1944 SPITFIRE Mk IX – TA805
Born in the war
Built at the Supermarine works at Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands late in the war, TA805 started its career with the RAF at No 39 MU in December 1944.
Wearing the code letters HF it joined 183 (Gold Coast) Squadron at Chilbolton on the 17th June 1945. Commanded by Sqd/Ldr J R Cullen DFC, the squadron converted from the Typhoon IB to the Spitfire IX.
The squadron Operational Record Book records the conversion and movements.
‘The pilots and their kit were flown by Dakota to Chilbolton where we join Fighter Command No.11 Group and convert to Spitfire IX’s.20.6.45 – Four new aircraft ferried in by ATA’.
A period of conversion then began for two months.
‘This morning the CO, Sqd/Ldr Storrar, led the squadron in formation down to Hawkinge where we will stay for a month for practice gunnery and bombing’.
The squadron then returned to Bentwaters. 234 Squadron were part of a wing of 24 Squadrons led by legendary Battle of Britain ace and later famous test pilot W/Cdr Roland P Beamont DSO and Bar DFC.
This wing flew the 1945 Battle of Britain commemoration flight over London in September and it is possible that TA805 was one of the aircraft taking part.
TA805 was then struck off charge and shipped to the South African Air Force in early 1949.
The remains of TA805 arrived at the Airframe Assemblies works, Sandown, Isle of Wright in early 1992. Having previously been in storage in Sussex. The dormant period continued for another 3 years or so until the current owners acquired the aircraft. Work to return her to flying condition started in early 1996.
The period up until July 1997 being taken up with the manufacture of the many pieces that make up a Spitfire fuselage. These small pieces being made up into sub-assemblies such as fuselage Frame 9.
Skinning work continued, resulting in the completed fuselage out of the build fixture in July 1998
With the basic fuselage finished, the next major task was the building of the wings. This following a similar pattern, with many months being spent making components and sub-assemblies prior to the start of the build.
Along with the wing build, the bare fuselage was kitted out with various items of plumbing/systems and cockpit instruments during this period.
Restoration of the cockpit internal details and instrument panels is complete.
The fuselage of TA805 departs Airframe Assemblies on June 26, 2002. Initially to Sedlescombe in Sussex, prior to ARCO at Duxford for fitting of engine and final assembly.
The wings and final stages of assembly are undertaken. Skinning, fitting of gun covers and access doors are complete. Wing tips are under construction.
Wings are finished, complete with wing tips, flaps and ailerons.
- Built at Castle Bromwich CBAF 10372, late 1944
- Delivered to RAF as TA805, 1945
- Accepted by 39MU, Jan, 3rd, 1945
- Allocated to 183 Squadron, June 24th, 1945
- Transferred to 234 Squadron, Aug 2nd, 1945
- Delivered to South African Air Force, Mar 11th 1949
- Sent for scrapping at South African Metal & Machinery Co, Salt River, Cape Town, 1954
- SAAF Museum, Snake Valley AB, 1981. Fuselage hulk
- Steve Atkins, Oxford, UK, 1989-1995
- Restoration project, stored, Isle-Of-Wight, 1995
- Peter Monk & Mike Simpson, Apr 29th, 1996-2006
- Registered as G-PMNF
- Restored to airworthy by Airframe Assemblies, Sandown, UK
- First post restoration flight in 234 Sqn scheme Dec 2005. Duxford
- Based Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, Biggin Hill Aerodrome, Kent, 2011 onwards