Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V
Operator: Comanche Fighters LLC
Year of Manufacture: 1942 Delivered January 1943
Powered by: Rolls-Royce Merlin 35
Colour Scheme: 249 Sqn RAF based at Ta Qali airfield, Malta 1943. Representing JK879, the personal aircraft of Flt Sgt John G. “Jack” Hughes RCAF serving with the RAF
Spitfire JG891/G-LFVC was built as a Mk Vc (T) at Castle Bromwich and delivered to 39MU, RAF Colerne on January 2nd 1943. It moved to 215MU at Dumfries for overseas shipment packing and sailed to Australia on 4th February aboard the SS Tijuga arriving on 13th April. Issued to 79 Sqn RAAF on 6th May it moved operating bases several times before being based at Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea. A flapless landing, downwind on 12th January 1944 resulted in the aircraft flipping over and being written off, with the pilot suffering only minor injuries. After spares recovery the hulk was pushed into undergrowth along with two other Spitfires. Discovered in 1973, the Spitfire was removed and then passed through a number of owners before being acquired by Karel Bos and moved to his company Historic Flying in March 1999. Restoration was undertaken at Duxford from 2003, but in May 2006 the unfinished project was sold to American collector Thomas L Blair who contracted HFL to finish the Spitfire. A first flight ensued on 2nd November 2006 in the hands of Aircraft Restoration Company Chief Pilot John Romain and JG891 was regularly displayed until shipped to the owner’s base at Kissimmee, Florida in January 2008. Comanche Fighters acquired the Spitfire in December 2008 and refinished the Spitfire to represent the Vb operated by Wing Cdr Robert Stanford-Tuck. It has recently been repainted in the authentic colours of a Spitfire MkVc(T) of 249 Sqn operating from Ta Qali airfield, Malta in 1943.
Images: Col Pope