A brief History of Spitfires believed still to be airworthy and flying.
This synopsis of currently flying Spitfires is as comprehensive as I can make it. It was last updated on 1st October 2007. Much of the work that went into producing it is not my own, so thank you very much to those people who have forwarded information on currently flying Spitfires, making this summary possible.
Please, if you have any additional information, corrections, omissions, information on Spitfire restorations, abandonment's, wreck recovery or anything to add to the story of currently flying Spitfires, please let me know by clicking here.
Thanks to the hard work and keen enthusiasm of some dedicated engineers and owners, more and more Spitfires are returning to the air. Some estimate the total number of Spitfires produced at over 22,000, involving some 46 different marks or variants. To the best of my knowledge there are over ninety airworthy Spitfires, representing twelve marks of Spitfire, still flying. If you know otherwise, I would appreciate an update. Please click here to email information.
During the war, due to operational and engineering necessity, many Spitfires were rebuilt, modified or repaired in such a way that they may have differed from their original construction sufficiently to be recognized as a different mark or variant. That still happens today with, for example, one or two two seater Spitfires having been modified to suit the owners requirements. There are several very experienced and competent centres where the repair and modification of Spitfires is carried out.
Spitfire Mark I. Serial AR213. Registration G-AIST. AR213 is the sole remaining airworthy Mk I Spitfire out of a total of 1,566 Mk I Spitfires built. However, AR 213 is not the oldest airworthy Spitfire. AR213 was delivered to the RAF in July 1941, less than a year after the end of the Battle of Britain, but almost three years after the type had originally entered RAF service. The first RAF Spitfire Mk 1, K9789, had been delivered to 19 Squadron at RAF Duxford on 6th August 1938, the first of an initial batch of 310 Spitfires. Such was the speed of advance in aeroplane design and performance that the Mk I Spitfire, the mainstay of the Battle of Britain, was already outclassed by its adversaries by the time AR213 was received into service.
AR213 therefore spent its war time service as a training aircraft with 57 and 53 Operational Training Units until sold off, surplus to requirements, in 1947. It languished for many years at the Shuttleworth Collection airfield at Old Warden, just a few miles away from Duxford, the first RAF base to be equipped with Spitfires. In 1967 AR213 was restored to full flying condition in order to take a part in the film The Battle of Britain. AR213 was then fitted with a 4 bladed propeller unlike the original Mk 1's which were supplied to squadron service with a two bladed prop.
Spitfire Mk IIa Serial P7350 XT-W P7350 is the oldest surviving airworthy Spitfire and is still with the Royal Air Force. Following a chequered career, it is now operated by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at RAF Conningsby. P7350 was first delivered into RAF service in August 1940 and saw action with several squadrons including 266, 603, 616, and 64 Squadrons. Repaired following an accident P7350 was returned to the Central Gunnery School at RAF Sutton Bridge, near Kings Lynn where it suffered damage in another accident. Following this mishap it was repaired and sent to 57 OTU, where it remained as a training aeroplane until being scrapped in March 1946. By good fortune the aircraft was recognised for what it was and the scrap dealers handed it back to the Royal Air Force Museum at Colerne. There it stayed until, in 1967, it too was returned to flying condition for a role in the epic film The Battle of Britain. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight obtained the aircraft after the filming and it has remained with them up to current time.
Spitfire Mk Vb Serial AB910 RF-D (Also previously seen as IR-G and currently coded RF-D which was EN951 the aircraft flown by Sqn. Ldr. Jan Zunbach O.C. 303 Squadron in 1942) Originally ordered among a batch of Mk I's, the production run coincided with the arrival of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 engines, and the batch were delivered as Mk V. It was delivered to 222 Squadron at North Weald in August 1941. With intervening periods of repair it also served with 130, 133, 242 416, 402 and 527 Squadrons.
While at 53 OTU it had its most famous (infamous?) flight.
It was common practice for pilots using high power settings while on the ground to avail themselves of any convenient passerby to lie over the tail of the aircraft to prevent the aircraft from nosing over. Flight Lieutenant Neil Cox was detailed to fly AB910, and was aided in his ground running by Leading Aircraftswoman Margaret Horton acting as a tail weight. After the ground run, the pilot lined up into wind and took off. In the circuit it was clear that the trim of AB910 was not normal, and flew in a tail-down attitude. After the remainder of the 1000 feet circuit, AB910 returned to the ground. On stopping, Margaret Horton was seen sliding off the tail unit where she had been determinedly clinging for the whole of the circuit!
