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Air Commodore Alan Deere DSO DFC* (deceased)
|Top scoring New Zealand Ace with 22 victories, Deere was born in Auckland on December 12th 1917. Alan Deere would become one of the RAFs finest pilots. Joining the RAF in 1937, in September 1938 Al Deere was posted to No.54 Sqn at the time flying Gloster Gladiators, then in early 1940 the Squadron converted to Spitfires. His first brush with death happened when his oxygen failed while at altitude and ke blacked out, coming to only in time to pull his aircraft out of a dive and certain death. At the beginning of May 1940 Deere took part in the intensive air war over Dunkirk and on 23rd May 1940 Deere took part in a daring rescue operation. He and Pilot Officer Allen escorted their flight commander, James Leathart, to France where he was to land a Miles Master trainer and pick up the CO of 74 Squadron who had made a forced landing on the airfield at Calais-Marck. While the pick up was made, Alan Deere was at low level with Pilot Officer Allen at 8000 feet. As Flight Commander James Leathart prepared for take off in the Master, Pilot Offcier Allen spotted a flight o Bf109s coming their way. |
Deere scored his first victory, as a strafing Bf109 pulled out of its dive, presenting a perfect target. Deere fired a short burst and the aircraft stalled and then crashed into the sea. Deere, climbing to help Allen, crossed the path of two 109ís, one of which turned towards him. Deere also turned, firing at the second one, which rolled over and dived away. Pursuing the first one, he caught up at treetop height and pursued him, firing off his remaining ammunition before the German headed for home. During the whole event Deere and Allen accoutned for three Bf109s shot down and three damaged. All three aircraft returned to their base at RAF Hornchurch.
During four days - 23rd to 29th May - Deere shot down three Bf109ís and three Bf110ís but his luck ran out and he was shot down over Dunkirk while attacking a Dornier Do17 and luckily managed a forced landing in Belgium where he optained a bicycle and cycled to Dunkirk where he managed to get on a destroyer and returned to Hornchurch within 30 hours of taking off. In June he was decorated with the DFC by the King at a special ceremony at Hornchurch. Alan Deere destroyed seven more enemy fighters and one bomber during the Battle of Britian and was awarded a Bar to the DFC. In January 1941 became an Operations Room Controller. He returned to operations on 7th May 1941, joining 602 Squadron in Scotland as a Flight Commander.
On August 1st 1941 Alan Deere took command of 602 Squadron and on that day destroyed a Bf109. When his second operational tour ended in January 1942 Deere went to the USA to lecture on fighter tactics. In May 1942, he took command of 403 Squadron, commanding the squadron until August before being posted to staff duties. During a temporary attachment to 611 Squadron in February 1943 Deere destroyed an Fw190. Some days later he was appointed Wing Leader at Biggin Hill. He flew 121 sorties during his six months leadership and by this time his tally was twenty-two confirmed victories, ten probables and eighteen damaged.
He was also awarded the DSO and a bar to his DFC. Alan Deere was also awarded the Croix de Guerre and the DFC (USA) and in May 1945 He was awarded an OBE. In December 1977 Air Commodore Deere retired form the Royal Air Force. Iin 1959 Air Commodore Alan Deere wrote of his experiences in his book, íNine Livesí. Sadly, he passed away on 21st September 1995.
