P7350 is a Supermarine Spitfire IIA
- Battle of Britain.
During the filming, P3750 wore the following 'stage' serial numbers and code letters: N3310 'AI-A' and 'AI-E': N3312 'CD-C' and 'EI-C'; N3316 'CD-G'; N3317 'B0-H' and N3321 'DO-M'
World War Two
Built at Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire, as part of contract B981687/39/C.23(c),[N 1] P7350 was issued to 6 Maintenance Unit (MU), Brize Norton, Oxfordshire on 18 August I940, for pre-service inspection/fitment, before being issued to 266 'Rhodesia' Squadron at Wittering, Northants on 6 September 1940. On 17 October 1940, P7350 was flown by Alex Henshaw to Hornchurch, Essex, joining other Mk IIs assigned to 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron, when 266 went back to Mk.ls.
Shot down on 25 October 1940, P7350 was assessed as having Category B damage, meaning the aircraft was only repairable by MU, contractor or manufacturer, resulting in transfer to 1 Civilian Repair Unit - run by Morris Motors Ltd - at Cowley, Oxfordshire on 31 October, for repair. With the repair work completed, P7350 was ferried to 37 MU, Burtonwood, Lancashire, on 7 December I940 for pre-service inspection/fitment.
Issued to 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, Tangmere, Sussex on 18 March I941, P7350 was transferred to 64 Squadron at Hornchurch on 10 April, before being ferried to Prestwick, Scotland on 5 August 1941, for overhaul by Scottish Aviation. After another visit to 37 Mu on 29 January I942 for pre-service inspection/fitment, P7350 was issued to 57 Operational Training Unit, Eshott, Northumberland on 31 March 1943.
0n 22 April 1944, another Spitfire taxied into the back of P7350 at Eshott. Once again suffering Category B damage, the aircraft was delivered to AST for repair on 30 April 1944. Declared as awaiting collection on 13 July 1944, P7350 was issued. to 39 MU, Colerne, Wiltshire, for storaqe on 24 July.
Along with a large batch of other Spitfires, P7350 was sold for scrap as a non-effective airframe, to John Dale & Co of London Colney, Herts, on 8 July 1948, and presented to the RAF Station for preservation, instead of being removed from Colerne,
Battle of Britain film
P7350 was moved to Henlow, Bedfordshire, on 3 March 1967 for use in the film The Battle of Britain, and restored to flying condition, being registered as G-AWIJ to Spitfire Productions Ltd on 25 April 1968, for flying during the movie.[N 2]
Following the end of filming, P7350 was ferried to Coltishall, Norfolk on 8 November 1968, for the Battle of Britain Flight.[N 3]
Issued to 5 MU, Kemble, Gloucestershire, for overhaul and respray on 28 April 1969, P7350 was painted in 266 Squadron colours as 'ZH-T', and returned to Coltishall on June I2. [N 4] The Fliqht's aircraft are frequently repainted to portray other units during the winter 'lay up' and P7350 has taken on a number of guises.
In 1972, it became 'U0-T', the original Z66 Squadron markings it wore in September 1940. After being overhauled and resprayed at 5 MU, Kemble during 1977, P7350 became 'OV-B' of 19 Squadron, 1940-1941. After another trip to 5 MU on 22 September 1981, P7350 returned to Coninqsby on 26 August 1982, in 64 Squadron colours as 'SH-D', 1941
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Royal Observer Corps in 1985, P7350 was painted as presentation aircraft Observer Corps of 41 Squadron as 'EB-Z', 1940-1941,[N 5] before reverting to its genuine 266 Squadron 1940 codes of 'U0-T' in 1989. In 1991 P7350 became 'YT-F' of 65 'East lndia' Squadron. I941
During 1994 P7350 was given a major overhaul at St Athan, Wales, and repainted as 72 'Basutoland' Squadron presentation aircraft 'RN-S' Enniskillen, of 1941.[N 6] Three years later P7350 was repainted in the colours of air-sea rescue unit Z77 Squadron as The Old Lady 'BA-Y', 1942-I944. Again portraying another presentation aircraft, this time Mk.IIB P8509, which was financed in May 1941 by the Bank of England, hence The Old Lady (of Threadneedle Street)
During 1999 P7350 was repainted into 603 Squadron markings as 'XT-D', representing Mk.lA L1067 Blue Peter as flown by Sqn Ldr 'Uncle' George L Denholm - C0 of 603 June I940 to April 1941. [N 7] During May 2006 P7350 was temporarily recoded as 'XT-W' for a John M Dibbs photo-shoot for Fly Past magazine. In 2013 P7350, now wearing codes ED-G, was selected as the subject for the Supermarine Spitfire kit in the Airfix quick build range.
- ↑ Dated 12 April 1939, this called for 1,000 Mk II aircraft.
- ↑ The registration was not cancelled until February 29,1984 - presumably a 'paperwork' oversight, as it technically became a military airframe again on November 8, 1968.
- ↑ The Flight was renamed the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) on 1 June I969, relocating to Coningsby, Lincolnshire on March 1, I976.
- ↑ In September 1940, when P7350 served with 266 Squadron, their code letters were actually 'DU-'
- ↑ The actual aircraft was P7666, handed over in November I940.
- ↑ The actual aircraft was Mk.llA P7832, handed over in January I941 and part of the prodigious Spitfire Fund run by the Belfast Telegraph.
- ↑ L1067 served with 603 from September l6, 1939, until August 30, 1940, when 'Uncle' was shot down by Messerschmitt Bf I105 - he baled out successfully. On September I5, while flying Mk.l R7019, 'Uncle' was again shot down - this time after tackling a Dornier D017. He safely took to the silk once more, to fight another day.