Searching out Spitfires #1

I’ve been to a lot of places to find the aircraft that I love so I’m going to start sticking up the results in new sections on here. Might as well start off with the aircraft that 99.9% of the world wants to see… the Spitfire.

This is the ‘high back’ LF.Mk.XVI serial TB752, the ‘Manston Spitfire’.

The 'Manston Spitfire' stands proud in Kent

The ‘Manston Spitfire’ stands proud in Kent

She was built at Castle Bromwich in 1944 but held back until March 1945 before reaching an operational unit – 66 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Just days after arriving she was badly damaged in a landing accident, rebuilt and sent to Diepholz in Germany where she joined 403 ‘Wolf’ Squadron, RCAF and shot down three aircraft.

In peacetime ‘752’ suffered a lot of neglect until she was dragged out, tarted up a bit and stuck on a pole as gate guardian at the celebrated Battle of Britain station, RAF Manston, in 1955. The first move to save the old girl from the ravages of the British weather came in 1978, when a year-long 15,000-hour restoration saw her emerge in the condition you see now, in her wartime markings with 403 Squadron.

After two years of vigorous fundraising a permanent indoor home was completed for her and the Manston museum got its star exhibit. It’s a great little museum, with very kind and helpful volunteers dotted in every corner. Well worth a day out in the heart of ‘Battle of Britain country’. For more info go to the Mantson Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum site.

The Manston Spitfire represents the type's long association with this airfield

The Manston Spitfire represents the type’s long association with this airfield

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