Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & Marc Arys  © sbap 2016
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Mk Ia Mk Vb
 Mk IXe Mk XVIe
  
 
 
N3200    Spitfire Mk Ia (Imperial War Museum)

Owned and operated by the Imperial War Museum, based at Duxford Airfield. 
Built at the Supermarine factory at Southampton, N3200 made its first flight on 29th November 1939 and after storage, was delivered to 19 Squadron at Duxford on 19th April 1940. Ex 19 Sqn machine, it sports the QV squadron codes it wore when it was shot down on 26 May 1940 in support of the Operation Dynamo evacuation of Dunkirk with Sqn Ldr Geoffrey Stevenson, 19 Sqn OC, at the controls. It was shot down and made a wheels up landing on the beach near Sangatte, France on 25th May 1940. Covered by the sea and sand, the wreck was forgotten until discovered and recovered in 1986.
N3200 was restored to airworthy condition by Historic Flying Limited, Duxford and its first post-restoration flight took place on 26 March 2014 from the airfield
in the hands of John Romain.. Donated to the Imperial War Museum Duxford on 9 July 2015 by American billionaire and conservationist Thomas Kaplan (aka Mark One Partnership LLC), accepted on behalf of the museum by its Patron, Prince William (Duke of Cambridge).

 
 
 
 
 
P9374     Spitfire Mk Ia (Historic Flight Limited)

Owned by the Mark One Partnership LLC, and based at Duxford Airfield. Restored to airworthy condition and made its first post-restoration flight at Duxford on 9 September 2011. It wears the exact colours it wore flying with 92 Sqn from RAF Croydon when shot down on 24 May 1940, P9374 / -J, and it landed on the beach at Calais, France. It was flown by Flying Officer Peter Cazenove, who survived the crash and was taken prisoner by the Germans. He was held in Stalag Luft III and involved in the Great Escape.

 
 
 
 
 
X4650     Spitfire Mk Ia  (Commanche Fighters) 

Based at Duxford Airfield, previously at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, Biggin Hill, Kent. 
Wears normaly the authentic markings X4650 / KL-A from 54 Squadron, which it wore when with the Squadron in 1940. 
But currently the plane is
painted as R9632/LC for the coming movie “Dunkirk”
X4650’s first flight was at Eastleigh on the 23rd October 1940. She was issued to 24 M.U. Tern Hill, Shropshire, UK on the 25th October 1940 on charge with 54 Sqn. Catterick, Yorkshire. She was involved in a mid-air collision in December 1940 and struck off charge in June 1941. The wreckage was discovered on the banks of the river Lever in 1976. The remains were acquired by Peter Monk in 1995 and soon after restoration work on her was commenced. First post restoration flight was from Biggin Hill in March 2012. She is now owned by Comanche Fighters, Houston, Texas.

 
 
 
 
 
EP120     Spitfire Mk Vb  (The Fighter Collection)

Owned by The Fighter Collection and based at Duxford. Wears the markings EP120 / AE-A from 402 (RCAF) Squadron, 
which it wore when it flew with the Squadron.
This Spitfire is one of the most credited historic aircraft left anywhere in the world with an impressive seven confirmed kills. EP120 was built at the Castle Bromwich factory where she was probably test flown by the legend that was Alex Henshaw. She was taken on charge by the RAF in May 1942 with 45 MU at Kinloss in Scotland. She was assigned to 501 Sqn the following month and scored six of her confirmed kills with Sqn Ldr Geoffrey Northcott at the helm. A ground collision saw her returned to Castle Bromwich for repair following which she was allocated to 19 Sqn in Cornwall. In April 1944 she was taken on charge with 402 Sqn ‘City of Winnipeg’ RCAF, coded AE-A, which are the colours she wears today.

