1942 Spitfire MkVb EP122
EP122 Mk Vb ‘The Malta Spitfire’
Ordered 23/8/41, EP122 was one of the fourth batch of Spitfires, numbering 904 aircraft, to be built at the Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory. Final assembly in tropical spec complete with the large chin-mounted air filter.
Once accepted onto the RAF strength, the aircraft was then disassembled and crated on 8 June 1942 for shipment to the North African theatre of operations.
Shipped to Gibraltar and assigned to Malta where it was repainted into Temperate Sea Scheme (extra dark sea grey and slate grey over sky)
Claude Weaver, the youngest Allied WW2 ace:
Claude Weaver enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on 13th February 1941. After earning his wings and briefly flying in the UK, he joined No.185 Sqn at Malta, from July to September 1942. With 10.5 victories and 3 probables, he was shot down on 9th September 1942 and taken prisoner. After a year, he escaped from his PoW camp, walked 300 miles to freedom and began flying again, this time with No.403 Sqn RCAF. He scored another two victories before being shot down once more.
On 28th January 1944, he was shot down by Gerhard Vogt of JG26, who watched as Weaver escaped from his aircraft. His parachute became entangled in the tail of the stricken aircraft and Weaver was dragged down to the crash site, where he lay, still alive, just metres from his aircraft. He was taken to hospital by the Germans, but died a few hours later.
- April/May 1942 - flown from HMS Eagle during Operation Pinpoint and put into service with 185 Sqn. Painted in 185 colours and allocated sqn code GL-B
- 22 Jul 1942 - shot down 2 109's in the hands of Sgt Claude Weaver III of Oklahaoma City, aged 19
- 23 Jul 1942 - shot down a second pair of 109's
- 24 Jul 1942 - claimed a half share in a JU88 making Sgt Weaver the youngest Allied Ace of the conflict for which he was awarded the DFM
- Autumn 1942 - became the mount of Wing Co JM Thompson, the CO of 185 Sqn who had the aircraft repainted with his personal code JM-T
- Early 1943 - transferred to 1435 Sqn carrying code letter L
- 27 March 1943 - Crash landed on edge of the cliffs at Dwejra Bay. Shortly after the aircraft was pushed over the cliff into the bay.
- 1969 - wreckage discovered by divers from RAF Sub Aqua Club off the coast of Gozo where it lay under 10 M of water
- Mid 70's - salvaged and eventually purchased by Tom Friedkin, one of the most celebrated men in the American automotive and aviation industry.
- EP122 was restored by us (without the chin mounted air filter) and made her first post restoration flight in May 2016
- She carried temporary colours of R9649 when taking part in filming for the movie 'Dunkirk'
- 2018 - shipped to the USA