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The images on this page kindly donated by Peter Croser & Mike Aitchison

Restoration of Spitfire MkVB BL628

Mike Aitchison and Peter Croser found the Spitfire remains in Cornwall UK in 1977 during their time on exchange from the Royal Australian Navy working with the Royal Navy, Plymouth. The aircraft and many spares were returned to Australia in 1978 along with the remains of a Seafire XV SW800 that served in Australia during the war.

They were flying from Roborough airport (in the ex RN chipmunk which they now own), Plymouth with the RN training flight and heard of the remains, but were told it was many years before seen at St Merryn and was supposed to be a Fairey Firefly.

It turned out to be a Spitfire VB which had been converted to a 'Hooked Spitfire VB' and had been used in RN service at St Merryn from 1944 to 1946. The Hooked Spitfire was the forerunner of the Seafire 1 which was pressed into service by the Royal Navy. As production was geared to making Spitfires it was quicker at that stage of the war to convert existing Spitfires for Naval duty than it was to manufacture Seafires, and so many Spitfires were converted before Seafire production took over.


The aircraft BL628 (RAF Serial) was built at Castle Bromwich in the Birmingham region as a VB with two 20mm cannon and 4 303 Machine guns. It was sent to RCAF squadron 401 at Gravesend in February 1942. It became the mount of Canadian G. B. Murray ("Scotty") and he named it Marion after his girlfriend.

Scotty flew it for 100 flights during the period to August 1942 with a total of 99.5 hours on fighter sweeps over France and Holland. He damaged 2 FW190 and destroyed one in this aircraft. During this time he shared the aircraft on an occasional basis with other famous Canadians including, the CO, Sq Ldr Keith Hodson, the famous Eagle Squadron leader Colonel Don Blakeslee who was first with 401 then moved to the USAAF squadron, Don Morrison who sadly passed away recently , Ian Ormston, Ian McLennan, and many others. BL628 had many actions against FW190. The aircraft subsequently served with a number of squadrons including an American squadron for a short time.


After this it was transferred to the Royal Navy and converted to a Hooked Spitfire in 1943. In Belfast Ireland it was used to train 899 RN Squadron pilots before going to St Merryn in 1944 where it ended its career.