 
 
 
 
 
EP122     Spitfire Mk Vb  (Commanche Fighters)

Originally ordered on 23 August 1941, EP122 was part of the fourth order placed with the Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory– comprising 904 aircraft built as Mks Vb and Vc’s. On the 8 June 1942 it was crated for shipment to the North African theater of operations. Shipped to Gibraltar on board the S.S. Guido on 12 June it was assembled at the local M.U. and delivered to Malta the following month and immediately pressed into service in defense of the island from sustained German and Italian air raids. EP122 was flown by 19-year old American volunteer, Sgt Claude Weaver III of Oklahoma City, he shot down two Bf 109s on 22 July, followed by another pair the next day and a half-share in a Ju.88 the day after that! Weaver had shot down a Bf109 on his first operation from Malta on 17 July 1942 and rapidly became the youngest Allied ace of World War II. He was decorated with the DFM, for destroying five enemy fighters and sharing in the destruction of a bomber within a period of one week. His score was up to ten before he was shot down over Sicily, force-landing another Spitfire, BR122, on a beach, and was taken prisoner on 9 September 1942. Weaver escaped, walked 300 miles and returned to operations with No.403 (RCAF) Sqdn in the European Theater in late October 1943 and claimed two more victories before he was shot down and killed whilst on a “Ranger” mission in the Amiens area on 28 January 1944. EP122 became the regular mount of Wg Cdr J.M. Thompson of No. 185 Sqdn and took up his personal code of JM-T. Thompson was leading a flight of eight Spitfires on 14 October, which engaged the second Luftwaffe raid of the day, when he shot down a Ju88. Thompson had pioneered head-on attacks whilst serving with No.111 Sqdn during the Battle of Britain and had been posted to Malta in July 1942 with Sir Keith Park, the new A.O.C. EP122 eventually joined No.1435 Sqdn as L but on 27 March 1943 it crash-landed on the edge of the cliff at Dwejra Bay, Gozo. EP122 was pushed over the cliff-edge into the bay shortly after. Subsequently parts from EP122 were recovered from the sea bed in the mid 1970’s. Restoration began and she now fly’s as an example of one of the most significant aircraft to have been involved in the defense of Malta.

 
 
 
 
 
 
BM597   Spitfire Mk Vb  (Historic Aircraft Collection)

Combat veteran, Spitfire Mk.Vb, (G-MKVB), BM597. One of 1000 aircraft built at Castle Bromwich against contract B981687/39, BM597 was delivered to No.37 M.U. at Burtonwood on 26 February 1942, being assigned to 315 Sqn on 7 May 1942 and on to 317 Sqn on 5 September 1942, both at Woodvale. On 13 February 1943, it suffered Cat B damage and was removed for repair on 28 February. It was ready for collection again on 2 June and No. 33 M.U. took delivery and on 9 June it was allocated to Vickers Armstrong for an undisclosed purpose. It returned to No.39 M.U. Colerne on 23 November before moving to No. 222 M.U.High Ercall (Packing Depot) on 4 January 1944 and then back to No. 39 M.U. on 14 April. It was stored there for almost a year until it was issued to No. 58 OTU, its last operational unit from which it was retired on 16 October 1945. It was then transferred to instructional airframe status at No. 4 S of TT, St Athan as 5713M. Following St Athan, BM597 was assigned to Hednesford (1950-1955, Bridgenorth (1955-1960) and Church Fenton (1960-1989) as gate guardian. On 23 January 1967 it was dispatched from Henlow to Pinewood where it was used as the master for the moulds that were made to cast the fibre glass replicas used in the film ‘Battle of Britain’. It remained at Pinewood until August 1968 when it was returned to Henlow and finally to Church Fenton in 1969. Tim Routsis, the founder of Historic Flying, recovered the aircraft in 1989 as part of a deal with the RAF and sold it to HAC in 1993 with Historic Flying undertaking the complete restoration to original specification and flies now in the colours of 317 Squadron, though in an earlier camouflage paint scheme.

 
 
 
 
 
PP972    Seafire Mk LF III  (Air Leasing)