After the War, AB910 was used for air racing before being purchased by Vickers-Armstrong's. After a career of air shows in the hands of Jeffrey Quill, she was presented in September 1965 to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, who operate her to this day.
Spitfire Mk Vb/c Serial AR501 Registration G-AWII. Originally delivered in June 1942 to 8 MU, this Westland-built aircraft saw service with 310, 504 (two days), 312, and 442 Squadrons, followed by a period with 58 and 61 OTU and No 1 Tactical Exercise Unit. In 1946 it was acquired by Loughborough College as an instructional airframe. Obsolete for teaching purposes it was exchanged for a Jet Provost from the Shuttleworth Collection. Restored for The Battle of Britain and fully restored in 1975 it now operates as a clipped-wing LF Vc variant based at Old Warden Aerodrome, Bedfordshire, UK, bearing the code letters NNA
Spitfire Vc Serial AR614 Registration N614VC Delivered to 39 MU in August 1942, this aircraft saw service with 312, 222, and 610 Squadrons, and 53 OTU, but was ultimately disposed of as scrap, and was transferred to the Air Museum of Calgary in 1964. After a series of owners, it passed into the hands of The Alpine Fighter Collection, at Audley End, Essex, UK. This aircraft is now flying, and is operated by the Seattle based Flying Heritage Collection.
Spitfire Vb BM597 Registration G-MKVB JH-C Initially delivered in April 1942 to 37 MU, BM597 served with 315 and 317 Squadrons, and was eventually retired to act as Gate Guardian at RAF Church Fenton. She was used to make the master to make the moulds for the many Spitfire replicas used in the film The Battle of Britain. After being purchased in 1988, she is now owned by the Historic Aircraft Collection, and based at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Spitfire LF Vb EP120 Registration G-LFVB AE-A Originally delivered in May 1942 to 45MU, it served with 501, 19, and 402 Squadrons, finally ending with 53OTU. After a distinguished RAF career, in which its pilots were credited with 9 enemy aircraft shot down, it acted as Gate Guardian at a number of RAF airfields with the inevitable Battle of Britain interlude before being acquired by The Fighter Collection. It returned to the air on September 12 1995, and is currently based at Duxford aerodrome, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Spitfire Mk Vc JG891 Registration G-LFVC T-B Built at Castle Bromwich by Vickers Supermarine, JG891 was delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1943. Arriving in Melbourne on 13th April 1943 it entered service with No. 79 Squadron. In January 1944 at Kiriwina, Solomon Islands, upon returning from scramble, it overran a wet weather strip while landing in gusty weather, swung to avoid another aircraft, overturned and was badly damaged.
In 1974 the stripped hulk was recovered from Kiriwina by N Monty Armstrong and moved to New Zealand. It was later sold to Don J Subritzky, registered ZK-MKV in 1974 and moved to his family workshop/hangar on their North Auckland Dairy Flat property for restoration with parts from EF545.
The aircraft was later sold as a partially restored fuselage and incomplete set of wings to Historic Flying Limited, arriving in the United Kingdom in July 1999 and re-registered G-LFVC. The fuselage required some re-skinning of the rear end to correct its profile, systems were installed and tested and the engine bearers refurbished. A fully overhauled Rolls Royce Merlin 35 engine has been fitted, the three-blade Dowty propeller built up and the wings were assembled in HFL’s jigs. Many original pieces of wartime equipment have been installed and the cockpit now sports a genuine gun sight and IFF transmitter unit.
In 2006, nearing completion and already in desert camouflage, the owners Spitfire Ltd. looked for a suitable scheme for the aircraft. The scheme chosen was that of a 249 Squadron Spitfire Vc based at Takali in Malta during 1943 – Spitfire JK879 coded “T-B”. At least three spitfires wore the T-B codes, but the scheme on JK879 was of particular interest as it had the “Saint” motif on the port fuselage side and 26 bomb mission symbols on the main fuel tank panel. The current aircraft has also been completed with the deep ‘chin’ cowl associated with the ‘Vokes’ air filter fitted for desert use, and is the only airworthy example of the type configured in this way.’