Air Commodore Sir Archie Winskill KCVO CBE DFC AE (deceased)
|An RAFVR pilot, Winskill flew with both 72 Squadron and 603 Squadrons during the Battle of Britain. Commissioned in August 1940 he was posted in February 1941 to 41 Squadron where he soon became a Flight Commander. Baders determination to engage the enemy at every possible opportunity is what he remembers most clearly of the period, On August 14th he was shot down over France, just five days after Bader. He managed to evade capture and, with the help of the French Resistance, made his way to Spain and then Gibraltar. He was the first pilot to use this route home. After another operational posting to North Africa, after which he was awarded a Bar to his DFC, he finished the war with four confirmed victories. Post war he stayed on in the RAF and was Captain of the Queens Flight for 14 years. He died 9th August 2005.|
Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC* (deceased)
|James Edgar Johnson was born in Barrow on Soar near Loughborough on 9th March 1915. He lived in Melton, the first house on the left of Welby Lane as you leave Nottingham Road, with his parents - his father being a local Police Inspector. Johnnie qualified as a Civil Engineer at Nottingham University in 1937. He joined the RAFVR and did his flying training at 21 E&RFTS, Stapleford before enlisting for full-time service in the RAF at the beginning of WWII. He first went to ITW at Jesus College, Cambridge, completed his ab initio flying at 22 EFTS, Cambridge and his intermediate and advanced flying at 5 FTS, Sealand. Johnnie Johnson joined 92 Spitfire squadron in August 1940, but it was with 616 squadron that he scored his first victory on June 26th 1941 while flying with Douglas Baders Tangmere Wing. He was squadron leader of 610 squadron in July 1942, but it was as Wing Commander of the Kenley Wing in 1943 that his scores really started to mount. He was W/C of 144 wing during D-Day and led 127 and 125 wings until the end of the war when we has the topscoring allied fighter pilot with 38 air victories. Inspired by the great British WW 1 aces like Bishop and Ball, Johnnie Johnson dreamed often as a child of becoming an R.A.F. pilot. The young Johnson enthusiastically joined the Volunteer Reserve at the first opportunity. After completing his initial flight training Johnson was posted to 616 Squadron at Kenley. However, this Squadron had been hit hard with the loss of six pilots and five wounded, and the unit was withdrawn to Coltishall prior to Johnson encountering combat. With only 12 hours of flight time in a Spitfire this was no doubt advantageous. In February 1941 Billy Burton moved the Squadron to Tangmere. Douglas Bader then arrived to take over the Tangmere Wing, and fly with the 616 Squadron. Johnnie, Alan Smith and Cocky Dundas were chosen to fly with Bader. During the summer of 1940 the Battle of Britain was at its peak. Bader took the time to instruct Johnson carefully in both the art of flying and the skills necessary to attain success in aerial combat. Baders idea of an afternoon off duty, according to Johnson, was to take his section over the Channel in hopes of running into Adolph Galland and his Abbeyville Boys. On August 19, 1941 Bader failed to return from a mission when 616 Squadron was hit hard by a group of Messerschmitt 109s. Johnson flew on in Baders absence, and in the summer of 1942 he was promoted to command of the 610 Squadron. In 1943 he was promoted again to Wing Commander of the Canadian Spitfire Wing in Kenley. By that time Johnson had attained eight confirmed victories. During the spring and summer of 1943 Johnnie led the Canadian unit on more than 140 missions over Northwest Europe. Johnsons squadron attained more than 100 victories during this period, and Johnnies own personal score rose to 25. After a short leave, Johnson was posted to lead the 144 Canadian Spitfire Wing. On D-Day Johnson led his Wing on four missions in support of the Allied invasion. On June 8, Johnsons Wing was the first Spitfire group to land in newly liberated France. Johnson continued fighting in France through September 1944 when he achieved his 38th and final victory. Patrolling the Rhine Johnsons unit jumped nine 109s which were flying beneath them in the opposite direction. Five of the 109s were downed. Early in 1945 Johnson was promoted to Group Captain and put in command of the 125 Wing, which was equipped with the Spitfire XIV. Flying from former Luftwaffe airfields the 125 Wing assisted in the final Allied push to Berlin. Johnson attributed much of his aerial combat success to his ability to make tight turning maneuvers. Johnsons tightest call came on August 19, 1942 when he was unable to dislodge an Me-109 from his tail during the raid on Diepppe. Johnson raced his Spitfire flat out at a group of Royal Navy ships. The usual barrage of flak and tracer fire came right at him, and fortunately for the ace, missed his Spitfire but effectively eliminated the brave pilot on his tail. During the Korean War Johnson flew fighter-bombers with the USAF. Following his retirement from the R.A.F. in 1966 Johnson founded the Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust that has provided homes for more than 4000 disabled and elderly persons, and his sixth book Winged Victory was published in 1995. Johnson flew many of the Spitfire models. His favorite was the beautiful Mark IX, the best of them all. Johnnie passed away in 2001 at the age of 85, in Derbyshire, England.|