Seafire MK III PP972 was one of 250 Type 358 Seafire L.F.III aircraft ordered from Westland Aircraft in July 1943. It left the works during September 1944. The aircraft was transferred to 809 Squadron Fleet Air Arm in November 1944 serving on HMS Stalker and then on HMS Attacker. PP972 then re-joined HMS Stalker in March 1945. HMS Stalker, with PP972 on board, left Gibraltar on the 7th of March 1945 for Trincomalee, Ceylon, with the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, arriving on the 20th of March. This then became part of the East Indies Fleet consisting of six CVE’s sent to re-occupy Singapore. During its time in Ceylon, operating from both HMS Stalker and from RNAS Trincomalee, PP972 was involved in numerous operations as part of Operation Tiderace, the British plan to retake Singapore.
Operation “Dracula”; providing air cover to support landings in Rangoon in May 1945, operation “Bishop”; a series of attacks on Japanese coastal bases, operation “Balsam”; offensive sweeps of Japanese airbases June 1945, operation “Collie”; providing air cover over the Malayan coast July 1945, operation “Zipper”; providing air cover for landings in Southern Malaya August 1945 and operation “Jurist”; providing air cover during landings at Port Swettenham on the 9th of September, and entering Singapore harbour on the 10th of September to support the Japanese surrender of Singapore back to British Colonial rule. During this significant period PP972 wore the codes “D-6M”.
PP972 then sailed aboard HMS Stalker back to the UK arriving in October 1945 and then returned to RNAS Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland.
Following the disbandment of 809 Sqdn in January 1946 it was taken by 767 Sqdn in May, initially at Easthaven, and eventually at Lossiemouth and Milltown where it received the Milltown code of 120/MV. The aircraft was then transferred to the French Aeronavale with code No. 12F2 then later to 1F9 when it was operated from the carrier “Arromanches” in Indo China. It was retired for instructional purposes in 1949. After it was retired from technical training it was placed in storage at Hyéres and eventually ended up in a wired off compound at Base Aeronavale 83 Gavres, near Loirent. It was privately purchased in 1970 and moved to the aerodrome at Vannes-Meucon. There the aircraft was restored to static condition and exhibited at the Resistance Museum at St Marcel from 1982. The aircraft was acquired by a new owner in 1987 and moved back to the UK.

 
 
 
 
 
ML407   Spitfire Mk IX T (Grace Spitfire/Air Leasing)

The Grace Spitfire ML407 was originally built at Castle Bromwich in early 1944 as a single seat fighter and served in the front line of battle throughout the last twelve months of World War II. ML407 flew a total of 176 operational combat sorties amassing an impressive total of 319 combat hours. Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton DFC who was accredited, whilst flying ML407, with the first enemy aircraft shot down over the Normandy beachhead on 6th June D-Day. ML407 was converted in 1950 to the two seat configuration for the Irish Air Corps as an advanced trainer. Design Engineer Nick Grace acquired ML407 in late 1979 from the Strathallan Museum and spent five years meticulously restoring the Spitfire to flying condition. After Nick Graces untimely death in a car accident Carolyn Grace took up the gauntlet of keeping this aircraft flying and now the next generation, being Richard Grace is not only maintaining the aircraft but is flying the aircraft just as his late father had done.

 
 
 
 
 
SM520   Spitfire Mk IX T  (Boultbee Aviation)

SM520 was built as a HF Mk IX at the Vickers Armstrong Castle Bromwich plant in 1944 and on October 23, 1944 she was delivered to 33 Maintenance Unit at Lyneham with RAF serial SM520. In 1948 she was sold to the South African Air Force. About her service life in South Africa is nothing known. In the 1970s she was discovered in a scrap yard in Cape Town, and aquired by Charles Church. Church started the first restorations on her but he died in a Spitfire crash in 1989. She was sold to Alan Dunkerley, and registered G-BXHZ. Durkerley sold her to Paul Portelli in June 2002 where she got registration G-ILDA assigned.
In 2005 Classic Aero at Thruxton was given the assignement by Paul Portellli to restore her to TR Mk IX specifications and after 2 years of work she roared her engine again for the first time in November 2007. On October 17, 2008 she made her first flight from Thruxton as a TR Mk IX. Unfortunately Paul Portelli wasn't there to see her taking the skies again as he died of cancer in 2007. On April 20, 2009 she was sold on an auction and sold to Steven Brooks, a financier and polar explorer for £1.739.500.
G-ILDA is painted in the colours of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) with serial H-99. The original H-99 was ex-RAF serial BS147 and delivered to the RNLAF on March 22,1948. She was initially registered as H-99 but this was later changed to 3W-22. In 1954 she was struck of charge and sold to Schreiner Airways who used her as target tug, registered as PH-NFN. On May 4, 1957 she made a gear-up landing and was after the crash of the other Schreiner Spitfire PH-NFR (ex-RAF MJ828) scrapped.

