Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mountbatten Pink

Wow, the pilot of this WWII Supermarine Spitfire must be really comfortable with his masculinity to fly a pink plane, right? Or maybe that's how the RAF rolls- gangsta. No, that is not it. The color of is known as Mountbatten Pink. It was developed by Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1940 as a camouflage paint scheme for ships of the Royal Navy. The story of its creation is that while on convoy protection mission, he saw that one of the ships seemed to disappear from his sight faster than the rest. The ship was the Union Castle liner and it had been brought into the Royal Navy recently and still had its "civilian" lavender or mauve paint. Lord Mountbatten thought the color so effective a camouflage that he had all the ships under his command painted in his new favorite color. Mountbatten pink was reportedly out of use on larger Navy ships by the end 1944, but it seems its use in the desert was continued. It was famously used in the North Africa Campaign on the vehicles of the Special Air Service (or SAS, you might have heard of them) I posted a pic of a post-WWII "pinkie" as they were called, a while back.

The Spitfire seen above was an unarmed variant used for aerial reconnaissance by 16 Squadron in 1944 and was well liked by the pilots even though there were not many of them. Fast forward to the 1991 Gulf War, and Mountbatten Pink or a very close facsimile appears again in the Royal Air Force. Below are some pictures of various RAF aircraft with pink, mauve, etc. camouflage scheme. Most are from the Gulf War era.

A Star Wars reference always goes over well with me
I can't tell what type of aircraft this one is though

A Victor tanker - probably not in Saudi Arabia, given the snow

I especially like this one. Topless nose art always a favorite of mine
The aircraft is a Sepecat Jaguar

This one is a Blackburn Buccaneer, a low-level strike aircraft


  1. The third plane (with the nose-art girl) is an old french/brit design "Jaguar".
    They were used for ground attack and reco during gulf war and retired from service.

  2. Second picture is a Victor Tanker
    Not a Vulcan.

    Sorry to be a pedant.

  3. Thanks fellas, I am not too up on the older RAF craft. You are dead on with the Victor Tanker, I was worried that might not be right.