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Christer Bergström 8th June 2006 13:43

Spitfire P7350
Is there anyone here who knows if and where the Spitfire P7350 served during the Battle of Britain?

penguin832au 8th June 2006 14:35

Re: Spitfire P7350

Originally Posted by Christer Bergström
Is there anyone here who knows if and where the Spitfire P7350 served during the Battle of Britain?


Here is a history of P7350:
P7350 is the oldest airworthy Spitfire in the world, it is believed to be the 14th Spitfire built at Castle Bromwich on August 13 1940 and was issued to 6 MU(Brize Norton), then to 266 Sqn. at Wittering on September 6 coded UO-T. Moved to Hornchurch on October 17 for 603(County of Edinburgh) Sqn. RAuxAF, where it was in combat with Bf 109’s and was forced to crash land, the repaired bullet holes can still be seen. Delivered to 1 Civilian Repair Unit on October 31 at Cowley, Oxon. It arrived at 37 MU(Burtonwood) on December 7 for return to service. Issued to 616 (South Yorkshire) Sqn. at Tangmere on March 18 1941, followed by 64 Sqn. at Hornchurch on April 10. Then on August 5 arrived at Scottish Aviation, Prestwick for overhaul. Back to 37 MU on January 29 1942. P7350 then joined the Central Gunnery School, Sutton Bridge on April 27 staying there until it went to Air Service Training(AST) Hamble on February 2 1942 for unspecified work, on March 20 it was awaiting collection at Hamble. On March 23 it was issued to 6 MU Brize Norton. On March 31 it was on charge with 57 OTU Harwarden. On April 22 1944 while lined up on the end of the runway at Eshott another Spitfire taxied into P7350. Arrived at AST Hamble on April 30 for repairs, and was awaiting collection on July 13. On July 24 1944 it was issued to 39 MU Colerne for allocation to duties, P7350 remained in store.

Declared a non-effective airframe on July 8 1948 was sold to John Dale & Co. scrap merchants, seemingly never left RAF charge was donated back to RAF Colerne for display until March 3 1967 when it moved by road to Henlow for restoration to flying condition for the film ‘Battle of Britain’ wearing (movie)codes DO-M, it was registered on April 25 1968 as G-AWIJ to Spitfire Productions Ltd. for the film although ownership remained with the Ministry of Defence. On November 8 1968, P7350 joined the ‘Battle of Britain’ flight at Coltishall. From 1968-71 it was coded ZH-T (266 Sqn.). On January 1 1969 the flight was renamed ‘Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’. From 1972-77 it was coded UO-T (266 Sqn.), the BBMF moved to RAF Coningsby on March 1 1976. P7350 was coded QV-B (19 Sqn.) from 1978 to 1981, then SH-D (64 Sqn.) from 1982-84. On February 29 1984 the registration G-AWIJ was cancelled, P7350 was effectively only a ‘civilian’ for the filming of the ‘Battle of Britain’, but the registration remained active until this date. In 1985 it appeared at the Great Warbirds Air Display in the markings of 41 Sqn. EB-Z ‘OBSERVER CORPS.’ (the squadron codes of P7666) which it wore from 1958-88.
From 1989-90 P7350 was coded UO-T(41 Sqn.), then YT-F (65 Sqn.) from 1991-93. On March 5 1996 P7350 re-enacted the first flight of prototype K5054 over Southampton to celebrate the 60th anniversary piloted by Sqn. Ldr. Paul Day.

March 1997, P7350 having worn 72 Sqn. RN-S codes for some time will emerge after winter maintenance at RAF Coningsby in Air Sea Rescue colours(two tone grey upper surfaces and duck egg blue undersurfaces with black stripe nose to tail) of 277 Sqn. with codes BA-Y to represent P8509 ‘THE OLD LADY’.

On 3rd May 1998, at the Duxford Spitfire Airshow, P7350 was in the flypast of the formation of 16 Spitfires, it formed Yellow section with AB910, PS915 and PM631. This was the biggest formation since WWII. P7350 changed its colours in April ‘99 to those of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn. coded XT-D to represent Spitfire I L1067 ‘BLUE PETER’ as flown by Sqn. Ldr. George Denholm. On Sept. 22nd ‘99 all BBMF Spitfires flew together for the first time, P7350, MK356, AB910, PS915 and PM631.

P7350 took part in the 60th Anniversary Battle of Britain Airshow on 9/10 September 2000 at Duxford with 20 Spitfires and 3 Hurricanes, it flew both days flown by Shiney Simmons, this was the first time all 5 BBMF Spitfires had displayed together. P7350 was at the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, St.Athan, South Wales for major overhaul on September 25, 2000. It is anticipated that some aircraft skin will need replacing, it will become the first BBMF Spitfire to undergo plastic media stripping to remove all traces of paint. It will remain with 603 RAuxAF Sqn. colours.

MkIIa P7350 completed an eight month overhaul and returned to RAF Coningsby in the hands of Sqn.Ldr.Paul Day on June 6, 2001. P7350 has had its frame No.5, main engine bulkhead and sub-spars replaced. Work has also been completed on renewing several skin panels close to the tail section and on one of the wings. The paint finish of the aircraft is now satin instead of gloss. It has been temporally fitted with a four-bladed propeller and will be reunited with its own three-bladed propeller on completion of overhaul at Dowty Aerospace.
On Saturday May 11, 2002 P7350 made an unusual and much appreciated night stop at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington during the Battlegroup North Wargaming Convention, on the Saturday the Spitfire displayed with Hurricane IIc LF363 and on the Sunday the Lancaster flew across from Coningsby to join P7350 in the display.
Sunday 2nd June 2002 at the 40th Biggin Hill Jubilee Air Fair the BBMF displayed with Sqn.Ldr. ‘The Major’ Paul Day in P7350 ‘Blue Peter’, later in the day as the crowd fell silent for a minutes silence in memory of the pilots who tragically lost their lives at last years Air Fair, the BBMF performed a flypast in tribute to them.

