INDEX OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT
|Grumman J4F Widgeon|
The Fleet Air Arm received 15 Grumman Widgeon G-44A J4F-2 Widgeon I delivered under Contract No Noa(S) 455 and numbered FP455-FP469. These started to be delivered to the RN for intended communications in the West Indies area. The first FP455 was delivered in October 1943 and most sent to Brunswick between March 1944 till April 1945. 738 squadron at Lewiston started to be equipped in July 1944. Operational squadrons equipped with the Widgeon included 857 squadron from May 1944 at Squantum (eg FP457), and 1835 squadron at Brunswick in January 1945.
Widgeon were based at the USNAS Air Training Centre, Pensacola from August till April 1945 for the Senior British Naval Officer. Most Widgeons were returned to US Navy charge between October and December 1945
One of the final Grumman Widgeons in RN service, was numbered JS996. It was was based at Nassau in 1943, and later used at the Foreign Commission, Miami in February 1946 as the Admirals Barge.
Post War some of the US aircraft were converted to Super Widgeon configuration and still fly commercially in USA, and New Zealand.
Fleet Air Arm history
Grumman G-44A J4F-2 Widgeon
Total FAA 1939-1945: 15
First delivered to RN: 1943
First squadron 1939 -1945: 857 squadron from May 1944
Last served with RN 1946
10.43 (FP455). Most to Brunswick 3.44-4.45
Sqdn: 738 Lewiston 7.44 (FP455)
Op sqdn: 857 sqdn 5.44 Squantum (FP457), 1835 sqdn Brunswick 1.45
Most returned US Navy charge 10-12.45
Last JS996 Foreign Commission, Miami 2.46 as Admirals Barge.
Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA
A number of the former Fleet Air Arm Widgeons were returned to the US Navy after the war, and at least 4 of these have survived.
4 known former FAA aircraft include:
Maybe up to 100 wartime built Widgeons survive around the world, most are still operating in the US with over 74 airworthy US registered (built between 1941-1945). In addition preserved examples include the following: Shipping & Airlines Collection (Biggin Hill)(UK), National Museum of Naval Aviation (USA), Pima Air & Space Museum (USA), Norsk Teknisk Museum, Oslo (Norway), Museo Do Ar, Alverca do Ribatejo (Portugal) and the Museu De Marinha, Lisboa (Portugal). Many Widgeons were also converted to Super Widgeon configuration and a few still fly commercially in US and NZ, most notably in Alaska.
Widgeon Preserved Portugal Museum
National Naval Aviation Museum: (Widgeon: BuNo V212)
National Naval Aviation Museum: (Widgeon: BuNo V212): While on routine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, a Coast Guard crew flying a J4F attacked and sank the German submarine U-166 100 miles south of Houma, Louisiana with a bomb from its wing racks. Piloted by Ensign Henry White, USCG, the aircraft involved (BuNo V212) is on display. It was received in a flyable condition from Steve Hamilton of Reno, Nevada with post-war conversion from the original in-line, 200 hp Ranger engines with wooden propellers.
ZK-AVM in Super Widgeon configuration owned by Salt Air (NZ)
Widgeons currently resident in New Zealand (See Kiwi Aircraft Images by P Treweek for details) include:
- ZK-AVM (c/n 1466 ex N86640, VH-AZO, ZK-AVM, VH-WET, PT-WET) was built in 1946 as a G-44A and later converted to Super Widgeon configuration by TEAL. Exported to Australia in 1947, it operated for Australasian Petroleum/ Vacuum Oil Co. in New Guinea until December 1950. Its subsequent service is recorded above (apart from an excursion to Australia in 1978). Exported to Cairns in May 1987, the aircraft went on the New Guinea register in April 1994 (to Hassim Expeditions and tours). Today ZK-AVM is owned by Owen Harnish and operated by Salt Air Ltd at Paihia.
- ZK-CFA (c/n 1439 ex NC86613, CU-P346, N9096R) a G-44A was built for M.S.Pruyn in 1946, and later exported to Cuba. After returning to the US, it was imported to New Zealand in June 1963 and later converted by TEAL to Super Widgeon configuration. Today it is owned by Owen Harnish, and alternates in service with AVM for Salt Air. As at July 1999 the aircraft was stripped down at Whitford for deep maintenance.
- ZK-CHG (c/n 1356 ex BuNo37726, N97102) a G-44/ J4F-2 was built for the US Navy in 1944. It was civilianised in 1946 and operated in the US. The aircraft was imported to New Zealand in May 1964. Today it is stored in dismantled condition with Owen Harnish at Whitford. It last flew around 1975.
Associations and reunions