Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb (AB910 / SH-F) from the RAF BBMF (RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight)
at the Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days 2016, Leeuwarden (the Netherlands)
Spitfire Mk Vb AB910 flew 143 operational missions in a remarkable wartime 'career' that spanned almost 3 years on 'ops' (operations). Initially allocated to 222 (Natal) Squadron at North Weald in August 1941, the aircraft was damaged during a forced landing at Lympne within days of arriving. After repair, it was re-allocated to 130 Squadron, at Perranporth, Cornwall, flying convoy protection patrols and escorting daylight bombing raids. In June 1942, the aircraft was delivered to 133 (Eagle) Squadron at Biggin Hill. AB910 flew 29 'ops' with this unit, including four sorties on 19 August 1942 during the fierce aerial battle in support of Operation "Jubilee", the Dieppe Raid. One of her pilots, Flight Sergeant 'Dixie' Alexander, was credited with destroying a Dornier 217 bomber in AB910 during these combats. AB910 continued to fly operationally up to July 1944, serving with 242, 416 and 402 (RCAF) Squadrons, flying numerous cover patrols with the latter over the D-Day invasion beach heads on 6 June 1944 and afterwards. Post-war AB910 was 'demobbed' and flew as an air racer for 6 years before being returned to Vickers- Armstrong for refurbishment in 1953. After this it was displayed regularly by the renowned Spitfire test pilot Jeffrey Quill until being donated by the company to the BBMF in 1965. After undergoing a 'major plus' maintenance programme, effectively a complete refurbishment, with the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, AB910 returned to the BBMF at Coningsby in time for the 2015 display season. It is now painted in a colour scheme based on Spitfire Mk Vb BM327, "SH-F", named "PeterJohn1", the personal aircraft of Flight Lieutenant Tony Cooper, one of the flight commanders on 64 Squadron in 1944.