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HistoryEdit

World War IIEdit

AR213 - Fuselage No. WASP/20/2 - was the second of a batch of 300 assorted marks I – V, built by Westland at Yeovil against Contract No. 124305/40, and delivered to the aircraft storage depot of 12 MU Kirkbride on July 24th 1941. By this stage of the war a Mk.I was not up to scratch in terms of operational capability, and as such its first unit was 57 OTU Hawarden to which it went on July 31st.

The aircraft remained here until it was transferred to 53 OTU Llandow on February 20th 1943. During its service here it suffered a Cat.Ac flying accident on 19th April. It was dispatched for repairs on 22nd April and returned to the unit, by this time at Kirton-in-Lindsay, on 12th May, but suffered a similar accident on 12th November, being dispatched for repairs on 24th November and returning to Kirton-in-Lindsay on 10th December 1943. The remainder of its life was uneventful until it was transferred to No.8 MU Little Rissington for storage on August 17th 1944 until struck off charge on November 30th 1945.

Post WarEdit

Sold to Allen Wheeler[N 1] on March 10th 1947 and registered G-AIST. AR213 was placed in storage at Old Warden and later at Abingdon until 1967 when it was surveyed and found to be in excellent condition apart from a damaged centre section spar, it was quickly brought to flying condition with the help of a spar from TB863 for 'The Battle of Britain' film. After being based at Duxford it was flown to its new home at Booker where it was restored to wartime markings “QG-A”. Then flown by Wheeler for several years before being sold to The Hon Patrick Lindsay in 1978.

Following Lindsay's death on January 9th 1986, AR213 was sold in April 1989 to Victor Gauntlett, PPS at Booker. Victor Gauntlett died in 2003 and AR213 underwent a major overhaul and reconstruction at Booker, High Wycombe for operation by Sheringham Aviation. Its flying permit expired in 2002 and it was decided to completely rebuild AR213 to give it another 20 years of airworthy life.[2]

In November 2007 AR213 completed its first flight after four-years restoration to the original Mk. I configuration, making two fights at High Wycombe - unpainted - with Jonathon Whaley at the controls.[3]

Following the restoration, AR213 was repainted in authentic 57 OTU colours, coded JZ-E. This was the colour scheme used when Flt Lt James Harry 'Ginger' Lacey served with the unit.[N 2] Sold by Sheringham Aviation in 2011 to 'Spitfire The One Ltd', Tom Friedkin? and is currently residing at the IWM Duxford. [1]

On 23 May 2016 AR213 - now marked as R9632 - left Duxford for Merville, acompanied by X4650/G-CGUK/R9612, for participation in the Warner Bros film Dunkirk.[4]

NotesEdit

  1. Wheeler originally intended racing AR213 but this never happened.[1]
  2. Lacey, who had shot down more enemy aircraft then anyone else during the Battle of Britain, was posted to 57 OTU for a rest as an instructor and flew AR213 as his personal aircraft.

SourcesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 AR213 on Military Airshows Website Spitfire page
  2. AR213 entry on Sons of Damian Website
  3. Post restoration flight report on Spitfire Society website
  4. Aeroplane Monthly. Kelsey Media. - August 2016 page 7

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