The Aircraft

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX

Aircraft Type: MK912 Spitfire Mk9
Operator: Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar
Year of Manufacture: 1944

“This MkIXc Supermarine Spitfire has an illustrious history, including being a veteran of D-Day and being the first Allied aircraft to land on the continent after the invasion on D-Day +1. Built in 1944 at Castle Bromwhich, ‘912 was fitted with a Merlin 66 and allocated the construction number CBAF 8185. Delivered to the RAF on 24th March 1944 at no. 8 MU, it then moved to no. 84 Support Group at Aston Down on 17th May, before joining 312 (Czech) squadron at Appledram in Sussex. In the hands of pilot M.A. Liskutin, MK912 was active on D-Day, but achieved its claim to fame on D-Day plus one when a flak explosion under the aircraft caused the radio to fall off its shelf inside the fuselage and land on the control cables. Liskutin chose the nearest available field to put the aircraft down, which, fortunately, turned out to be an unfinished Allied airfield being prepared at Bazenville, Normandy. With the help of Army engineers, the radio was lashed into place and Liskutin took off again, flying over German positions and receiving bullet strikes, some of the repaired holes from which are still visible on the airframe to this day. M.A. Liskuitin has been back to Biggin Hill to revisit his old Spitfire and remarked on sitting back in the cockpit “it’s just the same,” and described the reunion as like “meeting an old friend.” After shooting down a V1 in ‘912 over Maidstone, Liskutin and the other 312 Squadron pilots converted on to H.F.IX Spitfires and ‘912 found itself back at Aston Down, before going to 64 Squadron and escorting bombers attacking troop concentrations at Arnhem on 1st October 1944.”

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Image: Darren Harbar