Supermarine Spitfire


The Spitfires history is well documented, so I will not repeat it here. The Spitfire's connection to New Zealand is through the hundreds of New Zealand born wartime pilots who flew with the RAF and FAA. The aircraft was not operated by the RNZAF, although FAA Seafires visited New Zealand. After WWII ended two carriers made visits to New Zealand waters.

The first was HMS Indefatigable in a voyage from Japan via Australia to repatriate troops. The vessel arrived in Wellington on November 27 1945 and carried out operations in the Wellington and Marlborough Sounds areas before travelling up the East Coast to Auckland. Aboard were two squadrons (887 and 894) equipped with Seafire Mk.III aircraft. The aircraft visited a number of RNZAF bases and conducted several official flypasts. Accidents during operations resulted in an aircraft (PP927) being dumped off the Kapiti coast, another (NN298) off the Bay of Plenty, and a third (PR285) near the Hauraki Gulf. Indefatigable departed for Sydney on December 18. The second carrier visit was by HMS Theseus which arrived in Wellington (also via Australia) from the Far East on August 23 1947. The ship continued its voyage on August 28, and travelled up the East Coast to Auckland where it arrived late the following day. Seafire Mk.XV aircraft from 804 Squadron spent the period from 30 August to 15 September based at RNZAF Whenuapai. A flying display was held at Whenuapai on September 14. On September 15 the Indefatigable commenced exercises from Auckland. The vessel departed for Japan via the Solomons on September 17. A Seafire (believed to have been damaged in an accident) was gifted to the RNZN and taken to training station HMNZS Tamaki. The aircraft was later passed to the RNZAF who used it as an instructional airframe at RNZAF Hobsonville. Unfortunately, the aircraft was not given an official serial, and it's identity has remained a mystery. It was scrapped in the late 1950's.

In the post-war period, a number the aircraft type have found their way to New Zealand for Museums and private owners. These aircraft are:

No longer in New Zealand, Spitfire F Mk.Vc JG891/A58-178 was under restoration to flying condition by Don Subritzky for a number of years. Taken on charge by the RAF on January 2 1943 at 39 MU, the aircraft was passed to 215 MU before being despatched to Australia the following month. It arrived in Australia on April 13 and was then taken on charge by the RAAF as A58-178. The aircraft was received by 79 Squadron RAAF on May 7 1943, where it was coded UP-G. It crashed in a landing accident at Kiriwina in the Solomon Islands on Jan 11th, 1944. Damaged beyond repair it was utilised for parts. The aircraft was recovered by Monty Armstrong in 1973, and onsold to Don Subritsky in 1975. Don and his associates made progress on restoring the aircraft (ZK-MKV), but it was sold to Karel Bos in April 1999. The aircraft was shipped to Historic Flying Ltd at Audley End, UK in mid-July to become G-LFVC. Last reports indicate that after the company moved to Duxford the fuselage is in storage while the wings are being worked on. (illustrated below).

A further Mk.Vc was expected in New Zealand after restoration was completed for the AFC. This aircraft, AR614, has now been sold.

In addition, a further four Spitfire Survivors have a New Zealand connection, having served with 485(NZ) Squadron of the RAF. The four survivors are:

Last Update:- 30 July, 2003

Technical Data

Data is for Mk.16


Mk.16 bubble canopy - AWM nose on - airshow 1991 side view  - airshow 1991 rear view  - airshow 1991 Mk.16 bubble canopy - RNZAF museum Airborne Airborne with P-51D taxying (side on) - airshow 1995 taxying (nose on) - airshow 1995 with 'German' Officer static from above static - nose on engine run - profile engine run - profile engine run - rear view take off - side on low pass - underside low pass - profile low pass - nose three quarter MkV & MkXVI tail wreckage

Close Up

Remember to let me know if you have a request for an image of a particular part of the aircraft!

cockpit door control panel cockpit - port side cockpit - starboard side cockpit - rudder pedals cockpit - gunsight cockpit - headrest cockpit - exterior cockpit - exterior underside wheel well wheel well & radiator wheel well underside underside forward fuselage forward fuselage tailwheel tail and control surfaces prop and spinner engine in mount cockpit exterior view through fuselage view through fuselage view through fuselage

Special feature: ML407

During a visit to the UK in October 2001 I had the opportunity to photograph former 485(NZ) Squadron ML407. Once the mount of Johnny Houlton, this aircraft is now operated by Caroline Grace. (More details above). This is a working aircraft, and it is parked in a working hanger - which means the aircraft is not 'displayed' in a way that necessarily suits photography, so some off my angles were restricted. However, because the aircraft was undergoing maintenance, I had an opportunity to see what is normally hidden under the cowlings. Aircraft photography can be like that! Special thanks to Olivia Grace for making the arrangements for me to access this aircraft.

front three-quarter starboard front three-quarter port engine underside - starboard engine underside - port engine from starboard starboard side looking aft engine from port front cockpit from port cockpits from port starboard side looking forward port side looking forward tail section from port

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