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The Spitfire

Spitfire HF9 TD314

Spitfire HF9 TD314

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.

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Spitfire T9 2 Seater PV202

Spitfire T9 2 Seater PV202

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.

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Spitfire NH341

Spitfire NH341

Spitfire NH341 was built at Castle Bromwich as a Spitfire Low Level Fighter (LFIXE) and delivered to 8 MU on the 28th April 1944. It was sent to Miles Aircraft for modifications to be fitted before delivery to 411 (Grizzly Bear) squadron RCAF on 22nd June 1944. This was the only squadron NH341 served with and was flown by several pilots. On the 29th June 1944, NH341 downed an ME109 five miles West of Caen. NH341 destroyed a BF109 on the evening of 30th June 1944 over Thury Hurcourt. However, by the 2nd July NH341 had been lost. She was flying a morning patrol when she was engaged by FW190's of JG26 South-East of Caen. She was shot down, but the pilot baled out and successfully evaded capture.

The substantial remains were placed on display at the Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie at Bayeux during 1996. It was later displayed at the Juno Beach Museum at Courseulles-sur-Mer during 2003 where it was described as being ML295. Inspection of the aircraft however shows that a substantial amount of the parts originated from NH341 with only a few parts from another Spitfire.

Aero Legends acquired NH341 in 2011 and commenced its restoration to airworthy condition as a two seat trainer (T9 version) and regular updates of its restoration will be shown on this website.

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What our customers say
I would like to thank you all for such a wonderful day on the 28th July when my husband Andrew had his flight in the Spitfire. This was a surprise birthday present for him & I really couldn't have asked for anything more to make his day special, even the weather was perfect! Every team member that we met were polite, friendly and very accessible which all helped to make us feel welcome. Our family were able to enjoy the whole experience, especially as there were so many other things going on at the airfield during the day for them to watch. Lorraine Vidler - Flight In A Spitfire
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