Battle of Briatin Film

 
         
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The survivors

Spitfire Mk.LFXVIe TE311

Squadron:

Type: VS361

Engine: Packard Merlin 266

Serial/Reg. TE311

Sqdn-code: ECFS (Empire Central Flying School), 1689 FPT Flt, No.2 CAACU (Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit), BBMF

Role in film: Taxy, Currently: airworthy

History

TE311 was built at Castle Bromwich in 1945 and taken on charge by the Air Ministry on 8th June, being delivered to No.39 MU Colerne on 16th June and placed in store. It was allocated to the ECFS (Empire Central Flying School) Handling Squadron at Hullavington on 5th October 1945 and served until 17th February 1946, when it was delivered to No.33 MU Lyneham for storage. Here it remained until 1951, when it was placed on charge to No.1689 FPT Flight on 31st May, sustaining Cat.4R damage in a flying accident on 21st June. A party from Vickers Armstrongs arrived to deal with it on 19th July and repairs were completed by13th December, the aircraft returned to No.1689 FPT Flight on 31st December 1951.

The aircraft was transferred into the care of Flying Training Command on 31st July 1952 and allocated to the Ferry Training Unit at RAF Benson on 9th April 1953. It was returned to No.33 MU on 23rd September that year and delivered to No.2 CAACU at Langham, Norfolk on 12th January 1954, being returned to Lyneham shortly after on 23rd February and transferred to non-effective stock on 13th December.

Issued with Maintenance serial 7241M on 8th August 1955, the aircraft was allocated to RAF Tangmere three days later and placed on display at the main gate. Here it stood repainted silver, until loaned to Spitfire Productions Ltd for The Battle of Britain and delivered by road to Henlow in 1967. It was restored to Taxying condition and modified with false rear fuselage to resemble a Mk I. It was used at both North Weald and Duxford during 1968 and on 11th August it was given over to an RAF working party, which restored it to its normal configuration and prepared it for display at RAF Benson, where it arrived in September 1968 and was exhibited at the Battle of Britain Display on 20th September.

Its stay at Benson was relatively short, as it was selected to replace SM411, which had been donated to the Museum of Aircraft and Astronautics in Krakow, Poland in exchange for DH9a F1010. Accordingly, TE311 was delivered to Abingdon as part of the RAF Exhibition Flight. During its time here it was loaned to SERCO, West Midlands and also a brief spell loaned to the Bayeux Museum in France where it flew in No.66 squadron colours coded MK178/LZ-V.

The aircraft was transferred to the BBMF dismantled for spares along with TB382. In 2004 restoration work began on TE311 unfortunately in order to achieve this TB382 was reduced to spares and struck off charge.

After 12 years of painstaking restoration TE311 made its first post restoration flight on 19th October 2012. TE311 is painted as Spitfire XVI TB675 4D-V, the aircraft of Squadron Leader Tony Reeves DFC, who was the Commanding Officer of No 74 Squadron in 1945.

Current location BBMF, Coningsby, Lincs airworthy.

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