The Best Fighter The Navy Never Had
Scale Aircraft Modelling|October 2021
The Boulton Paul SeaFiant Mk IV and VII
Henk de Jong

Kit No: 02069

Scale: 1/72

Type: Injection Moulded Plastic

Manufacturer: Airfix


Sub-Lieutenant Eric Butterworth, nicknamed Buttsy by his squadron mates,a pilot with 806 NAS, Fleet Air Arm, was writing a letter home in the wardroom of HMS Illustrious when the alarm sounded. He was not surprised, as the old tub was escorting a convoy carrying supplies to Malta, and it was to be expected that the Italians would try to intervene. He dropped his pen, grabbed his flying helmet with its oxygen mask and ran out to the hangar deck. There he met his navigator, LAC Jones who was in the process of installing himself in the rear cockpit of their SeaFiant Mk IV. “Come on, Buttsy, the Italians won’t wait!” Jones called. Butterworth hastily ascended his cockpit and started his pre-flight procedures. Immediately their SeaFiant, N4129, coded H, was pushed towards the ship’s elevator and before they knew they were on the flight deck, hooked onto the catapult, and with full power from the Rolls Royce Merlin XX they shot offthe deck, into the blue Mediterranean sky. Butterworth tried to concentrate on the R/T information about the altitude and position of the attacking force of Savoia Marchetti SM 79s but he could not help thinking about their great fortune in making this intercept in the brand new Seafiant with its top speed of nearly 330mph and its phenomenal climb, instead of the Blackburn Skua on which the squadron had worked up. Those crates barely made 225mph, and even the SM 79s were faster than that.

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