1939 Messerschmitt 109 E1
One of the few surviving aircraft that took part in the Battle of Britain this Me109 is amonst the most significant examples of German WWII aircraft.
The historical importance of this particular aircraft is elevated even further as it was flown by the Luftwaffe fighter pilot and flying ace Hans Joachim Marseille.
Shot down by Spitfires in 1940 ‘3579’ belly landed near Calais but was soon repaired and back in action. Another encounter in 1942 resulted in the aircraft force landing near the Finland / Russia border. The aircraft was abandoned by its pilot and lay undiscovered in frozen swampland for 50 years before being recovered and restored to flying condition in 1992. It’s believed that the aircraft had not been disturbed since the force landing and the officers cap was found tucked alongside the seat and personal effects were still inside.
- Built by Messerschmitt contractor Arado GmbH at Warnemünde, June 1939.
- Early 1940, upgraded to an E-4.
- April 1940, listed with LG2 at Westerland, coded ‘White 14’ Pilot Lt. Friedrich Geishardt.
- July 1940, moved to a new base at Calais-Marck, France.
- On 10 August, Fähnrich (Kadette Officer) Hans-Joachim Marseille joined I(J)/LG2. On one of his first combat missions on 24 August he claimed his first victory, a Spitfire. A week later on 2 September, 3579 was being flown by Marseille in combat over Southern England where he claimed his second victory. We do know that Marseille undertook two operations on this day. During the second, LG2 were over Sheerness in combat with Spitfires of 74 Sqn. It was during one of these engagements that 3579 was damaged and so Marseille headed back towards the French coast. At Calais-Marck, Marseille’s belly landing was severe enough that 3579 was classed as 50% damaged.
- Aircraft recovered by the Bergebattalion and transported to the Erla factory at Antwerp for repair, after which it was issued to JG77.
- 7th December 1941, 3579 20% damaged near its base of Alakurtti, Russia with JG77.
- 14th January 1942, 3579 arrives at Brinker Eisenwerke, Oslo-Kjeller for repair work and upgrades.
- 29th April 1942, work completed and 3579 shipped to Norway.
- Returned to its unit, now re-named JG5, aircraft now marked ‘White 7’.
- 2nd August 1942, while being flown by Lt Kurt Hammel, 3579 damaged in combat and forcelanded on the front line. Classified a 100% loss, but reclassified 30% but was not recovered.
- Summer 1992, 3579 was discovered by the Russian Aircraft Recovery Group and transported to Moscow.
- September 1992, 3579 purchased by Charleston Aviation for a full rebuild to flying condition.
- 29th September 1999, first flight after a six year rebuild. Aircraft operated by D.G. Price, Museum of Flying, California.
- 2003, sold to the Ed Russell Aviation Group, Ontario, Canada.
- November 2014, 3579 sold to current owner for display and exhibition in the UK.