Spitfire Mk VIIIc MT719 Registration N719MT This aircraft was delivered to 9 MU in June 1944 it was shipped to Bombay and flew with 17 Squadron in Burma. The history here is rather vague, and merely records being on charge and the sale to the Indian Air Force. It was rediscovered in Jaipur, India, in 1977. Bought by Ormond and Wensley Haydon-Baillie it was then resold to Franco Actis and shipped to Turin. It was returned to the air in October 1982, and is currently owned and operated by the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, of Dallas, Texas, USA. (10/02)
Spitfire VIIIc MV154 Registration G-BKMI ZX-M Built at Supermarine's Southampton works and delivered to 6 MU in September 1944, MV154 served with the Royal Australian Air Force. Acquired by Robs Lamplough in 1979, she was returned to the UK, and returned to the air in May 1994. Currently based in Bristol MV154 can be seen on the UK circuit bearing the designation MT928. MV154 was used as the source for a current series of fibreglass Spitfire replicas.
Spitfire VIIIc MV239 Registration VH-HET Delivered to 6 MU in March 1945, MV239 was sent to Australia too late for wartime service. Put into storage until 1949, it was sold and restored to ground running status. A later restoration returned MV239 to the air in December 1985. It is owned and operated by David Lowy, in New South Wales, Australia.
Spitfire VIIIc NH631 Delivered to 6 MU in December 1944, NH631 was sent to Bombay in February 1945. After service with the No 9 Squadron of the Indian Air Force, it ended on display at the IAF museum in New Delhi. In 1982 NH631 was restored to airworthy condition as part of the museum's Golden Jubilee.
Spitfire Tr 8 MT818 Registration N58JE A unique aircraft, it was delivered to the Controller of Research and Development at High Post in June 1944, then transferred to Farnborough. Returning to Vickers in February 1945, MT818 emerged in September 1946 as the single Tr8 prototype, which failed to attract RAF interest. It entered the civil register as G-AIDN and was flown as a demonstrator by Vickers Armstrong's until 1952, including participation in a number of air races. After a period of storage (with two interludes for more races) MT818 was sold to John Fairey, an instructor at Hampshire Aero Club and the son of Richard Fairey, founder of Fairey Aviation. After a number of owners it departed for the USA, and is currently owned and operated by Jack Erickson, of Medford, Oregon, USA.
Spitfire Mk LF IX TA805 Registration G-PMNF FX-M Built Castel Bromwich in XXXX TA805 was handed over to the Royal Air Force on January 3rd 1945. TA805 went to South Africa where she eventually became derelict. Recovered in 1985 TA805 returned to the air in 2005. Now resplendent in the colour scheme of 234 Squadron, TA805 carries the code letters FX-M
Spitfire Mk IXc/e MA793 Registration N930LB MA793 is the only currently flying Spitfire confirmed to have operated with the US Army Air Force. MA793 was delivered to 6 MU in July 1943, and then sent to the Mediterranean to operate with the Mediterranean Allied Air Force. It was transferred to USAAF charge between October 1943 and May 1944. After the War, MA793 was sold to South Africa, but never actually flew, and after being stripped for spares ended like a number of airframes, as a children's playground toy. MA793 was spotted from the air by Andrew Smulian in 1967, and removed. After an extensive restoration to flying condition MA793 returned to the air in September 1975. Currently in the workshop again, it is owned by Transportes Aereos Regional, in Brazil.
Spitfire IXc MH434 Registration G-ASJV ZD-B To Spitfire enthusiasts in the UK, Spitfire MH434 needs no introduction. Built in Castle Bromwich, it was delivered in August 1943 to 222 Squadron. It had a short relocation to 350 Squadron, and then later flew with 349 Squadron. After this busy RAF career MH434 was sold in 1947 to the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Its operational career with the RNAF included 165 sorties in Indonesia. In 1956 it was sold to the Belgian Target-towing organisation COGEA, and was sold to a UK owner in 1963. Since being transferred to private hands, MH434 has had a busy film and television career, most notably in The Battle of Britain and A Piece of Cake. Owned for a while by Sir Adrian Swire (Spitfire Society President), 1983 MH434 was purchased by Ray Hanna for the (at that time) enormous sum of £ 260 000 and has been operated since then by The Old Flying Machine Company based at Duxford Aerodrome, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Spitfire Mk IXe MJ730 Registration N730MJ Delivered to 33 MU in December 1943, MJ730 served with 249 Squadron in the Balkan Air Force, and then later with the Italian and Israeli Air Forces. Found derelict in Israel in 1976, it returned to the air in November 1988. It is currently owned by Jerry Yagen and flies out of Suffolk, Virginia, USA.