P7350 was satisfactorily air-tested on March 14, 2003 in preparation for the new Airshow season.
During 2003 the surface of the main runway at Coningsby is to be renewed in order that the station can prepare itself for the introduction of the “Eurofighter” into Royal Air Force Squadron service. As a result, the flying operations of BBMF will move across to RAF Barkston Heath, an RAF training airfield situated about five miles south of Cranwell airfield, down the Grantham road. It is planned that the BBMF will move around the 9th-10th June 2003, P7350 and the BBMF returned back home to Coningsby from Barkston Heath on October 5, 2003.

2004 see’s the 60th Anniversary of D-Day and the BBMF will be taking part in a number of events around June 5 and 6. The Flight has changed the type of roundels worn by P7350, in a bid to make the aircraft’s paint scheme more accurate the BBMF technicians have reduced the size of the red centres on the fuselage roundels, and those on the undersides of the wings have been changed from 36in(91cm) examples to 50in(127cm) versions. The ‘Baby Spit’ has also lost its fuselage band.
The BBMF were at The Museum of Flight’s ‘Airshow 04’ on July 10 2004, they were represented by the Lancaster, Hurricane Mk.II PZ865 and P7350, the Lancaster and P7350 also took part in the Yorkshire Airshow at Elvington on the weekend of August 21st/22nd.

The ‘ Flying Legends ‘ Airshow 2005 on the 10th JULY at Duxford started at 13.40 with the BBMF Spitfire Mk.IIa P7350, Lancaster and Hurricane performing their usual routine but with a difference, the Lancaster could not open its bomb bay doors because it had 1,000,000 poppies in the bomb bay, these were due to be dropped over the Mall on the run in to Buckingham Palace at 17.00 in the VE/VJ Day Flypast marking the 60th Anniversary of the end of WWII. At 15.45, 19 aircraft started up to be ready to leave for the VE/VJ Day Flypast over London at 17.00 beginning with 5 Dragon Rapides, 2 Ansons, Lockheed 12A, Catalina, 3 DC-3’s, 2 B-25 Mitchells, 2 B-17’s and the BBMF’s Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane. It seemed that as soon as we saw them leave we were told to expect virtually all the 19 aircraft that went to London would be back either to do a Fly-by or land back at Duxford between 17.30 and 17.40. The first was the BBMF doing a Fly-by, the Lancaster this time with its bomb bay doors open, a job well done in memory of all those who did not return from WWII. A fitting finale to the Airshow. P7350 was busy in September 2005, it was one of Four Spitfires on the 3rd at Shoreham Airshow, the 3rd and 4th it was one of Six Spitfires at Biggin Hill Air Fair, then on the 10th it was one of Twelve Spitfires at Duxford for the 65th Anniversary Battle of Britain Airshow.

So not a gret deal during BoB

Adelaide, Australia

Christer Bergström 8th June 2006 17:13

Re: Spitfire P7350
Thanks a lot! I now found it also in The BoB Now & Then, Vol. V. It was flown by Polish P/O Ludwik Martel when it was shot down by JG 26 on 25 Oct 1940. (Although Gretzyngier states that it was P7325...)

Franek Grabowski 9th June 2006 00:23

Re: Spitfire P7350
She was not, Gretza is right.

Christer Bergström 9th June 2006 07:20

Re: Spitfire P7350
Are you 100 % sure, Franek? Then when was P7350 forced to crash-land? Flown by whom?

Franek Grabowski 9th June 2006 12:42

Re: Spitfire P7350
Yes, Martel never flew P7350.

Christer Bergström 9th June 2006 18:21

Re: Spitfire P7350
Please forgive me for repeating my question, but how are you able to tell which source is erroneous? Even an original document like a logbook, an ORB, etc can contain errors. I am only interested in learning the actual facts in this case, or at least approach it as closely as possible.

Then when was P7350 forced to crash-land? Flown by whom?

Franek Grabowski 9th June 2006 19:02

Re: Spitfire P7350
Well, this was a subject of thorough research based on several documents, including ORB and log book.

Christer Bergström 9th June 2006 23:54

Re: Spitfire P7350
Is there anyone who knows when P7350 received its battle damage? Flown by whom on that occasion?

Stig Jarlevik 10th June 2006 17:28

Re: Spitfire P7350

BoB Now and Then states that BOTH
P7350 P/O Martel
P7325 P/O Soden
were shot down on Oct 25th!!

For some reason, it is popular to state as Franek does, "I am using various primary sources", BUT, refrain from stating exactly what these sources say, which ultimately actually is AVOIDING to answer the question.

Franek PLEASE, ANYONE can understand you are using the sources you state, but you have to be aware of that the authors of BoB Now and Then hardly stuck their finger up in the air and GUESSED that Martel flew P7350 and Soden P7325! Christer is asking what you SPECIFICALLY have which makes the BoB book out of date in this question and you correct!
For example if you DO have Martel's logbook stating he flew P7325 when he was shot down, please SAY SO. If you have anything else which leads you to the conclusion, please go ahead and say that as well.

The most EASY conclusion of the whole subject is that there is a simple confusion and mix up between the pilots of the two aircraft, that is, Soden flew P7350 and Martell P7325, BUT that is of course only conjecture on my side. I just like you are eagerly awaiting what Franek's source really say...


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