Battle of Briatin Film

 
         
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The survivors

Spitfire Mk.LFXVIe TE356

Squadron:

Type: VS361

Engine: Packard Merlin 266

Serial/Reg. TE356, G-SXVI, (N356EV), (N356TE)

Sqdn – code: 695-4M-M, 695-8Q-Z, 34-EG-, No.2 CAACU (Civilian Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit), DD-E

Role in film: Taxy, Currently: airworthy

History

TE356 was delivered from Castle Bromwich to No.29 MU High Ercall on 23rd June 1945, being issued to No.695 squadron on 11th July. While in service with the squadron it bore the codes 4M-M and 8Q-Z and it was still on charge on 14th February 1949, when the unit was renumbered as No.34 squadron. It joined several other Mk.XVI’s at No.2 CAACU at Little Snoring on 20th August 1951 and served until 1st September 1952, when it was downgraded to a ground instructional airframe (6709M and 7001M). Delivered to Bicester it stood on the parade ground until it was called forward for use in the Battle of Britain film in 1967 and was restored to taxying condition with a built-up rear fuselage and other mods to make it resemble an early mark. Although nominally taxiable it was seen to make at least one ‘hop’ during a fast formation taxy at North Weald; on completion of filming the aircraft was restored to normal standard and allocated to No.4 squadron detachment of the Central Flying School at RAF Kemble. Here work started to restore the Spitfire to flying trim – its new unit being none other than the red arrows – but work was halted following orders from a higher authority. TE356 was moved to CFS HQ Little Rissington and was mounted on a pylon on 4th December 1970 but moved with the CFS to Cranwell on 20th April 1976 and then on to Leeming in 1978. In 1986 TE356 was exchanged for a P-47D Thunderbolt from the Doug Arnold collection and transported to Bitteswell for storage.

Registered G-SXVI on February 25th 1987, rebuilt by Trent Aero East Midlands, first flight on December 16th 1987. At Biggin Hill until 1990. To Evergreen Ventures of Oregon, USA as N356EV in January 1990, to 747 Inc of Oregon as N356TE March 1991.

Current location – Evergreen aviation museum, McMinnville, Oregon – Display but airworthy.

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