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Alex Smart 6th February 2005 04:31

Seeking Peter Arnold re UB425

With appologies to other readers.

Am hopeful of contacting Peter Arnold with regard to Burmese Spitfire UB425

In a recent "Fly Past" magazine issue there is mention of this aircraft being serial number 2028 Squadron number "34" then to UB425 and again as 2028.

There is also note by Shlomo Aloni that in one of Peter Arnold's articles in earlier times this aircraft was refered to as being 2028 "38".

Again in a "Fly Past" magazine Peter say's Quote
20-38 is said by Israeli researchers to be the serial of the pylon mounted machine deepinside the sensitive air base at Hatzor end of quote.

The AMU document (shown in the recent issue) has previous number of a/c 653, it also shows the engine number as Rolls Royce Merlin 66 serial number 190183/484929.

If we assume that the old RAF serial number is SL653 (which was one of the first 50 delivered to Israel from Czechoslovakia) then can we in any way at all match the engine number to SL653 at any time in its life ?

We also have from the same aircraft a construction number SH/CBAF/IX578.

From earlier correspondence with you on Israeli Spitfires many years ago it came to light that the "SH" was for Short & Harland.

But if the letters were "Sh" that meant CBAF dispersal sites, Shrewsbury.

Do we know if the "H" is indeed in high key or low key ?

If we accept 578 then it can only have been TE578, again one of the first 50 delivered to Israel.

TE578 was an ex 312(RAF) Squadron Spitfire coded "DU" (Anyone knoe the indevidual a/c letter ?) became "MP-3" in Czech AF use. In "Czechoslovak Spitfires in Detail" by Jirí Rajlick is noted as being sold to Israel as 2038.

There is a great photo of "MP-3" on page 3 of "Soumrak Králó Vzduchu" by Jirí Fidler & Jirí Rajlich.

SL653 was also an ex 312(RAF) Squadron Spitfire coded "DU" (again Anyone know the indevidual a/c letter ?) became "MP-9" in Czech AF use.

A photo taken in Cyprus shows the 1st UB425 with the rounded Rudder.

I have also seen that "MP-9" was unusual as this was the only Spitfire delivered to Czechoslovakia with a rounded rudder all the others haveing the later pointed rudder. IIRC that was in an old "Air Pictorial" magazine.

So if we accept that SL653 MP-9 became 2028 "34" then to Burma (almost) as UB425 and returned to Israel as 2028 then to eventualy end up at Hatzor then why has she a construction number with "578" ?

TE578 became "MP-3" and reportedly 2038, we know that 2028 was numbered "34".

So if 2038 is the Spitfire that was at Hatzor then was it TE578 ?

While there it wore four kill markings were these for real or just for effect.

Hope Peter reads this and gets in touch.

Again apologies to other readers


DaveM2 6th February 2005 10:48


He is often found here



PeterA 6th February 2005 13:02

Good morning. :)


PeterA 6th February 2005 14:33

OK let's start the ball rolling and clear some of the confusion gathered over twenty years.

There have been three aircraft painted as UB425.

1) The aircraft of interest to this thread, currently in the museum at Hatzorim, Israel. This was the original UB425 apinted as such by Bedek before dispatch to Burma from Israel. It got a far as Cyprus, developed problems and was rejected by the Burmese , for political reasons, and returned to Israel. I believe an engine change happened on or about this time.

2) This aircraft, the replacement for the above, saw service with the Burmese Air Force. It ended its days as a display aircraft at Mandalay being fitted with a Harvard T.6 tail unit. It was sold to the US and currently sits in the HFL hangar at Duxford awaiting its turn for restoration to flight. Its true RAF identity still is unknown despite exhaustive investigations. It is however thought to be 20-42 of the Israeli Air Force by virtue of the evidence of a conversion to PR windows in the structure, subsequently panelled over. In the tidy up of things Spitfire in in 1995, the Burmese, in error repainted the aircraft as 'UB424' and it currently still carries that mis-ident. The wings as fitted to this aircraft at Mandalay are currently located in New Zealand under repair for PV270. The owner, Brendon Deere, is aware of the significance of any internal markings that might aid the identification of the UK UB425.

