Thursday 27 September 2012


WINGS OVER MIDDLEWICH: One of the highlights of Middlewich's second Wartime Weekend was a flypast by  one of the most potent symbols of wartime Britain, a Spitfire, at 2.55pm on Saturday 22nd September. Here's Bill's photo of the plane, suitably amended to give an impression of what it must have looked like in action. The title of this diary entry was chosen by Bill as a tribute to the Spitfires and their crews.

by Bill Armsden
Into the realms of Fantasy now with this picture with Photoshop fake gunfire... ahhh boys own paper stuff. 

However, here is the real history of the Spitfire that flew over Middlewich:

Built at Castle Bromwich and delivered to 9 MU Cosford on February 4th 1944.

Allotted to 443 (Canadian) Sqn on March 11th 1943 it carried the code 21-V. Used extensively on operations leading up to D-Day it was assigned to 83 Group Support Unit on August 8th 1944.
Then conversion to an instructional airframe at No 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton in October 1945 with serial 5690M.
In 1951 it was transferred to RAF Hawkinge for gate display duties carrying the serial M5690.
After some restoration work at 71 MU RAF Bicester in 1961 it was erected on a pole at RAF Locking for some years before allocation to the 'Battle of Britain' film unit at RAF Henlow in October 1967.
Carrying the spurious serials and codes N3328/AI-R & N3317/BO it was filmed at North Weald and Duxford.
Temporarily stored at RAF Henlow after the film on August 8th 1969 it joined the RAF Museum Reserve Collection based at RAF St Athan.
Over an 8 year period it was restored to flight on November 7th 1997. Joined the BBMF on November 14th 1997. Shortly to be temporarily based at RAF Barkston Heath, Lincs. while the runways at RAF Coningsby are renovated. The aircraft is presented as a clipped wing LF Mk IX and carries the only markings it ever wore operationally as 21-V of 443 Squadron RCAF. MK356 was flown in to Duxford in October 2007 for 6 months maintenance to be carried out by the Aircraft Restoration Company and will include a repaint, replacement of the MK500 Merlin engine with a M266 Merlin engine to return the aircraft to build standard, and a respar of the wings will be necessary (Major maintenance of the BBMF fighters will be carried out by the Aircraft Restoration Company (ARCo) based at Duxford near Cambridge, for the next 5 years with an option to extend to 7 years). The new paint scheme will depict a 601 Squadron aircraft based in the Italian theatre in 1943. Presented as UF-Q, MJ250 of No 601 ( County of London ) Squadron the aircraft of Flight Lieutenant Desmond Ibbotson DFC. She is now in a silver paint scheme used during late 1944 when the Squadron carried out fighter bomber missions over the Balkans from bases in Southern Italy.
A more detailed history can be found on the RAF's BBMF website.

(originally published on the Middlewich Community Group Facebook page)


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