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  1. #1
    Senior Member Charlie303's Avatar
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    Mystery Spitfire in UK - need help with date & location

    A friend, who was going through his (now departed) parent's photos, came across this photo of a Spitfire;



    No very good quality I'm afraid.

    Taken about 50 years ago, possibly outside a school? It looks to me like a Mk IX, possibly a Mk IXe which had the later wing with no .303 MGs in the outside.

    It may have been taken in the South West of Englandicon on holiday.

    Its also been suggested that it may have been taken at the now defunct 'Torbay Aviation Museum'. Apparently they had a replica Spitfire there for some years that was built for the film Battle of Britain in 1969.



    If anyone has any info on it, we'd love to hear.

    Thanks

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    Torbay Air Museum closed in 2007 when Keith Fordyce got ill and moved to an old peoples home there, where he died in 2011.
    He was famous for Ready Steady Go, for those that can remember it, great series once a week. Keith came out of TV and setup the Torbay Air Museum.
    Sadly most of the aircraft were apparently sold off to the four winds.
    Supermarine Spitfire QV-K (Replica) used in the film Battle of Britainicon changed hands many times, now believed in a Kent Museum. Sold for peanuts in the end as a GRP exhibit.

    I remember him buying the Varsity nose cone trainer, because my dad was demobbed at RAF Oakington when it was housed as a pilot trainer in 1968. When the station closed the Air Cadets inherited it for a short time before the station closed fully and HMP Oakington moved in during the early seventies and Keith bought it.
    Found this on him:
    Keith Fordyce, host of Ready Steady Go! dies aged 83 | Daily Mail Online
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    Charlie, I'm 99% sure that the Spitfire in your photo was taken at the Montague Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire, Englandicon and looking at the buildings I would say the photo, seen here, was taken mid 1960's. This was before the museum became the National Motor museum and moved location, on the same site, into the present Museum building. The wooden buildings that you see in your photo were much nearer to Palace House and there is no trace of them today. The area has been returned to lawn/gardens. I believe that the Beaulieu Spitfire was privately owned but kept at the museum and the engine started on Battle of Britain Day, every year. The aircraft was eventually sold and I believe it now resides in the US and is in flying? condition.

    The very first part of the Montague Motor museum buildings to be constructed in the grounds can be seen on the left of your photo and these would have gone up in the 1950's. The "temporary school classroom" style buildings to the right are slightly later and would probably date to the early 1960's. The first display of a few cars and motor bikes, at Palace House, was in the front hall of Palace House it's self.

    Later edit: https://forum.keypublishing.com/foru...orthing-garage
    Last edited by Flying10uk; 02-21-2019 at 04:56 PM.

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    Senior Member Charlie303's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Many thanks Flying10uk, more info than I could have hoped for! Great to know that the Spit is still around.

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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    I'll see if I find the museum guidebook from the period that I have somewhere and mentions the aircraft. At one time the Motor museum had, in addition to the cars and bikes, a multitude of non motoring exhibits that it no longer has. These even included a couple of railway carriages and a steam roller, to name two.

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    Senior Member Charlie303's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Mr Willcox bought the Spitfire from the Air Ministry in 1955 for £150. It's value today is what £1M? Maybe more?

    According to the Office for National Statistics composite price index, prices in 2019 are 2,501.91% higher than average prices throughout 1955. The pound experienced an average inflation rate of 5.22% per year during this period.

    In other words, £150 in 1955 is equivalent in purchasing power to £3,902.86 in 2019

    If only they'd realised!

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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    I know that during the war communities and organisations, across the UKicon, were encouraged to raise money in order to "buy a Spitfire" for the nation. Can't afford a whole Spitfire? Not a problem because you could buy part of a Spitfire. According to the article below the price of the Spitfire was set artificially low @ £5,000 and once the money had been paid a Spitfire was "assigned" to the group that had purchased it so that their name could be applied to the aircraft.

    Did You Know The Famous WWII Spitfire Was Crowd-Funded?

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    Are we still talking about the GRP Spitfire replica GV-K made at Specialised Mouldings Huntingdon that was at the Torbay Air Museum?
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Thanks to Flying10uk for drawing my attention to this site:
    Here is the Spitfire which it says is at Beaulieu Museum and some text to accompany its life arriving there:

    In February 1955 this Spitfire was bought for £150 from the Air Ministry by Mr F. M. Wilcox, a Worthing garage owner, and it was delivered to Swandean Garage Ltd in Arundel Road, Worthing, and was, for several years, exhibited in a compound on the garage forecourt. The aircraft was well preserved by Mr Wilcox, as was evident in later years when it was overhauled in Chicago and found to be in first-class condition.
    Mr Wilcox ran the engine for some 40 minutes each year, usually on Battle of Britain day, it being inhibited again after each run. In September 1958 the aircraft was loaned to RAF Thorney Island for the Battle of Britain display and was actually flown, although this was at the time very unofficial, the pilot to this day being unknown!
    As the Swandean Garage at Worthing was expanding Mr Wilcox decided to take up an offer from Lord Montague of display space at the new Beaulieu Motor Museum. SL721 was moved to its new home, being fully cocooned and then repainted with its blue colours and code “JMR” in 1962. Monty Thackray of M. D. Thackray Ltd had for many years tried to buy SL721 from Wilcox, but it was not until 1965 that a deal was struck. SL721 passed to Thackray in exchange for the vintage 8-litre Bentley that Wilcox’s father had once owned, the aircraft staying at Beaulieu. Its new owner, however, soon sold it to The Marquis of Headfort. Early in Thackray’s ownership an American had expressed interest in the aircraft, but the sale went through, the American being unlucky. He did, however, come back a second time and Thackray repurchased SL721 for re-sale in the U.S.iconA.
    William D. Ross of Chicago bought SL721 from Thackray and contracted Simpson’s Aeroservices Ltd of Elstree to dismantle and arrange shipment of the aircraft, and in December 1965 SL721 was crated and shipped to the U.S.A., being delivered to Bailey Johnson of Mustangs Unlimited of Atlanta, Georgia, for rebuilding. Bill Ross contracted Battle of Britain Flight Chief Tech Stan Puchynski, recently retired from the RAF, to assist in the rebuild. The engine, a Packard Merlin 266, No. 361736, fitted in July 1948, was overhauled by Paul Szendroi in Chicago and the completed aircraft first flew in the U.S.A. on 11 May 1967, with George Roberts at the controls. SL721 had been registered N8R to Bill Ross and was soon based at his Du Page County Airport facility. Painted in camouflage with codes “JM—R” the aircraft graced many airshows in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
    In 1972 the engine was overhauled again to improve fuel consumption and new fuel tanks were fitted, but English collector Doug Arnold had long expressed a desire to buy SL721 and by early 1973 a deal had been struck. SL721 was shipped from Baltimore to the U.K. and reassembled at Leavesden, Hertfordshire, having been registered G-BAUP, the aircraft emerging with owner’s initials “D-A” as the code. The aircraft moved to a new base at Blackbushe, Hants, but did not fly much in the Arnold ownership, and before long had been sold back to the U.S.A., the new owner Woodson K. Woods of Scottsdale, Arizona, having the aircraft repainted with his initials WK-W and with registration N8WK, making its first flight as such from Deer Valley Airport on 19 September 1977 after attention from Britishicon engineer “Buster” Paine.
    Last edited by Gil Boyd; 02-23-2019 at 09:01 AM.
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    This is a photo that accompanies Gil's text and has been "borrowed" from the same site and which Gil has asked me if I could post because he was having difficulties with it.
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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