The Making of the film:
Spitfire Mk.PRXIX PM631
Engine: Griffon 66
Sqdn - code: 203AFS, MRF, BBMF
Other codes carried: 91 – DL-E
Role in film: Flew, Currently: airworthy
PM631 was part of the mixed batch of 600 Mk.XI and XIX reconnaissance aircraft ordered from Vickers-Armstrongs and built at Reading under the auspices of the Chattis Hall and Aldermaston factories. It was constructed late in 1945 and delivered to No.6 MU Brize Norton on 6th November that year. Her history from then on is somewhat hazy, one set of records indicating that she remained at Brize Norton until 29th July 1950, being transferred to No.9 MU Cosford, where she remained until July 1951, and the other suggesting that before arriving at Cosford she had served with No.203 Advanced Flying School from 6th May 1949 until 13th January 1950, when she returned to No.6 MU. She is then thought to have moved to Cosford on 30th June 1950, remaining in store until 1st July 1951 apart from a short period at Buckeburg! However, both sets of records agree that on 2nd July 1951 PM631 was dispatched to the Short Bros and Harland operated Meteorological Research Flight at Hooton Park, which moved to Woodvale on 13th July.
Here PM631 was used for THUM (Temperature and Humidity) Flights until June 1957, the last Spitfire sortie being flown by PS853 on 10th June, following which the task was taken over by Mosquitos. The three Spitfires in the flight were dispatched to the newly created Memorial Flight at Biggin Hill and eventually got away on 14th June, the flight being officially formed on 11th July. The aircraft has remained with the BBMF ever since, apart from a spell at Binbrook in early 1964, when it was used for combat trials against the Central Fighter Establishments Lightning’s! The point of this unusual exercise was to gain information on the dog fighting ability of the Lightning as it was thought possible that they may have to be deployed against P-51D Mustangs in Indonesia. Used in 'The Battle of Britain' film in 1968. For the 1984 display season PM631 was painted as “DL-E” and carried invasion stripes to represent a Mk.XIV of No.91 squadron circa 1944, to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
These markings were retained for the 1985 season and on 5th March 1986; Sqdn Ldr Paul Day used PM631 for the first official RAF Spitfire flypast over central London since the ban imposed following SL574’s accident in 1959. The route took the aircraft along the Thames to fly over Tower Bridge, Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament during the 85-minute sortie from its Coningsby base.
Current location BBMF, Coningsby, Lincs – airworthy.