Grumman F4F Wildcat

The Grumman F4F Wildcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service in 1940 with both the United States Navy, the British Royal Navy where it was known as the Martlet. First used in combat by the British in the North Atlantic, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of World War II in 1941 and 1942. With a top speed of 318 mph, the Wildcat was outperformed by the faster 331 mph, more maneuverable, longer-ranged Mitsubishi A6M Zero. However, the F4F's ruggedness, coupled with tactics such as the Thach Weave, resulted in a claimed air combat kill-to-loss ratio of 5.9:1 in 1942 and 6.9:1 for the entire war. Lessons learned from the Wildcat were applied to the faster F6F Hellcat. While the Wildcat had better range and maneuverability at low speed, the Hellcat could rely on superior power and high speed performance to outperform the Zero; the Wildcat continued to be built throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where larger and heavier fighters could not be used.

Grumman fighter development began with the two-seat Grumman FF biplane. The FF was the first U. S. naval fighter with a retractable landing gear. The wheels retracted into the fuselage, leaving the tires visibly exposed, flush with the sides of the fuselage. Two single-seat biplane designs followed, the F2F and F3F, which established the general fuselage outlines of what would become the F4F Wildcat. In 1935, while the F3F was still undergoing flight testing, Grumman started work on its next biplane fighter, the G-16. At the time, the U. S. Navy favored a monoplane design, the Brewster F2A-1, ordering production early in 1936. However, an order was placed for Grumman's G-16 as a backup in case the Brewster monoplane proved to be unsatisfactory, it was clear to Grumman that the XF4F-1 would be inferior to the Brewster monoplane, so Grumman abandoned the XF4F-1, designing instead a new monoplane fighter, the XF4F-2. The XF4F-2 would retain the same, fuselage-mounted, hand-cranked main landing gear as the F3F, with its narrow track.

The unusual manually-retractable main landing gear design for all of Grumman's U. S. Navy fighters up to and through the F4F, as well as for the amphibious Grumman J2F utility biplane, was created in the 1920s by Leroy Grumman for Grover Loening. Landing accidents caused by failure of the main gear to lock into place were distressingly common; the overall performance of Grumman's new monoplane was felt to be inferior to that of the Brewster Buffalo. The XF4F-2 was marginally faster, it was chosen for production. After losing out to Brewster, Grumman rebuilt the prototype as the XF4F-3 with new wings and tail and a supercharged version of the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 "Twin Wasp" radial engine. Testing of the new XF4F-3 led to an order for F4F-3 production models, the first of, completed in February 1940. France ordered the type, powered by a Wright R-1820 "Cyclone 9" radial engine, but France fell to the Axis powers before they could be delivered and the aircraft went instead to the British Royal Navy, who christened the new fighter the Martlet.

The U. S. Navy adopted the aircraft type on 1 October 1941 as the Wildcat; the Royal Navy's and U. S. Navy's F4F-3s, armed with four.50 in Browning machine guns, joined active units in 1940. On 16 December 1940, the XF4F-3 prototype, BuNo 0383, c/n 356, modified from XF4F-2, was lost under circumstances that suggested that the pilot may have been confused by the poor layout of fuel valves and flap controls and inadvertently turned the fuel valve to "off" after takeoff rather than selecting flaps "up"; this was the first fatality in the type. Before the Wildcat had been purchased by the U. S. Navy, the French Navy and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm had ordered the Wildcat, with their own configurations, via the Anglo-French Purchasing Board; the F4F Wildcat was taken on by the FAA as an interim replacement for the Fairey Fulmar. The Fulmar was a two-seat fighter with good range but operated at a performance disadvantage against single-seater fighters. Navalised Supermarine Spitfires were not available because of the greater need of the Royal Air Force.

In the European theater, the Wildcat scored its first combat victory on Christmas Day 1940, when a land-based Martlet destroyed a Junkers Ju 88 bomber over the Scapa Flow naval base. This was the first combat victory by a US-built fighter in British service in World War II; the type pioneered combat operations from the smaller escort carriers. Six Martlets went to sea aboard the converted former German merchant vessel HMS Audacity in September 1941 and shot down several Luftwaffe Fw 200 Condor bombers during effective convoy escort operations; these were the first of many Wildcats to engage in aerial combat at sea. The British received 300 Eastern Aircraft FM-1s as the Martlet V in 1942–43 and 340 FM-2s as the Wildcat VI. In total, nearly 1,200 Wildcats would serve with the FAA. By January 1944, the Martlet name was dropped and the type was identified as the Wildcat. In March 1945, Wildcats shot down four Messerschmitt Bf 109s over Norway, the FAA's last victory with a Wildcat. I would still assess the Wildcat as the outstanding naval fighter of the early years of World War II...