Spitfire Mk IX MK356 21-V Built in Castle Bromwich, MK365 was delivered to 9MU in February 1944. Initially allocated to 443 Squadron (RCAF). In August 1944 it was moved to 84 Group Support Unit for repairs after a wheels up landing. In October 1945 it was relegated to a training airframe, until 1951 when it was moved to Hawkinge. In December 1961 MK356 was overhauled and pole mounted as a gate guardian at RAF Locking. It joined the fleet for the film The Battle of Britain, after which it was stored in the RAF Museum Reserve Collection at RAF St Athan. After restoration to flying condition MK356 joined the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight for the 1998 flying season, but spent part of it grounded after donating her engine to the BBMF Lancaster. After much work on engines, MK356 is now a regular at UK air shows.
Spitfire Mk IX MK732 Registration PH-OUQ Delivered to 39 MU in March 1944, MK732 served with 485 Squadron, in a busy but short career. After a period in storage it was transferred to the Royal Netherlands Air Force in 1947. After retirement MK732 was returned to the UK and passed into the hands of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as a source of spares. Fortunately, it remained largely intact, and after a return to Holland it returned to the air in June 1993. In 1985 MK732 was badly damaged in a landing accident at Rochester, but has now been restored to airworthiness. It is owned and operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force Historic Flight at Deelen/Gilze-Rijen Air Base, Netherlands.
Spitfire Mk IX MK912 Registration G-BRRA SH-L Allocated to 312 Squadron in June 1944 MK912 passed on to the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and then to the Belgian Air Force in 1952. Acquired by Guy Black, it was transferred to Audley End, Essex, and returned to the air in September 2000. MK912 is currently owned by Ed Russel, and is in transit to Ontario, Canada. (SH-L)
Spitfire Mk IXc MK923 Registration N521R Delivered to 9 MU in March 1944, MK923 served briefly with 126 Squadron, then was sold first to the Dutch government, then to the Belgian Air Force. After a period of towing targets with COGEA, and a film appearance in The Longest Day, MK923 returned to the UK before being resold to Cliff Robertson, at Kalamazoo USA. It is now operating out of the Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Spitfire Mk IXe ML417 Registration N2TF Delivered to 6 MU in April 1944, ML417 served with 443, 401, 411, 412, 441, and 442 Squadrons. Sold Back to Vickers Armstrong's in October 1946, ML417 emerged converted to Tr9 configuration and was sold in October 1948 to the Indian Air Force. Rediscovered in 1967 and purchased by US Senator Norman E Gaar in 1971 and transferred to the USA it was placed into storage. Acquired by Stephen Grey and returned to the UK ML417 was restored to the original single-seat configuration and flew in February 1984. Operated for some time by The Fighter Collection, it headed back overseas to the USA. ML417 is currently owned by Tom Friedkin, and based at Chino, California.
Spitfire Mk IXe NH238 Registration G-MKIX Delivered in May 1944 to 6 MU, NH238 did not see active service. It flew in the East Indies with 322 Squadron of the Royal Netherlands before transfer to the Belgian Air Force and then later as a target tower. After transfer to private hands in the UK, it was owned by the Confederate Air Force, before being sold to Doug Arnold's War birds of Great Britain. After his death it was transported to the USA, but is now operated by Flying A Services, out of North Weald, Essex, UK.
Spitfire Mk IXe PL344 Registration N644TB Delivered to 8 MU in March 1943 it flew with 602, 129, 130, 401 and 442 Squadrons. After the War it served as a technical demonstrator in Holland, during which time it was substantially dismantled, and the aft fuselage disposed of. In 1985 the remains were acquired by Charles Church. It was rebuilt, and sold to Kermit Weeks, before passing to its current owner, Tom Blair, operating out of Bartow, Florida.
Spitfire Mk IXe TE554 (2057) Delivered to 33 MU in May 1945 it was issued to 310 (Czech) Squadron in the month that it disbanded. The Czech aircrew took their aircraft back home with them and it was transferred to the Czech Air Force, where it served until 1948, at which time it was sold to the Israeli Air Force. After a period in storage it was restored and was eventually allocated to the current operators, the Israeli Air Force Museum, at Beershaba, Israel.
