The Making of the film:
Spitfire Mk.Vb BM597
Engine: Merlin 35
Serial No. /Reg. BM597(G-MKVB)
Sqdn - code: 315-PK-, 317-JH-C
Role in film: Static, Currently: Airworthy
This aircraft was from a batch of 1000 aircraft built at Castle Bromwich under Contract No. B981687/39. It was delivered to No.37 MU Burtonwood on May 26th 1942. Initially allocated to 315 (Polish) Sqn in May 1942, after just 4 months of service she was transferred to fellow Polish 317 Sqn where she carried the code JH-C. She was involved in a landing accident and declared Cat B on the 13th February 1943 and required extensive repair at De Havillands and modifications at Vickers-Armstrong before passing through 33, 39, and 222 Maintenance Units and issued to 58 OTU in April 1945. In October 1945 she was converted to an instructional airframe at RAF St Athan and issued with the serial 5718M. Relegated to display duties it paired with AR614 at RAF Hednesford where she was gate guardian from 1952-54, then to RAF Bridgenorth before transfer to RAF Church Fenton. Recalled to service for the 'Battle of Britain' film in 1967 it provided the master model for the fibre glass replicas. Back at Church Fenton in 1969 for a further 20 years where she was gate guardian, with 4 years at Linton on Ouse from 1975-79, it was sold by the MoD to the Tim Routsis Organisation Historic Flying Ltd, moving firstly to Braintree then onto the new facility at Audley End. Sold on to the Historic Aircraft Collection of Jersey in October 1993, work continued at Audley End culminating in a first flight on July 20th 1997, with the registration G-MKVB. Adopted new paint scheme in 2000 for Pearl Harbour film with markings AR352 (RF-C). It currently wears its familiar markings.
Current location – Historic aircraft collection, Duxford, Cambs – airworthy.