|Charles Fischette||RAF fighter ace with 5 victories. On April 5th Charles Fischette while Escorting A-20s downed a FW190 and on May 6th while participating in a sweep to Tunis, Fischette destroyed another German fighter. On June 10th while escorting bombers to the Italian island stronghold of Pantelleria. was engaged by 30 enemy fighters over the harbour. Fischette destroyed one ME-109 and shared a probable with Lt. Wooten. On the 11th Pantelleria fell but the 307th engaged a formation of bombers and fighters attacking the invasion fleet. Lt Fischette downed 2 enemy aircraft and making him a ace. (and his five victories were part of the the 307th total of 33 enemy aircraft downed at that point). Charles Fischette woulod gonto command the 494th fighter SQD on the 19th July 1944|
Group Captain Allan Wright DFC AFC (deceased)
|Born Devon 12th February 1920. He entered RAF College Cranwell as Flight Cadet April 1938. After training Allan was posted to 92 Sqn at Tangmere on 27 October. Over Dunkirk on 23 May 1940 he destroyed an Me110 and possibly two more, on the 24th a possible He111 and on 2 June a confirmed Me109. During the Battle of Britain he destroyed a He111 on 14 August, a He111 at night over Bristol on 29 August, a He111 and Me109 on 11 Sept, a He111 on the 14th, a Me109 on the 15th, a Ju88 on the 19th, a Do17 on the 26th, a Ju88 on the 27th plus damaging a He111, a Do17, two Ju88s, two Me109s on the 30th. On 30 Sept he was shot down wounded near Brighton and hospitalised. An award of the DFC was made on 22 October 1940. On 6 December 1940 he destroyed a Me109. By July 1941 Wright had destroyed 6 more Me109s and received a bar to the DFC on 15 July. Service at HQ Fighter Command and as an instructor followed until being posted to 29 Squadron at West Malling in March 1943 where he destroyed a Ju88 on 3 April. Further command postings saw him through the war and post-war till 12 February 1967 when he retired as a Group Captain. Group Captain Allan Wright, who has died aged 95, was a veteran of the Battle of France in 1940 and one of the last three surviving Battle of Britain ace fighter pilots. As the opening phase of the Battle of Britain commenced in July 1940, Wright and his colleagues of No 92 Squadron were resting in South Wales following their fierce activity covering the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force from the beaches of northern France. Nevertheless, Wright shared in the destruction of a German bomber over Gloucestershire and on August 29 achieved a rare success for a Spitfire pilot when he engaged a Heinkel III bomber over Bristol at night and shot it down. On September 9th No.92 Sqn was sent to Biggin Hill, at the height of the battle, to intercept the large formations of enemy bombers attacking London. Within two days Wright achieved success when he destroyed another Heinkel bomber and probably one of the escorting Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. In the space of the next 20 days, as the battle reached its climax, he was credited with knocking out four more enemy aircraft, sharing in the destruction of a fifth, probably destroying a further two and damaging four. On September 30th he engaged some Bf 109 fighters near Brighton and shot one down. His Spitfire was damaged and he had to make a forced landing. He was slightly wounded in this engagement and this signalled the end of his involvement in the battle. A month later he was awarded the DFC for displaying great determination and skill. The son of Air Commodore A C Wright, a Royal Flying Corps pilot and regular RAF officer, Allan Richard Wright was born at Teignmouth, Devon, on February 12 1920 and educated at St Edmunds College. He was awarded a cadetship to the RAF College, Cranwell, where he gained a commendation before graduating as a pilot in October 1939. Wright joined No.92 Squadron as it was re-equipping with the Spitfire. Flying from Northolt, the squadron was soon in action over Dunkirk. Wright flew his first patrol on May 23rd, when he destroyed a Messerschmitt Bf 110, possibly brought down another and damaged a third. His successes were tempered by the loss of his closest friend from his time at Cranwell. Many years later he commented: We were just 22 years old and I was overwhelmed by shock and disbelief. The whole episode seemed a dream. The squadron's commanding officer, Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, was also shot down on this day. Later, as Big X, Bushell masterminded the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, but