 
 
 
 
 
 
RR232    Spitfire Mk IXe  (Martin Phillips)

This aircraft was sold by Supermarine and delivered to the South African Air Force (SAAF) as 5632. It was brought on charge in May 1949 and served a quiet life until retired and scrapped in Jan 1954. Peter Sledge of Sydney sourced the wreck of this aircraft (by then only a bare fuselage) from South Africa in 1976 from the famous South African Metal & Machinery Co., Salt River, and Cape Town, South Africa group of wrecks. Peter spent the period from 1976 to 1984 completing a full static rebuild of the aircraft which was then placed on display at the FAA Museum Nowra, NSW from 1985-1986. Peter used parts sourced from many places to complete the aircraft including wings from Thailand. The engine was in fact not a Spitfire Merlin but was an RAAF Avro Lincoln unit which caused a little problem in the restoration process as it was a bit too long for the usual cowlings!
As is the case with many Australian based Spitfire projects, RR232 was purchased by UK interests and in 1986 it made its way to the collection of the late Charles Church, Micheldever, UK from 1986-1989. In 1989 RR232 passed to Sussex Spraying Services, Ltd, Shoreham, Nov. 22, 1989-1995.  In 2001 the aircraft passed on to Martin Phillips of Newton St Cyres, Devon UK and fully restored to flight as G-BRSF and flew on 18 December 2012.

 
 
 
 
 
TD314    Spitfire Mk HF IX  (Aero Legends)

TD314 was built at Castle Bromwich in late 1944 and fitted with a Merlin 70 as a High Level Fighter (HFIXE). She was one of the last high back Spitfires built as the production line switched to low back aircraft in February of 1945. She was delivered to 33 MU at Lyneham on 30th March 1945, transferring later that month to 30 MU before a further move to 6 MU where she was prepared for service with 183 (Gold Coast) Squadron at Chilbolton on the 24th June 1945. 183 squadron only kept its Spitfires for a short time before re-equipping with Tempests. TD314 moved to 234 (Madras Presidency) Squadron at Bentwaters on 26th July 1945, it is in this squadrons colours that she is currently finished with the squadron codes of FX-P. Whilst with 234 squadron it is possible that TD314 took part in the 1945 Battle of Britain flypast over London. When 234 squadron converted to Meteors TD314 was transferred to 29 MU at High Ercall for disposal on the 27th February 1946. In early 1948 TD314 was selected as one of the 136 Spitfire IXs to be sold to the South African Air Force and she was sent to 47 MU RAF Sealand where she was packed for shipment, leaving Birkenhead on the SS Clan Chattan 23rd April and arriving at Cape Town on the 12th May 1948. Details of her use with the SAAF are not known but she was sold for scrapping to the South African Metal & Machinery CO, Salt River, Cape Town, sometime during 1954. She remained in the scrap yard until recovered by Larry Barnett of Johannesburg in 1969. From there she passed through the hands of several owners before arriving in the UK via Canada in 2009. Acquired by Aero Legends in 2011, restoration commenced at Biggin Hill culminating in a first flight on the 7th December 2013. TD314 is heavily featured in the new Haynes manual on Spitfire restoration having its picture pride of place on the front cover. TD314 has been named “St. George” which is prominently displayed on the fuselage.

 
 
 
 
 
PV202    Spitfire Mk IX T (Aircraft Restoration Company)

