The Aircraft

Supermarine Spitfire IX (G-LFIX)

• Aircraft Type: Supermarine Spitfire IX
• Operator: Air Leasing Ltd
• Year of Manufacture: 1944
• Powered by: Rolls Royce Merlin
• Colour Scheme: 485 Squadron RAF

The Grace Spitfire ML407 was originally built at Castle Bromwich in early 1944 as a single seat fighter and served in the front line of battle throughout the last twelve months of World War II. ML407 flew a total of 176 operational combat sorties amassing an impressive total of 319 combat hours. Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton DFC who was accredited, whilst flying ML407, with the first enemy aircraft shot down over the Normandy beachhead on 6th June D-Day. ML407 was converted in 1950 to the two seat configuration for the Irish Air Corps as an advanced trainer. Design Engineer Nick Grace acquired ML407 in late 1979 from the Strathallan Museum and spent five years meticulously restoring the Spitfire to flying condition. After Nick Graces untimely death in a car accident Carolyn Grace took up the gauntlet of keeping this aircraft flying and now the next generation, being Richard Grace is not only maintaining the aircraft but is flying the aircraft just as his late father had done.

Images: Darren Harbar