he was murdered by the Gestapo after being recaptured. Wright flew six more patrols over the Dunkirk area, being engaged and firing his guns every time, and was credited with shooting down an enemy fighter and possibly destroying a bomber. After recovering from wounds sustained in the closing phase of the Battle of Britain, Wright returned to No.92 Sqn and, in December, shot down a Bf 109. He saw considerable action over northern France during the spring and summer of 1941. Fighter Command had gone on the offensive, seeking combat, and Wright gained further success. Flying the Spitfire Mk V on sweeps and bomber escort operations, he was frequently engaged by Bf 109s and he destroyed one, shared in the destruction of another and probably destroyed two more. On one occasion his Spitfire was badly damaged but he managed to cross the Channel back to England to make an emergency landing. He was rested in July after a year of constant combat and was awarded a Bar to his DFC. Wright then trained fighter pilots before becoming the chief instructor at the newly formed Pilot Gunnery Instructors School. He later undertook a tour of the United States to discuss gunnery and fighter tactics. On his return he trained as a night fighter pilot before becoming the flight commander on No.29 Squadron flying the Beaufighter. On April 3rd 1943 he shot down a Junkers 88 bomber and damaged a second, his final success of the war. As a 23-year-old wing commander, he took command of the Air Fighting Development Unit, his service recognised by the award of the AFC. In early 1945 he left for Egypt to command the fighter wing of a bombing and gunnery school. He remained in the RAF and held a number of fighter-related appointments including four years at the Air Ministry responsible for air defence planning. After converting to jet fighters he became wing commander, flying at Waterbeach near Cambridge with Hunter and Javelin squadrons under his command. After two years in the Far East and a further two at HQ, Fighter Command, he was appointed to command the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station (BMEWS) - the famous Giant Golf Balls - situated on the Yorkshire Moors at Fylingdales, near Whitby. This was the final site of three - the others operated by the USAF at Thule in Greenland and Clear in Alaska - to provide early warning of a ballistic missile attack. Fylingdales became fully operational during Wrights period of command. He retired from the RAF in February 1967. He moved to North Devon where he spent the next 10 years developing a smallholding and renovating a cottage. He was an excellent and meticulous carpenter and woodworker. He married his wife Barbara in June 1942 and she and their two sons and two daughters survive him. Group Captain Allan Wright, born February 12 1920, died September 16 2015.|
Group Captain Dennis David CBE DFC AFC (deceased)
|Dennis David served with distinction in both the Battle of France and Battle of Britain. He regards the RAFs success in the former - during which he was credited with 11.5 victories - as crucial to victory in the Battle of Britain. He was a member of 87 Squadron at the outbreak of war and was posted to France in 1939 as part of the Air Component. When the Blitzkrieg began on 10th May 1940, he was a Flying Officer. He destroyed a Do17 and shared a He111 on the first day, and by the time the squadron withdrew to the United Kingdom late in the month he had brought his score to 11.5 and been awarded the DFC and Bar. He continued to fly during the Battle of Britain, destroying a Ju88 and a Bf109 on the 11th August, a Ju87, a Bf110 and another shared on the 15th and a Ju88 and Bf109 on the 25th. He shot down a He111 on 15th September and the following month was posted as a Flight Commander to 213 Squadron. On 19th October he destroyed a Ju88 to bring his score to 20 and in November was posted to 152 Squadron. In 1943, with the rank of Wing Commander, he was posted to the Middle East to command 89 Squadron on Beaufighters. In November he led the Squadron to Ceylon and early the following year was promoted again to Group Captai. He served in Burma until the end of the war, after which he remained in the RAF with the Rank of Wing Commander. He died 25th August 2000.|
Group Captain Desmond Sheen DFC* (deceased)
|Desmond Frederick Burt Sheen was born in Sydney, Australia, on October 2 1917. After school, he received a cadetship in the Royal Australian Air Force and in 1937 sailed for Britain, where he was granted a short service commission in the RAF and was posted to No 72 Squadron. During the Battle of Britain, Desmond got his first victories and was shot down twice during the Battle of Britain, in the course of which he accounted for three enemy aircraft destroyed, one shared, two probably destroyed and two damaged. By the summer of 1940, Sheen, was serving as a Spitfire pilot with No 72 Squadron, based at Acklington, Northumberland. Although well to the north of the main area of the Battle of Britain, on August 15 the squadron was heavily engaged with the enemy. Flying from Denmark and Norway, a Luftwaffe force of more than 60 bombers with a 34-strong fighter escort was making for the RAF's fighter bases in north-east England. With two other Spitfire squadrons, No 72 raced to intercept them. In the ensuing action, beyond the Farne Islands, Sheen accounted for two Me 110 fighters, one of which almost did for him. |