Spitfire Tr 9 One of the notable features of the ranks of flying Spitfires is the prominence of the trainer variants. Although only 26 were produced, seven still fly, although admittedly one is has been returned to single seat status, and two seat conversions have been added to the number. It is interesting that while it seems logical to the outside observer that they should be used to convert pilots to the increasingly valuable and rare Spitfire survivors, current thinking suggests that there is little to gain by doing so, possibly since so many have the "low bubble" rear seat configuration, with very limited visibility for the instructor.
Spitfire Tr 9 MJ627 Registration G-BMSB Built in December 1943 as a standard Mk IX and operated by 441 Squadron, it was sold back to Vickers-Armstrong and became the first production two seat trainer conversion Tr9. It remains in the original high dome rear cockpit configuration. After service with the Irish Air Corps it was purchased as a source of spares for MH434, but was returned to the air in its own right in November 1993. It is owned and operated by Maurice and Peter Bayliss, as part of their collection at Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Leicestershire, UK. In May 1998 it suffered an undercarriage failure and sustained damage in the subsequent wheels-up landing. Restored to the air in 2002, it has been moved to East Kirby, Lincolnshire. (9G-P)
Spitfire Tr 9 MJ772 Registration N8R Delivered to RAF Lyneham as a single seat Mk IX in December 1943, it served with 340 and 341 Squadrons, and was converted for the Irish Air Corps to Tr9 configuration in July 1950. The Irish Air Corps sold it to Film Aviation Services Ltd and then to COGEA as a target towing aircraft. It appeared in the film The Battle of Britain, for which it was extensively restored, and after a couple of sales, was acquired for the Champlin Fighter Museum, Mesa, Arizona, USA in 1974. It remains airworthy, but as a slightly odd-looking single seat Spitfire, as the rear cockpit has simply been blanked off.
Spitfire Tr 9 ML407 Registration G-LFIX OU-V Delivered to 33 MU in April 1944 as a single-seat Mk IX, ML407 flew 176 operational sorties and over 200 combat hours, being heavily involved with D-day. It flew with 485, 341, 349, 308, 345, and 332 Squadrons. In June 1951 Vickers delivered it converted to Tr9 standard to the Irish Air Corps. In 1960 ML407 was retired to instructional airframe status. In 1968 it joined the pool of airframes for the film The Battle of Britain, but was not used. It was eventually purchased by Nick Grace, and was restored to the air in April 1985. After the tragic death of her husband, Carolyn Grace learned to fly, and now display, the Spitfire. ML407 is based at Duxford Aerodrome, Cambridgeshire, UK, and flies in its wartime colours as OU-V of 485 Squadron. (OU-V)
Spitfire TR 9 PV202 Registration G-CCCA 161 Originally built by Vickers Armstrong in 1950-1 as a Spitfire LF Mk IX, PV202 was rebuilt as a two seat Tr Mk IXc and delivered to the Irish Air Corps the same year. PV202 changed hands many times and spent a great deal of time awaiting restoration to flying condition. She was finally rebuilt in 1990 and took to the air at Dunsfold in February 1990. Until she was "destroyed" in a fatal crash in 2000 PV202 carried the markings of XXX Sqn VZ-M. The wreckage of PV202 was restored and rebuilt and is now flying in her original Irish Air Corps markings, bearing the code 161.
Spitfire Tr 9 PT462 Registration G-CTIX Delivered as a single-seat HF IX to 39 MU in July 1942, it operated with 253 Squadron in the Mediterranean. After the War it was flown by the Italian Air Force and the Israeli Air Force. It was discovered as a derelict shell and its restoration for Charles Church included conversion to Tr9 standard, flying again in July 1987. After the death of Charles Church flying another Spitfire, PT462 moved to Florida, but has now returned to the UK. She is owned and operated by Anthony Hodgson, and is based in North Wales. (SW-A)
Spitfire Tr 9 TE308 (N308WK) Built as a single seat "low back" Mk IXe, on a production line producing both Mk IX and XVI (the difference only being the engine: MkXVI had a Packard- built Merlin) and delivered to 39 MU in 1945, it avoided wartime service by spending the next 5 years in store. It was converted to Tr9 standard by Vickers Armstrong's and sold to the Irish Air Corps in July 1951. In 1968 it was sold to civilian hands and joined the mass of airframes at Elstree Airfield for The Battle of Britain, and was used as a camera aircraft with the camera in the front seat. All forward-looking shots in the film were taken this way. After a short period with the rear cockpit blanked off, it was reinstated to Tr9 standard, complete with large rear bubble canopy. It is currently owned and operated by Bill Greenwood, out of Aspen, Colorado, USA.
