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The survivors - other airworthy examples

Spitfire Mk.Vb BL628

Squadron:

Type: VS349

Engine: Merlin 45

Serial/Reg. BL628

Sqdn-code: 410, 308 - 31st Fighter Group USAAF, 167, 610, 899, 719, 794

History

This aircraft was delivered from Castle Bromwich in January 1942. Allocated to No. 410 Squadron RCAF at Gravesend, BL628 became a personal aircraft of G.B. Murray who named it Marion after his girlfriend. It subsequently served briefly with No. 308 Squadron 31st Fighter Group USAAF in Aug 1942, then Nos. 167 and 610 Squadrons. Transferred to Royal Navy in 1943, the aircraft was converted to hooked Spitfire configuration by Cunliffe Owen Aircraft in June 1943. Allocated to No. 899 Squadron FAA for training, it served in Belfast, Ireland. Before the end of the war, it went to 719 and 794 Squadrons Royal Navy at St.Merryn, but the airframe was now at the very end of its service life and the aircraft was eventually struck off charge and abandoned on a farm in St. Merryn, Cromwell.

It is in the same place that the fuselage was found in derelict state some thirty years later. Acquired by Peter Croser & Michael Aitchison from Australia in 1977, it was initially painstainkingly rebuilt using components from various scrapyards in the UK. In the process, the aircraft went back to the UK in 1991 for a short period, then to Australia, where it received a new pair of wings built on Isle Of Wight, UK. More recently the aircraft was transferred to Avspecs Ltd in Auckland, New Zealand for final assembly. The first post-restoration flight took place on 29 September 2007.

The success of Marion's restoration brings up the number of airworthy Spitfires Mk. V in the world to seven.

Phase 1 of her test flight program has now been completed and the aircraft is currently being disassembled in preparation for shipping to Southern California to its new post-restoration owner.

Current location USA airworthy.

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Other Aircraft

BL628, MA793

P9374, MJ730

MK732