Flames and smoke appeared near the inside of the port engine. he said. The enemy aircraft, either with the pilot shot or in a deliberate attempt to ram me, approached head on left wing low. Sheen took evasive action and saved his neck. A fortnight later, on August 31, No 72 was ordered south to No 11 Group fighter sector station at Biggin Hill, Kent - where they landed as the airfield was being heavily bombed. The next morning, having transferred to Croydon, they were scrambled to intercept a large enemy force approaching London. This time Sheen's aircraft was hit. As his cockpit filled with dense smoke, he released his straps, turned the Spitfire on its back, pushed the stick forward and dropped out. It was a sunny day, and as he drifted to the ground he had a grandstand view of the battle Several dogfights were going on and an Me 109 went past me in flames. I think the pilot baled out but his harness broke and he didn't make it.On reaching the ground, Sheen was confronted by a girl and a young Army officer who, suspicious of the darker blue of Sheen's old Australian uniform, brandished a revolver. The misunderstanding cleared up, the girl took Sheen to a nearby house where a party of guests were enjoying pre-lunch drinks on the lawn as they watched the battle in the sky overhead. Four days later, back with his squadron, Sheen was shot down again. As his Spitfire hurtled towards the ground, Sheen, though wounded, managed to release his harness. He was sucked out of the cockpit, but his boots caught on the windscreen and he was left lying on top of the fuselage.
After what seemed an age, he recalled, my feet came free and I pulled the ripcord and my parachute opened with a terrific jerk. I just had time to see treetops underneath when I was in them. These broke my fall and I landed on my feet as light as a feather. A bobby appeared on the proverbial bicycle. He pulled out a flask, bless him, and handed it to me. 'You left it a bit late,' he said.
His first real taste of action came on October 21 1939, when he shot down two of some dozen Heinkel 115 floatplanes that were attacking a North Sea convoy off the Yorkshire coast. In early December, north of Arbroath in Scotland, Sheen shared in the destruction of an He 111 bomber. Flying so low that he opened fire at a level below the top of a nearby lighthouse, he was hit by return fire and wounded in the leg.
I stopped a couple of bullets, Sheen explained. One went through my earphones and the other got me in the thigh. The most serious was a bullet in my fuel tank. The petrol began to stream into the cockpit. I went in again to attack but I was dizzy and decided to turn for home.After a spell in hospital, in April 1940 Sheen was posted to the embryo photographic-reconnaissance unit which had been formed under Sidney Cotton, another intrepid Australian. The two men flew down to the south of France and to Sardinia where, flying unarmed Spitfires, they made photo-recce sorties over Italy. Sheen resumed with No 72 at the end of July 1940 and later, after the Battle of Britain and a second spell in hospital, took part in a night action over the North Sea which he described in a broadcast on the BBC. In bright moonlight, on the night of March 13-14 1941, he intercepted a Ju 88.
As I opened fire I could see my tracer bullets bursting in the Junkers like fireworks . . . when I turned in for my next attack I saw that one of the Hun's engines was beginning to burn but just to make quite sure of him I pumped in a lot more bullets then I had to dive like mad to avoid ramming him.
Not long after this, Sheen received command of No 72. Flying from Biggin Hill, he led the squadron - and sometimes the Spitfire Wing - in offensive sweeps over occupied Europe. Subsequently, he held staff appointments and station commands in Britain and in the Middle East. He was awarded a DFC in 1940 and a Bar to it in 1941. Sheen was released from the RAF in 1947, but in 1949, dropping in rank from wing commander to flight lieutenant, he rejoined with a permanent commission. From 1950 to 1952, he commanded No 502, a Royal Auxiliary Air Force fighter squadron equipped with Spitfires, and later with Vampire jets. In 1954, he was posted to the Central Flying Establishment's air fighting unit, and a year later to RAF Leuchars, in Scotland, as Wing Commander Flying. Subsequent appointments included the command of RAF Odiham (1962-64), and Group Captain Organisation at Transport Command. After retirement in 1971, he joined the BAC/British Aerospace to administer the company's BAC 111 and Concorde marketing teams. He died aged 83 in 2001.
