INDEX OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT
In July 1934 Reginald Mitchell fighter design incorporating both the Schneider trophy winning aircraft and the type 224,enclosed cockpit, retractable undercarriage,This new aircraft was designed to house the new Rolls Royce PV12 engine, later to be known as the Merlin.
On 6th November 1934, Vickers gave the go ahead for the construction of a company-funded prototype, the type 300. The prototype Supermarine Type F37/34, registered as K5054, first flew on 5 March 1936 at Eastleigh Airport, after being built at Woolston, with Mutt Summers as pilot on this maiden flight. On 27 March 1936 test pilot Jeffrey Quill flew K5054 to set accurate performance figures of 348 mph at 17,000 feet. The remarkable thin elliptical wing made the Spitfire capable of very high speeds, but it had to be reinforced several times to retain aileron effectiveness.The aircraft was then sent to A&AEE, Martlesham Heath for RAF trials on 26 May 1936.
On 3 June 1936, the RAF placed a production order for 310 Supermarine Spitfires, and on 4 August 1938 the first production Mk I Spitfire, K9789, was delivered to 19 squadron RAF at Duxford. The Spitfire served as first-line fighter throughout WWII in increasingly fast and powerful versions, first with the Merlin, later with the Griffon engine. The Spitfire was continously changed to meet all kinds of threats and demands, as low- and high altitude fighter, tropicalized, navalized, or equipped as unarmed photo-reconaissance aircraft. Probably the most famous military aircraft ever.
The first Spitfire delivered to the Royal Navy from the RAF was Spitfire R6817 a Mk Ia to 759 squadron at Eastleigh for assessment. It arrived on 25 June 1940 before the Battle of Britain had commenced. This aircraft however, was returned to the RAF on 14 November 1940.
Further trials were carried out 11 months later on 10 October 1941 when a Spitfire Mk Vb was delivered to 9 MU and thence to 778 squadron at Arbroath in November 1941. Another Spitfire Mk Ia R6706 was assessed as of from 26 February 1942 to Donisbristle but again returned to the RAF on 9 March 1942.
The Admiralty was assessing the opportunities for Navval conversions of the Spitfire, aircraft AB205 formed the first Spitfire to Seafire conversion, and was sent to Worthy Down and underwent trials with 778 squadron between 24 January –June 1942. It was thence sent to the Controller of Research and Development, Worthy Down and to A Flight RAE, Farnborough in January 1943. Meanwhile, a Mk Vc AB504 (the sole Mk Vc) was sent to RNDA GAL Feltham on 7 March 1942 for trial folding wing modifications, and BL676 a Mk Vb was sent to A & AEE, Boscombe Down the same month for handling, radio and IFF trials, and thence to 778 squadron Arbroath in April- May 1942 for deck landing acceptance trials (became Seafire MB328).
The main supply of Spitfires commenced with Mk Va R6887 to RNDA Machrihanish
on 31 August 1942, but the main deliveries commenced the following month
Mk Ia to Yeovilton, to Arbroath (eg K9900 and K9969), to Yeovilton
(Mk Va N3281) and Mk Va to 9 MU to Machrihanish. The majority went to Yeovilton
or Lee on Solent and thence to 880 squadron at Stretton for 2 months, thence
on to 761 squadron, or alternatively to 801 squadron.
The last two Spitfire serving with the Royal Navy included Spitfire
K9942 which was sent to 52 MU on 28 Augusy 1944 for museum purposes
(extant) and BL629 Mk Vb Admiralty type which served with 761 squadron
at Henstridge from September 1944 until retirement in February 1945 (extant).
14 former FAA aircraft, which became RAAF Spitfire Vs were handed over
to the RAF in Australia for ground handling and technical training in October
|Named Presentation Spitfires in Fleet Air Arm Service
City of Exeter, Devon
P7964 Mk Va - to 801 sqdn Stretton, 7.9.42
Also see Aircraft presented by individuals, firms, and Spitfire Fund Raising by the Spitfire Society
There are at least three preserved Spitfires which saw service with the Fleet Air Arm, including Spitfire Mk F.Ia K9942 on museum display since 1944 (UK), BL628, and the cockpit of BL629 Mk Vb (sound at St Merryn and preserved in Australia). In addition a number of Seafires have been preserved including the Minnesota Polar Museum Seafire Restoration an ex RCN Seafire F.XV PR503 (see the Seafire profile in the FAA Archive 1939-1945).
Colour photograph of the Supermarine Spitfire
Preserved spitfire MT719 YB-J BPF