Spitfire Mk XI PL965 Registration G-MKXI Delivered to 9 MU in October 1944 PL965 was allocated to No 1 Pilots Pool in January 1945. After service with 16 Squadron, it was sold to the Royal Netherlands Air Force and was used as an instructional airframe until 1960. PL965 was used for static display until 1987, when it was acquired by Nick Grace for restoration. After his death it passed to the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society. It flew again in December 1992, and is now operated by The Real Aeroplane Co., although now operating out of Florida. It is likely to return to the Uk for the next flying season.
Spitfire Mk XIVe MV293 Registration G-SPIT JE-J (Previously also seen as MV268 Registration G-BGHB) MV293 was delivered to 33 MU in February 1945, and sent to India for use by Air Command Southeast Asia. Subsequently sold to the Indian Air Force in 1947, MV293 served for a time as an instructional airframe. Acquired by War birds of Great Britain it passed into the hands of The Fighter Collection, the current operators. MV293 returned to the air in August 1992, and is based at Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Spitfire Mk XIVe NH749 Registration N749DP Delivered to 33 MU in February 1945 NH749 was transferred to Air Command Southeast Asia and then sold to the Indian Air Force in 1947. Little is known of its history until 1977, when it was sold and returned to the UK. Restored, it returned to the air in 1983, and was sold to David Price, its current owner/operator in 1985. NH749 is based at the Donald Douglas Museum, Santa Monica, California, USA.
Spitfire Mk XIVc NH904 Registration N114BP Delivered in March 1945 to 6 MU, NH904 flew - once - with 414 Squadron, before being sold to the Belgian Air Force. In 1957 it was purchased by a scrap dealer, who displayed it on his roof, minus the wings. After returning to the UK it was sold into the Spitfire collection being amassed for the Battle of Britain film. After a period of storage NH904 was restored for Spencer Flack, in a bright red colour scheme. It is now owned and operated by Bob Pond, based at Planes of Fame East, now relocated to Palm Springs, California, USA.
Spitfire Mk XIVe RN201 Registration G-BSKP After restoration at Duxford, it flew again in April 2002. It is owned by Karel Bos, and based in Audley End, Essex.(10/02)Mk XIV SM832 (F-AZSJ)Originally ordered as a PRXI it was built as a Mk XIV and delivered in March 1945. Sent to India it was placed into storage and subsequently sold to the Indian Air Force. In 1979 it was brought back to the UK by Doug Arnold, and after a number of owners was restored for The Fighter Collection, and was returned to the air in May 1995. RN201 is now owned by Christophe Jacquart and operated out of Dijon, France.
Spitfire Mk XIV TZ138 Registration C-GSPT Originally sent to Rolls Royce and then to Canada for cold testing in November 1945. Struck off charge in March 1949, it later moved to Minneapolis, and spent some time as a racer. After a period in a museum in Santa Monica, it was restored and is owned and operated by Robert Jens, out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Spitfire Mk . XVIe SL721 Registration NX721WK Built in 1945 (although originally ordered as a Mk 21) it was initially delivered into storage at 6 MU in August. It was reallocated in 1946 to a series of secondary units, including a period as the personal aircraft of Air Chief Marshall Sir James Robb. Sold to private hands in 1954, it has lived on a garage forecourt, in the hands of the Beaulieu Motor Museum, and a period in the USA. It suffered a landing accident in 1995, but was rapidly repaired. It was owned for many years by Woodson and Chris Woods, but has since been sold to Michael Potter, in Ottawa, Canada.
Spitfire Mk XVIe TB863 Registration ZK-XVI Delivered to 19MU in February 1945, it served with 183, 453, 567, and 691 Squadrons. After a short film career in Reach For The Sky and Battle of Britain and a series of private owners it was restored (initially by PPS and then The Fighter Collection) and transferred to the current owner, Tim Wallis of the Alpine Fighter Collection. It flew again in September 1988, and is currently based in Wanaka, New Zealand.
