Aeroplane September 2017

(Brent) #1


HIRTY-fi ve years after it
was recovered from the
depths of Loch Doon in
South Ayrshire, Supermarine
Spitfi re IIa P7540 was unveiled
in front of an audience of more
than 2,000 visitors at the
Dumfries and Galloway
Aviation Museum at Tinwald
Downs on 16 July, The aircraft
is now on permanent display in
a new purpose-built hangar.
Curator David Reid
commented: “This has been a
long time coming for us, but
we are immensely proud to
fi nally have this aircraft on
display. It is the only combat
veteran Spitfi re in Scotland,
with a fascinating history from
the Battle of Britain to a
training aircraft for Czech
pilots. The next stage of its
restoration can now begin, as
we refi t the cockpit and carry
out detail work on the rest of
the airframe. Eventually, we
intend to allow visitors to sit in
the aircraft, although this will
take some time to achieve.
However, to unveil the aircraft
in this, our 40th anniversary
year, is a tremendous
achievement for a small
volunteer museum.”
It took a fi ve-year search,
involving more than 567
separate dives, to locate the
wreck, which was brought to
the surface in the summer of

  1. The restoration has
    involved many museum
    volunteers and outside

Dumfries Spitfi re IIa unveiled

September 2017 News

groups: fuselage work was
carried out by the Aircraft
Restoration Group at Pickhill,
near Thirsk in north Yorkshire,
and the replica wings were
supplied by Gateguards UK in
P7540 was built in October
1940 at Castle Bromwich and
issued to No 66 Squadron at
RAF Gravesend, Kent in time
for the closing few days of the

Battle of Britain. Among its
pilots was Flt Lt Bobby
Oxspring, with whom it saw
combat on several occasions.
It was also operated by Nos
609 and 266 Squadrons at
Biggin Hill and Wittering
before transferring to No 312
(Czechoslovak) Squadron on
6 July 1941.
312 was at the time fl ying
Hurricanes from RAF Ayr, but it

re-equipped with the Spitfi re
Vb at the end of the year. Six
war-weary examples of the
Spitfi re IIa, including P7540,
were used to aid the transition.
P7540 crashed on 25 October
1941 while being fl own by
26-year-old Fg Off František
Hekl on a familiarisation sortie.
It was only his second Spitfi re
fl ight. While passing low over
Loch Doon, the Spitfi re’s
starboard wing struck the
surface and the aircraft
crashed. Hekl’s body was
never found and he is
commemorated on a memorial
at the side of the loch.

We are immensely proud to fi nally have this
aircraft on display. It is the only combat veteran
Spitfi re in Scotland, with a fascinating history


PLANS to move Tony Agar’s de Havilland
Mosquito NFII HJ711 from the Yorkshire
Air Museum (YAM) at Elvington (see News,
Aeroplane August 2017) have been
brought forward by several months. The
machine was dismantled for transportation
to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage
Centre (LAHC) at East Kirkby during the
weekend of 29-30 July. Experts from the
de Havilland Aircraft Museum, the LAHC
and a group of YAM volunteers ensured
that the disassembly of this precious
aeroplane went smoothly.

Spitfi re IIa P7540 wearing its freshly painted No 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron markings at the Dumfries
and Galloway Aviation Museum on 16 July. VIA BOB SLOAN

Loading of
Mosquito NFII
HJ711 begins at
Elvington on 30

06-15_AM_NEWS_Sept17_cc C.indd 7 31/07/2017 14:

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