3) This aircraft, on display at Hmawbi in the 1980s/90s was also painted as 'UB425' and in the general tidy up retained the mis-ident. It is actually UB424/PV270 of the RAF. Again sold to the US and then sold on to Brendon Deere in New Zealand.


PeterA 6th February 2005 15:28

OK. Lets go back twenty years and see what Israeli historians were thinking about these Spitfires. At that time two Spitfires on poles deep inside high security bases were just unconfirmed rumours.

The breakthrough came when one of these aircraft surfaced from the Ramat David base and was shipped out to Cyclone Aviation at Carmiel for restoration and museum display. The project manager at Cyclone was keen to know the history, dropped a note to Aeroplane Monthly, and the contact was made.

I was invited out to inspect the aircraft at Carmiel and because of my Spitfire background was granted access and inspection facilities to see the other aircraft inside the Hatzor base. At the time I didn't realise just what a privilege that was.

The Ramat David aircraft proved to be EN145 and 20-78 of the IDFAF and went on public display at Hatzorim.

The Hatzor base machine did not yield its identity although the data plates on both the firewall and the cockpit were recorded.

It is worth saying at this point that the data plates are fairly insignificant items, they do not carry the RAF serial ID. The firewall has a separate data plate and number because it is a free standing sub-assembly that is combination bolted and reivetted to the fuselage monocoque tube. This aircraft is unique in the surviving Spitfires in as much as the data plates for this aircraft carry the same number on both the firewall and the cockpit. That number is SH/CBAF/IX 578 stamped in upper case but then lower case stamps were never used to my knowledge. This dual number may well have been an inspection error at the time of manufacture.

At that time Israeli historians associated with Air-Britain thought this aircraft was 20-38. Not I must add 20-** radio call sign '38'.

When this aircraft was later dismantled and sent to the Hatzorim Museum at Beersheba, technicians photographed the inside of the top fuel tank for evidence of a previous ID. '425' in black paint was found and also '28' in red paint. The Israelis subsequently dispatched several wing gun panels to me for inspection and return. Two panels showed clearly '28' in red. 28 in red in two locations on the wing and one on the fuselage was powerful evidence that this machine was 20-28. No match could be made with an RAF serial with 425 that fitted and it was only subsequently to this that Shlomo Aloni discovered the paperwork trail and rejection in Cyprus of the original UB425. All the pieces of the jigsaw began to fit....except the RAF serial.

A document compiled by Noam Hartoch of the collective Israel knowledge in the 1980s listed 20-28 as TE578 along with several other Spitfires where there was a relationship of the construction number to the RAF 'last three'. Although this would not be normal practise, clearly these last batch of Mk. IX's built at the end of hostilities in Europe and at a time when Castle Bromwich was changing over to 20 series Spitfire and Seafire production, it seems that there was a sweeping up operation of parts and these last aircraft were final assembled at 'SH' the Shrewsbury dispersal site or '17' the Alfred Davies Ltd facility at Leicester. Here I could see how in these circumstances relationships of serial to c/n might be sequential and the same. I therefore was happy to make the provisional ID of this aircraft as TE578. It was circumstantial but rational and my view is better a provisional ID than no ID at all.

With the recent paperwork discovery by Shlomo Aloni in the IDFAF archives it is 99% sure that the aircraft is actually SL653/20-28/'call sign 34'

From other data amassed it is starting to look like 'SH' aircraft were in the SL*** RAF serial range and that '17' aircraft were in the 'TE*** serial range. The aircraft supplied to the Czechs are unfortunately all bunched up in these two respective bands.

This all does give some hope that Israeli documents may yet find a link to the ID of UB425 at Duxford and UB421 still in Rangoon.


PeterA 6th February 2005 18:44

Let me see if I can post an image.

This should be the cockpit data plate and the engine plate.