Spitfire Mk XVIe TD248 Registration G-OXVI HF-L Built at Castle Bromwitch, TD248 was delivered to the Royal Air Force on May 11th 1945. Accepted by 6 MU, TD248 just missed active service. TD248 was assignied to 695 Squadron, and later served with No 2 Civil Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit and in May 1954 returned to MU, this time 9 MU. TD248 served for four years as Gate Guardian at Hooton Park and then at RAF Sealand. In June 1988, TD248 was aquired byHistoric Flying Ltd. where it remains to this day, based at Audley End. TD248 was returned to the air in November 1992.
Spitfire Mk XVIe TE184 Registration G-MXVI Delivered in May 1945 to 9 MU, it spent long periods in storage before serving with 203 Advanced Flying School and later 607 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force. After a period of display sites within the RAF, it was transferred to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Myrick Aviation, had it restored to flying condition, with the first flight being in November 1990. Although originally a "low back" teardrop canopy configuration, it has been restored as a "traditional" high back form. It is currently owned by Alain DeCadenet, based at RAF Halton, Bucks, UK.
Spitfire Mk XVIe TE356 Registration N356EV Delivered in June 1945 to 29 MU, it served with 695 Squadron before transfer to No 2 Civil Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit and became an instructional airframe in 1952. It had a taxiing role in The Battle of Britain and a restoration was started, only to be halted. It was eventually swapped for a P-47 and entered civilian hands. Restored to the air in December 1987, it is currently owned and operated by Evergreen Ventures Limited, based at McMinneville, Oregon, USA.
Spitfire Mk XVIe TE384 Registration N384TE It was delivered to 6MU in August 1945, and served with 603, 501, and 612 Squadrons, before being used for static display at RAF Syerston. It had a taxiing role in The Battle of Britain, and was then stored until 1972. Flown to Australia (as cargo) it eventually was restored and flew in October 1988. I am informed that it had some problems with metal debris in the oil, which wrecked the engine, so that it is currently grounded, although maintained in airworthy condition (apart from that! Peter R Arnold files this one as "Restoration", and who am I to argue?). It is currently owned by Ken McBride, based in California.
Spitfire Mk XVIe TE392 Registration N97RW Delivered to 9MU on June 15 1945, she was stored until 1946. Allocated briefly to 126, 65, 164, 63, 595, and 695 Squadrons, she was reduced to instructional status in September 1952. 1967 found her on a pylon outside RAF Kemble. She moved in 1970, but only to another pylon at RAF Hereford. Acquired by Doug Arnold and moved to store in 1984, she was restored to the air by Harry Stenger in Florida, and is now in the hands of her new owners, the Lone Star Museum in Galveston, Texas. (10/02)
Spitfire Mk XVIe TE476 Registration N476TE Delivered to 39 MU in June 1945, TE476 served only with No 1 Civil Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit and a series of Maintenance Units. After static display at the 1957 Royal Tournament, it was restored to flying condition with the Station Flights at Biggin Hill. These Flights eventually became the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. After a wheels-up landing it was relegated to Gate Guardian status at RAF Neatishead. After the inevitable tour of duty with the Battle of Britain it returned to Guardian status at RAF Northolt. Replaced by a replica in 1988, it was restored to flying status, flying in June 1995. It is currently operated by Kermit Weeks, at the Fantasy of Flight Museum, Polk City, Florida, USA.
Spitfire Mk . XVIIIe SM845 Registration G-BUOS GZ-J Built in 1945 for RAF service, it spent 8 months in the hands of the Maintenance Units before being sent to India in February 1947. In December 1947, it was sold on to the Indian Air Force. There follows the usual period of limited history before it was retrieved as a wreck by Ormond and Wensley Haydon-Baillie in 1977. It is currently operated by Historic Flying Ltd, based at Audley End, UK.
Spitfire Mk XVIIIe SM969 Registration G-BRAF It was delivered in August 1945 to 6 MU, and was then shipped to Karachi. After a period in storage, it was returned to the UK. After further storage, it was sold to the Indian Air Force, and was once again shipped to India, probably never having been removed from its crate. Its history until 1972 is unknown. Purchased by Doug Arnold in 1978 it returned again to the UK, and was restored to fly in October 1985. After his death it was transported to the USA, but is now operated by Flying A Services, out of North Weald, Essex, UK.