PV202 was built as a single-seat LFlX fighter at Castle Bromwich in 1944 It was delivered to 33 Maintenance Unit at Lyneham in Wiltshire on the 18th September 1944 where it was brought up to operational standard. The aircraft moved to No.84 Ground Support Unit at Thruxton, Hants, and on the 19th October 1944 and entered service with 33 Squadron based at Merville, Northern France, carrying the codes 5R-Q. The aircraft returned to the UK on the 14th December 1944 at 84GSU, Lasham when the Squadron converted to Tempests. PV202 had carried out 20 operational sorties during its service with 33 Squadron. A move between M.U.’s took it to 83GSU at Dunsfold in January 1945 before being issued to 412 Squadron. RCAF operating from Heesch in Holland where it carried the Squadron identity VZ-M later changing to VZ-W. The Squadron eventually moved further into Germany itself, being based at Rhein and Wunsdorf forward operating airfields. On the 4th May 1945 Fg Off H.M.Lepard carried out the last of PV202’s 76 operational sorties with 412 Sqn. When the War ended 412 squadron returned to Dunsfold at the end of May and PV202 was flown to the famous 29MU at High Ercall for storage in July 1945 where it remained until selected by Vickers-Armstrong for conversion into trainer configuration in 1950 for the Irish Air Corps.
It was converted at Eastleigh and delivered to the IAC on the 15th June 1951 where it was given the identity IAC161. The T9 Spitfires were used to train pilots for the IAC Seafire. During December 1960 it was sold to Tony Samuelson, who was supplying aircraft for the Battle of Britain Film Company. Little or no work was carried out on IAC161 and in 1979 it was put up for sale and went to new owner Nick Grace, who moved it to St. Merryn in Cornwall along with ML407/IAC162. Nick kept ML407 for himself and sold PV202 to Steve Atkins who moved the various parts of the project to a barn on a farm at Saffron Walden, where restoration commenced. The aircraft was later moved to Sussex where restoration was completed as a two seater, the first post restoration flight was from Dunsfold on the 23rd February 1990.

 
 
 
 
 
TD248    Spitfire Mk XVIe  (Spitfire Limited)

TD248 is one of a batch of aircraft that formed the Air Ministry’s seventeenth order for Spitfires placed with Vickers Armstrong (Castle Bromwich) Ltd on 19 April 1944. It was released to service on 11 May 1945 and delivered to No 6 MU at Brize Norton on 16 May where it was prepared for service with 695 Squadron based at Bircham Newton in Norfolk with the codes 8Q-T. The Squadron relocated to Horsham St Faith (Norwich) in August 1945. The aircraft was withdrawn from service on 31 December 1947 when an inspection was carried out by 54MU based at Cambridge following unrecorded and substantial damage, it was eventually returned to service on 13 May 1948 with the codes 4M-E.  In August 1951 TD248 was transferred to No 2 Civilian Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Little Snoring, Norfolk. No 2 CAACU was operated by Marshalls of Cambridge and included calibration flights and target towing. In March 1953 the unit moved to Langham, Norfolk and in May 1954 TD248 was withdrawn from service and stored at 9MU RAF Cosford pending disposal. In October 1955 it was issued to No 610 Sqn RauxAF for static display at Hooton Park, Cheshire with the codes DW-A. It was subsequently allocated to the Air Training Corps at RAF Sealand where it remained until acquired by Historic Flying in 1988. The propeller was totally rebuilt with new blades and bearings and the Packard Merlin 266 engine zero timed. All the original systems parts are retained after being overhauled. The aircraft is fitted with wing tanks, a modern radio and a GPS. TD248 flew again in November 1992 in the striking silver and red livery of 41 Squadron Spitfire F21 that participated in the Blackpool Air races of 1948/49.  The aircraft was sold in 2005 and the new owners had it re-sprayed in it's new colour scheme of 74 Squadron 2nd Tactical Air Force May 1945. It is operated by Spitfires Ltd. and maintained by the Aircraft Restoration Company.

 
 
 
 
 
SM845   Spitfire FR Mk XVIIIe  (Spitfire Limited)

SM845 is an early production Mk XVIIIe Spitfire built at Chattis Hill in 1945 and delivered to 39MU. In late 1945 the aircraft went to 46MU before being shipped to Karachi, arriving early 1946 and revived by the South East Asia Air Command. The aircraft was transferred to the Indian Air Force late 1947 and served until the late 1950’s. She was acquired by Duxford based Ormond and Wensley Haydon-Baillie in 1977 and shipped unrestored to California in 1978. Partially restored she returned to the U.K. Restoration was completed by Historic Flying Ltd in Audley End who acquired her and made her first post restoration flight in 2000. In 2009 the aircraft was sold to new owners in Sweden. Following a landing accident in 2010 she was acquired by Humberside Spitfire Ltd who contracted Historic Flying Ltd to carry out repairs. She flew again in 2013 wearing the colour scheme of 28 Squadron RAF.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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