Red or Green

Research done by Clarence Simonsen

There is no possible way to confirm the original colors, and black and white film [British and American] each turned out a different shade of dark colors. Yellow on British film showed up very dark, and so on.
Over 50 years, I have a pretty good guess at what colors look like, etc. Then I just go with the info. I have gathered by interviews, photo collections, etc. If someone offers good proof of the colors, that is what you go with. These young men were fighting a war and dying.

Mat Ferguson of Calgary created this first 416 Cougar, and it was in his photo album, [which I had in my hands] but Mat had been murdered years before, and the nose art info. is lost forever. If you look at the Mat Ferguson nose art paintings, in 416, and 424 Squadrons, his trademark became the background with a large “RED” Maple Leaf. Born in England, Mat was raised in Calgary and very proud to be a Canadian, that’s why he painted the Maple Leaf, and that came from Mrs. Ferguson. The Spitfire is camouflaged with dark green in this area, and I know Mat wanted contrast in his colors, so I believe the large Maple Leaf, [which some people believe was three, it was not!] was dark and light red. No artist would paint green on a green aircraft background unless he wanted camouflage.

In 1940-42 the RAF single-engine monoplanes used Pattern No. 1 [above] and the land scheme was Dark Green/ Dark Earth color.

This Ferguson nose art featured his same Maple Leaf background, which was Dark Red, with a trim the same shade as the cougar skin, tan or light brown. Again, the Pattern No. 1 camouflage should be a Dark Green Spitfire skin in this area. The RAF Pattern was just a guide for the spray painters to follow, and that’s the best I can offer.
The Maple Leaf in circle, on many RCAF WWII bombers was always Dark Red, which by 1945 had replaced the red circle in the British Roundel, today the Official RCAF marking.

The official WWII badge, by British Chester Herald contained a Gold Maple Leaf, surrounded by gold Maple Leafs, only approved for use by RCAF Squadrons in WWII.

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