Spitfire Mk XVIIIe TP280 Registration N280TP Delivered in June 1945 to 39 MU, it was shipped to the Far East Air Force, and later sold to the Indian Air Force in 1947. In 1977 it was purchased and shipped to the USA, but restoration was largely started in 1991 by Historic Flying Ltd. It was returned to the air in July 1992. It is currently owned and operated by Rudy Frasca, based in Urbana, Illinois, USA.
Spitfire Mk PR XIX PM631 Delivered to 6 MU in November 1945, it was stored until reallocation in 1949 to 203 Advanced Flying School After a further period in storage, it was issued to the Temperature and Humidity (THUM) Flight, for meteorological study. With the formation of the Historic Aircraft Flight (later renamed the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) in 1957, the 3 PR XIX's of the THUM Flight became the initial complement of Spitfires. It still flies in that role today, based at RAF Conningsby, Lincolnshire, UK.
Spitfire Mk PR XIX PS853 Registration G-RRGN It was delivered in January 1945 to the Central Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (another cancelled Spiteful), and served with 16, and 268 Squadrons before transfer to the THUM Flight. Transferred to the Historic Aircraft Flight in 1957, it was soon relocated as Gate Guardian at Central Fighter Establishment Binbrook. There it was actively maintained, and rejoined the now renamed BBMF in 1964. After the Flight lost one of its Hurricanes, PS853 was offered for auction to fund the restoration of the wrecked Hurricane. Although sold, the sale fell through and a second buyer was needed. This was Euan English, who transferred the aircraft to North Weald, but died shortly afterwards. PS853 is now owned by the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, and is now operated out of Bristol, UK.
Spitfire Mk PR XIX PS890 Registration N219AM Recovered from Thailand. As part of the rebuild, an ex Shackleton Griffon engine was installed, and the contra-rotating props retained. Returned to the air in June 2002, it is operated by Planes of Fame, based in Chino, California.(10/02)Mk PR XIX PS915 It was delivered to 6 MU in April 1945 as a PR XIX (although originally ordered as a Spiteful), and served with 541 and 2 Squadrons. After a period of storage it was transferred to the THUM Flight, before joining the Historic Aircraft Flight. It was almost immediately grounded and was transferred to Gate Guardian duty at RAF West Malling. After a static appearance in The Battle of Britain it was used as an engine test bed, and was found to be in restorable condition. It flew again in November 1986, and has flown with the BBMF since.
Spitfire Mk XIX PM631 of the BBMF was diverted to Central Fighter Establishment Binbrook to provide an opponent similar to the Mustangs in a dissimilar combat exercise. During this exercise it developed engine troubles, and PS853, which while being a Gate Guardian at CFE Binbrook had also been maintained in flying condition on the orders of the Station CO, took over the role.Has anyone any information on the story that in the simulator, a Spitfire armed with Sidewinders has a fair chance against a Tornado?
Spitfire Mk XIX PS890 Registration F-AZJS PS890 currently flies with a contra rotating prop attached to a Griffon engine acquired from a Shackleton! PS890, originally operated by The Royal Thailand Air Force, has been owned by a number of people and is currently French registered. Not much else is known, at least by me, of the history of this aeroplane so any additional information would be very welcome.
This potted history is as comprehensive as I can make it, though most of the work that went into producing it is not my own. Thank you very much to those people who have forwarded this information, making this summary possible.
Please, if you have any additional information, corrections, omissions, information on restorations, abandonment's, wreck recovery or anything to add, please let me know by clicking here.
Mk IIa XT-L/W P7350 P1.
Mk LF-VB AEA EP120 P1.
Mk VB IRG AB910 P1.
MK VB RFD EN951 (AB910) P1.
Mk Vb VB JG891 TB P1.
Mk LF-VB JHC BM597 P1.
Mk VIII ZXM MT928 P1.
Mk IX WR RR Evelyn P1.
Mk IX ZDB MH434 P1.
Mk IX FXM P1.
Mk IX (T) ML407 Grace Spitfire P1.
Mk LF IX (T) PV202 161 P1.
Spitfire Mk LF IX 21v MK356 P1.
Mk PR XI PL965 P1.
Mk XIVe JEJ MV268 P1.
Mk XIVe RN201 P1.
Mk XVI CRS TD248 P1.
Mk XVIII GZJ P1.
Mk XIX PS890 P1.