Back to original thread!
OK, an archaeology question of sorts. Would be interesting to know general thoughts on this as it has not really been discussed. (You might have to refer back to original photo if you have it or look at the Key site).
The writing on the hatch.
It seems to say
TO BE LOCKED
SHUT BEFORE FLIGHT
Q - Was this applied in the factory - if so does not seems to be a clear stencil, more hand painted.
Q - Is it two separate phases 'Cowl button to be locked' and later 'shut before flight'.
Q - The writing seems to have been painted 'above/around' the grey modified latch plate.
so, if not factory
Q - was it applied at the MU when assembled when the modified hatch latch was fitted?
Q - if this was the case and it was painted over the roundel would it have been painted over before issue to 260Sqn. Also a note in white paint over white roundel so does not make it readable!
Trouble is it seems to have survived the best which seems to indicate it was not applied last though was applied with thick paint by brush?
Bit a quandary. No evidence on other P40's ever having this though not many show the modified hatch latch.
Bit of a head scratch!!!
Probably a British field mod or depot level mod.
The dry cell battery is also different than the lead acid used on them from the factory or at least in US operations.
One reason for easy access in that compartment is the APU connector just below the electrical panel on the far side of the fus. This would be were an electrical external power source could be connected to for the the engine start.
I wonder if all starts were done with a battery cart or APU as the battery would also need to be used after take off to raise the landing gear as the hyd system pump was run by a electrical motor. A used up battery for a hard starting engine would be a problem to get the gear up in a scramble take off situation.