Note the inspectors stamp circled 'SH21'


Alex Smart 8th February 2005 02:14

Thank You Peter
Hello Peter,

Thank you for responding.

Thank you Ruy for alowing this poston this site.

Thank you Also for the web address which i had not seen earlier Dave.

Sorry to have had to contact you via this site Peter. I had your card years ago and thought you might have moved on from that address. Pre e-mail days.

The details re the "Real" UB425.

I see from the photos, thank you for shareing them with us, that the "H" is in higher case. The other details are also welcome.

It's just that over the years I have seen published , several photos of the Hatoz Spitfire on a plinth and down on its wheels.

The Israeli's must have spent a great deal of time painting her, in different colours over the years.

1/. "Fly Past" Sept 1990 on the plinth marked with an arrow all along the fuselage side with the number "105" centred by the cockpit.and what looks like a three colour sceme on upper sides.Spinner is dark in colour.

2/. In the same magazine a colour photo of the same Spitfire showing the three coloured upper sides qith Shield on fin and striped rudder with approx 14 red/white diagonal stripes. This photo also shows 4 kill markings in small roundel form on the engine cowling. Spinner is red in colour.

3/. "Fly Past" March 2005 shows the Spitfire at Hatzor firstly in a paint striped condition ,on wheels said to be about 1997.

4/. Also on the same page there are two more photos of the same Spitfire marked on the engine cover sides with a white (?) "105", she has camoflage in these two pics but the rudder has horizontal stripes might be yellow or red and black there are not so many stripes , only about 10 in all.These were said to be about 1967, in June.
No side stripe/arrow is visible and there are no kill marking visible.

5/. There is a good photo of this Spitfire as she is now , also in this issue, marked up as 2011-"26".

6/. In Air Enthusiast Jan/Feb 1999 there are also two photos of her, one on the plinth and the other on a 4 wheel frame in a striped down condition. These two photos show her with the markings as outlined above in 2 . Said to be in December 1989.

7/. In Spitfire International there is a photo of her that shows what to me look like the earlier horizontal rudder markings , the "105" on the engine side covers but this photo shows five kill markings also, this time in a different position than earlier noted.Spinner looks dark colour could be red.

I just wondered if there was two Spitfires at Hatzor for exhibition, that were swaped over now and again for display purposes. And reported as being one only ?

While on the subject, what became of the three that were interned in Lebanon ? and has there been any reports of Spitfire parts or bits found in Iraq ?

Thanks again Peter for your help.

Has any other reader any info on the Spitfires noted here that they have that so far has not come out yet ??? Now's the time.

Thanks again to all


PeterA 14th February 2005 21:21

The Hatzor Spitfire

There was just the one Spitfire, plinth mounted, on the base at Hatzor.

Over the years it has had four liveries, one of which was an addition to a previous scheme, kills added etc.

The give away is the first exhaust port on the Starboard side which is a 'round' type followed by five 'fishtail' type and this is consistent over the years.

The Hatzor base must not be confused with the Hatzorim IDFAF museum, which is near Beersheba - a totally different location.

Alex Smart 14th February 2005 21:33

The Hatzor Spitfire
Thank you Peter for your help in making this more clear.

The Israeli's were good at covering up a/c identities such as those Beaufighters and Mosquito's. Serial numbers were in some cases very mixed up, one Beaufighter was said to have the serial number that matched a lancaster for years and several Mosquito a/c had incorrect serials too.
So not surprized that the Spitfires and Mustangs were a puzzle too.

By the way, had you seen my question some time ago about the P40 that had Israili registration in the 4X series ?

Do you have anything on that a/c ?

Thanks again


paulmcmillan 21st February 2005 19:39

Re: The Hatzor Spitfire

Originally Posted by Alex Smart
By the way, had you seen my question some time ago about the P40 that had Israili registration in the 4X series ?

Do you have anything on that a/c ?

Thanks again


I think you mean...

4X-ACG?? CURTISS P-40N-20-CU WARHAWK C/N 30757 43-22828

However the problem is 4X-ACG should be a C-46 Commando (which crashed 26th June 1949!)

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