|RAF fighter ace with 6 victories. Born in Dublin, Texas, he is one of the few Americans to become an ace flying the Supermarine Spitfire. March 1942 saw him in England flying in the 31st. F.G., 307th Squadron. This was the first Yank fighter unit in the country since WWI. On August 19, 1942, he received his baptism of fire above the ill-fated commando raid on the coast of France. Later, Collinsworth helped spearhead Operation Torch landings in Oran, Algeria, still flying Spitfires. He covered the landings at southern Sicily, flying from Maltas sister island Gozo. In 125 combat sorties, he shot down 6 Axis aircraft, 1 probable and 1 damaged. He finished his military career as a Colonel. His Spitfire is seen low left in Defiance at Dieppe. Awards include D.F.C. with 1 O.L.C., Air Medal with 17 O.L.C.s, the Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal.|
Squadron Leader Neville Duke, DSO, OBE, DFC*, AFC, CzMC (deceased)
|Neville Duke flew Spitfires as wingman to Sailor Malan in 92 Squadron. In November 1941 he was posted to 112 Squadron in the Middle East. After a second tour in the Desert, he flew a third tour, with 145 Squadron in Italy. He was the top scoring Allied Ace in the Mediterranean with 28 victories. After the war, in 1953, he captured the World Air Speed record. He died 7th April 2007.|
Wing Commander Harbourne Stephen CBE, DSO, DFC (deceased)
|Flying Spitfires with 605 squadron he took part in the air battles over France and Dunkirk and throughout the thick of the Battle of Britain. He was one of the top scoring R.A.F. pilots at the end of 1940 with 22 and a half air victories. In 1942 he was posted to the far east where he took command of 166 wing, remaining in fighters until the end of the war. After the war he had a successful career in newspapers where he became managing Director of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. He died on 20th August 2001.|
Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC (deceased)
|At the outbreak of war Paddy flew obsolete Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders in combat, but converted to Spitfires and joined 602 Squadron at Tangmere. During the Battle of Britain he flew with some of the great aces - Douglas Bader, Sailor Malan, and Bob Stanford Tuck. In 1941 he was a Flight Commander with 610 Squadron. Continuing to fly Spitfires, now with 122 Squadron based at Hornchurch, he flew fighter sweeps and escort missions. On 17th May 1942 he was shot down over St Omer. He baled out but was captured, spending the next three years as a POW. One of the RAFs best known and best loved characters, though the bane of certain senior officers, Paddy Barthropps RAF service spanned the period from bi-planes to supersonic jets. Joining the RAF in 1938, his first squadron was 613 flying Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders. In 1940 he was released to fly Spitfires with 602 Squadron where he shared in the destruction of two aircraft. He was posted to 610 Squadron, and then to 91 Squadron, shooting down two Bf 109s during summer 1941 and receiving the DFC. In August 1941 he returned to 610 Squadron as a flight commander. He was shot down three times, the third time being taken prisoner ofwar. He had by then brought his total to 9. Scraps in the air were accompanied by scrapes on the ground, and appearances in Magistrates Courts for disorderly conduct. Addicted to fast cars and lively ladies - and the sworn enemy of stuffed shirts everywhere - he was the irrepressible life and soul of any party, and a persistant thorn in the side of overweening authority as the Germans were to discover. The war over, he was posted to the Empire Test Pilots School where he flew over a hundred different types of plane in ten months. Soon, he was out in the Sudan and in serious trouble again - under arrest after taking a hippo to an upper-crust party. As a boy, he had been taught to ride by champion jockey Steve Donaghue and now, posted to Hong Kong, he rode winners on the track at Happy Valley, and seriously thought of turning professional. Then it was back to the U.K. to take up an appointment as a Fighter Station Commander, and to lead the Coronation fly-past over Buckingham Palace. He left the RAF to set up his own luxury car-hire firm. He died on 16th April 2008.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Spitfire||Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.|
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