I can vouch as a matter of personal experience, this Grumman fighter was one of the finest shipboard aeroplanes created. The last air-raid of the war in Europe was carried out by Fleet Air Ar

Francis Bernasconi

Francis Bernasconi, aka Francisco Bernasconi, was an English ornamental carver and plasterer of Italian descent. He became one of the most successful ornamental plasterers in Georgian Britain. Francis Bernasconi was the son of Bartholomew Bernasconi, who hailed from a family of architects and stuccoists from the environs of Lugano, Switzerland, he is to have been related to the ornamental plasterer Bernardo or Bernato Bernasconi, "a poor man with a large fameley in the town of Buckingham". His more distant cousins of the same Lugano dynasty included various architects and stuccatore active in Italy, Germany and Russia. Gothic stucco work for Cobham Hall, Kent Mouldings and heraldic shields in Windsor Castle Interior plasterwork in Laurieston House, 51-2 Carlton Place, Glasgow. In this he worked for architect Peter Nicholson, his work here was of the Neo-Classical Adam Style and he collaborated with a team of Italian craftsmen. The recent excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii provided inspiration for the design of the figurative mouldings and other decorative plasterwork.

There are references to classical mythology such as Castor and Pollux and Andromache, Aeneas carrying Anchises and The Temptations of Hercules. This is the finest intact Georgian house in the city and listed category A, however it is boarded up and inaccessible. There is a statue of Minerva in this house. Plasterwork at Grosvenor House, London, he was paid £2,097.1809-11 the plasterwork of the grand staircase hall at Taymouth Castle for the Marquis of BreadalbaneRepairs to Trinity College in Cambridge, using Roman Cement to cover the east side of the great court. Repairs to the choir screen in York Minster. Gothic ornaments at Chicksands Priory, Bedfordshire. Carving of the canopy of the Cardinal Wolsley statue, Christ Church, Oxford; the grand staircase in Buckingham Palace, for which he was employed by the Prince Regent to model four sculpture groups from designs by Alfred Joseph Stothard.. Gothic decoration at Blithfield Hall; the patron, Lord Bagot, described his work on the Great Hall as being "as perfect a specimen... as has been executed in modern times."

Altarpiece, Westminster Abbey. He had a son Bartholomew and a daughter Frances, both of whom survived him, his nephew, George Vincent Bernasconi, was employed in Francis Bernasconi's company. George Henry Bernasconi, was photographer, he died on 1 January 1841 from asthma at his home of 19 Alfred Place, London. Glasgow, City of Sculpture Copy of Francis Bernasconi's Death Certificate, St Giles in the Fields & St George Bloomsbury Registration district. Francis Bernasconi's Last Will and Testament, proved 10 July 1841 George Henry Bernasconi Family Register. George Henry Bernasconi's marriage certificate

Old Custom House Inn, Chester

The Old Custom House Inn is located at 69 and 71 Watergate Street, Cheshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building; the inn originated from their undercrofts now forming the inn's cellars. The older house, on the east side, is dated 1637, the west house dates from the early 18th century. Part of Chester Rows passed through the buildings, but this was enclosed in 1711; the inn incorporates a former cottage to its rear built on a burgage plot. When it opened as an inn it was called The Star Inn, but changed its name in the late 18th century because the custom house of the port of Chester stood opposite; the building has been altered on a number of occasions, most in the 1990s when an extension was added to the rear of the former west house. The former east house is constructed with sandstone in the lower storey, timber framing above, it has an undercroft, two storeys plus an attic. On the side facing Watergate Street is a gable, an entrance door, a beer-drop door, a five-light transomed window in the lower storey.

Between the storeys is a bressumer carved with vine leaves and the initials "T. W. A.". The upper storey contains a seven-light transomed oriel window, with a small two-light window on each side. Around these windows are panels, some of which are plain, the others arched; the gable is jettied and carries the date 1637. It contains a three-light mullioned casement window with herringbone struts at the sides and above it; the bargeboards are plain. The former west house has a rendered lower storey, a brick upper storey, it has a doorway and two three-light windows in the lower storey, sash windows above. The former cottage at the rear is in Georgian style, it is constructed in brick with a grey slate roof. It contains sash windows, two dormers in the gables above. Many alterations have been carried out to the interior of the inn, but it does retain oak beams dating from about 1642, a carved stone fireplace. Grade II listed buildings in Chester Website of inn