Bristol Beaufighter – The Whispering Death

From the RAF; Bristol Beaufighter – The Whispering Death

Developed as a private venture by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Beaufighter was a two-seat all-metal fighter using components from the Beaufort torpedo-bomber. First flown on July 17 1939, the Beaufighter eventually equipped 52 RAF squadrons, giving outstanding service during World War II, in particular as a night-fighter and torpedo-bomber (where the aircraft were affectionally known as ‘Torbeaus’).

Entry into Fighter Command service came during August 1940 with the Fighter Interception Unit at Tangmere. The following month, five squadrons received the Mark 1F equipped with Mark IV Air Intercept radar for night-fighter duties although the type’s first kill wasn’t until November of that year. The Beaufighter continued as a night-fighter until 1943, and the last aircraft (a TT10) was not retired from RAF service until 1960, nearly 21 years after the type’s first flight.

Bristol Beaufighter – Ten Gun Terror

RAF Bristol Beaufighters Attack Retreating Afrika Korps – 1942

Day in the life of a British Squadron During World War Two – Film 7258

Bristol Beaufighter in action

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About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

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February 24, 2014 11:13 pm

Surely no discussion of the Beaufighter can neglect its role monstering Japanese fleet air defenses at the Battle of the Bismarck Sea?

dave haine
dave haine
February 25, 2014 9:39 am

Don’t forget the US nightfighter squadrons….largely equipped with Beau’s, until very late in the war.

February 25, 2014 8:33 pm

In the long shadow cast by the Mosquito, but gave sterling service. Read this chap’s book many years ago, “Night Fighter,” which heavily features the Beaufighter:

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
February 26, 2014 2:17 pm

My father, who flew B-17s from England and, later, B-29s from Saipan/Tinian, told of being escorted in a shot-up Fortress to his airfield in Kent from fairly deep in France by three Beaufighters that found him skimming the treetops after an unfortunate visit to Germany. One of the Beaufighters ranged out in front while the other two stayed right with him. Over the English Channel two of the Beaufighters turned around and went back over occupied France. The third fighter saw Dad’s B-17 “safely” to the ground whereupon it made a low pass over the field and disappeared just over the rooftops of the nearby village.

Dad’s B-17 belly landed and was removed from the runway by bulldozers. Four of his crew died, and five were wounded but recovered. Dad didn’t have a scratch but had to be lifted from the plane due to exhaustion.

He never was able to find out who the crews were or to what squadron they were assigned. Since his radios were wrecked, he wasn’t even able to thank them. He said he owed them a drink.

I can only assume that they were on an intruder mission when they came upon my father’s badly shot-up bomber and decided to see how long he could keep it in the air.

I’ve always had, understandably I suppose, a soft spot for Beaus and their crews.