WW2 RAF Manby Metal Transit Case Holding Two PT15 (VT104) Pentode Valves/ Tubes
This is a little piece of RAF history in the form of a WW2 RAF Manby Metal Transit Case Holding Two PT15 (VT104) Pentode Valves/ Tubes.
For those whom struggle with valve identification, (that includes me!), these are the output valves for the T1154 Radio Communications Transmitter as used in the iconic WW2 aircraft; Lancaster, Halifax, Wellington and Sunderland. Curiously, the case internals are yellow felt-baize as seen on many Army ZA valve transit cases, but this one, sized for fitment of a pair of PT15, is definitely RAF as evidenced by the stencilled script.
Whether or not this is an official RAF sanctioned piece of kit or a pride of ownership item by a W/T operator, we couldn’t say but I’ll bet this interesting item could tell a tale or two. Again, we wonder did it fly or was it a ground based item; possibly the latter judging by its weight! The stencilled writing on the top cover is suitably crude, just like RAF labelling, and it is covered in some sort of dark varnish/Cosmoline in a rather rough manner which smacks of wartime labours being functional rather than aesthetic.
Approximate Box Dimensions
The pentodes have good output, as tested on a calibrated valve tester, and the results are recorded on the yellow label. They are a matched pair of valves.
The PT15 triodes are stencilled with:
The air ministry arrow
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Interestingly we had never heard of Manby but a quick internet search reveals that Manby airfield in Lincolnshire, officially opened in August 1938 as home to No.1 Air Armament School, (AAS) training Armament Officers, Air Gunners and Air bombers. By 1941, Manby had its first officially known defence squadron, No. 2782, with its personnel manning various machine guns, 20mm cannons and Bofors.
On the 21st December 1940, the defence squadron at Manby were credited with shooting down a Ju88, which shortly after crashed at South Cockerington. Unbeknown to the personnel on the ground, the Bristol Beaufighter about to intercept the Ju88 was being piloted by Flt Lt Guy Gibson (of Dambuster fame).
After WW2 the airfield continued to support piston engined and jet aircraft with Jet Provosts being the final type to serve. Manby station officially closed on 31st March 1974. Today, the former RAF Manby is a thriving Industrial Estate and many of the old buildings including the control tower, C-type hangars, administration buildings, messes and barracks, have survived.