image

A closer look at FR440...

Imperial War Museum - Larger Image

... and the other two ships.

Imperial War Museum - Larger Image

Vanquished Shark

This Kittyhawk was brought down by ground fire near San Stephano, Sicily on August 3rd, 1943.

National Archives and Records Administration via Fold3 - Larger Image

Another view...

Project 914 Archives - Larger Image

Italian Sharks

Kittyhawks of 112 Squadron depart for a mission from Foggia Airbase, Italy.

Project 914 Archives (S. Donacik collection) - Larger Image

The above image was scanned from a cropped print in the webmaster's collection.
Here's the full photo, from the Imperial War Museum's archives...

Imperial War Museum

Kittyhawk III FR806 (equivalent to the P-40M), coded GA-Q at Foggia Main, Italy,
stands ready for a sortie with two 250lb bombs under the belly and three 40 pounders
under each wing. This ship is unusual in that it appears to be painted OD over gray.

Project 914 Archives - Larger Image

Some 'Sharks' receive a bit of TLC at Brindisi Landing Ground, Italy, September of 1943.
Of note are the mis-matched cowling panels on the Kittyhawk nearest the camera.

Project 914 Archives - Larger Image

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