Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI(LF) TB752
The number of Spitfires manufactured between 1936 and 1948.
More Spitfire Mk V aircraft were built (6,487) than any other type.
1,054 Spitfire Mk XVI's rolled off the production line at Castle Bromwich.
The Mk XVI was developed with clipped wings to attain higher speed.
TB752 shows the Wolf insignia of 403 (Wolf) Squadron RCAF.
TB 752 is one of the few surviving Spitfires with a wartime record. Built at Castle Bromwich in the early part of 1944 she entered service with the famous No. 66 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in March 1945 bearing the Squadron Code LZ-F. Carrying an armament of 2 x 20mm cannons and 4 x 0.5 machine guns as well as a 500 lb bomb and 2 x 250 lb bombs: she was used initially against road and rail targets in Northern Holland and Germany.
On the 25th March 1945, TB 752 was classified as Cat C AC (badly damaged) after the port undercarriage leg failed to lower for landing, the main damage being to the wing and propeller blades. She was removed to No. 409 Repair and Salvage Unit and re-issued to No. 403 "Wolf" Squadron RCAF on 19th April 1945, operating from Diepholz in Germany and bearing the Squadron code KH-Z. On the 21st April and on his very first flight in TB 752, the Squadron 'C.O.', Squadron Leader 'Hank' Zary DFC RCAF destroyed a Me 109. Four days later Flying Officer David Leslie destroyed an unidentified German aircraft but believed to be a Fw 189 reconnaissance aircraft.
On the 1st May Flying Officer ‘Bob’ Young destroyed a Fw 190 and two days later an He 111 bomber fell to the guns of Flying Officer ‘Fred’ Town. - TB 752’s ‘FINAL VICTORY’ which is depicted in the superb painting by Michael Turner (prints of which are obtainable from the sales area).
After years of neglect ‘752’ was removed to Manston in 1955 and stood for many proud years as station gate guardian - but sadly corroding away at an ever increasing rate.
However, in 1978 the Medway Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society offered to restore her and on 7th July TB 752 was removed to Rochester Airport. Some 15,000 man hours later ‘752’ re-emerged in pristine condition and returned to Manston on 15th September 1979. The decision was then made that such a finely restored aircraft must be properly housed and fund raising started immediately: such was the response that TB 752 moved into her permanent 'quarters' early in 1981.
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Our Spitfire has four crosses painted on the side, denoting four German aircraft shot down in combat. What is unusual is these four combat 'kills' were by four different pilots. Coded as Z and designated the 'scratch aircraft of the squadron, this Spitfire was used as the spare for any pilot needing an aircraft.