Spitfire MH603's fuselage prior to application of markings.

 

Supermarine Spitfire F Mk.IX

MH603

 

Restoration

Spitfire F Mk.IX MH603 was acquired in 2009 from Provenance Fighter Sales and has required a complete airframe rebuild. The extensive structural work required on the aircraft is being meticulously carried out by Vintage Fighter Restorations at Scone, NSW. The wings are being fully rebuilt in their jig assemblies and are largely completed, as are the fuselage and tail assemblies. Many components required to complete this aircraft have had to be manufactured on site or sourced from overseas.  A rebuild of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine is also under way, overseen by VFR’s Merlin and Allison engine specialist engineer, Alf Morgan.  It is expected that the aircraft will be completed within 18 months to fly for the first time in 60+ years. This aircraft will be completed as closely as possible to its authentic operational configuration and markings and wear one of its actual WWII colour schemes. 

All restorations carried out by Vintage Fighter Restorations are completed with the highest level of attention to detail and accuracy. When complete the Spitfire will be one of the most authentic restorations of a Spitfire carried out and the epitome of what an Mk IX Spitfire should be, including authentic instrumentation and fit out of the airframe with period correct components.

Wing leading edges during assembly.

MH603 trial assembly of major components.

MH603 fuselage in the paint booth after application of markings.

Wings in their jigs nearing completion.



History

This Spitfire, with construction number CBAF.IX.5589, was built in 1943 at Castle Bromwich UK.  The aircraft, now RAF serialed MH603 was delivered to 39 Maintenance Unit (MU) on 15-10-43. It then passed on to 405 Repair and Salvage Unit (ARF) at Croydon on 25/10/43. The aircraft commenced operational service with 331(Norwegian) Squadron on 3/1/44 and served operationally coded ”FN-B”, flown by Capt. Bjorn Bjornstad, then moved to 274 Squadron RAF coded as ‘JJ-K’ on 2-6-44 where it was flown by W/O.S.G.Barker . The Spitfire is noted as going to Fighter Leaders School FLS Millfield on 21/8/44 and then to the Central Fighter Establishment (CFE) Tangmere on 1/6/45. Following its operational service the aircraft passed through a number of training and maintenance units. Post war, in 1949, the aircraft was sold to the South African Air Force and following retirement in 1955 passed on to South African Metal & Machinery Co, Salt River, Cape Town as scrap until the remains were recovered by the South African Air Force museum and stored at Snake Valley.

In 1989 the aircraft was recorded back in the UK with Steve Atkins of Rye, Sussex, and then with John Sykes, Oxford, UK. In 1993 the Spitfire is reported as being in the USA with Joe Scogna/ Vintage Air, Yardley PA. From 1993 until 2008 the aircraft was a project at Fort Collins CO and in 2008 it was acquired by Provenance Fighter Sales and sold to Pay’s in 2009.