ITALIAN THEATRE ‘SPIT’ SCHEME COMPLETED ON PT462

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Spitfire IXT PT462 showing its new markings in the first sunshine of spring at Duxford on 15 April.
MIKE SHREEVE
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Another No 253 Squadron Spitfire IX, MJ778, at Treviso in March 1946, showing the small unit codes.
J. GARDNER VIA PETER R. ARNOLD COLLECTION

The repaint of the Duxford-based Aircraft Restoration Company’s Supermarine Spitfire IXT PT462/G-CTIX has been completed with the application of details to the basic scheme in which it arrived back at its home base on 22 February (see News, April 2018 Aeroplane). The machine was acquired by ARC in October 2017 from its long-term owner and a subsequent bare-metal strip and repaint was carried out by Flying Colours at Kidlington.

It has been finished in the exact markings worn when serving with No 253 (Hyderabad State) Squadron between April 1945 and the disbandment of the unit in May 1947. PT462 was based at Treviso in north-east Italy and was engaged in operations not just within Italy, but also into Yugoslavia and the Balkans. On the disbandment of 253 the Spitfire passed to the Italian Air Force and later became MM4100.

Detailing at ARC included the application of the unusual small stencil-style code letters in the off-white colour synonymous with operations in the Italian theatre. 253 carried its badge on a white disc above the tail fin flash, this artwork being hand-painted by George Romain.

Additional detailing included the manufacture of replacement 20mm gun muzzles to the correct pattern and the change to a whip aerial mast rather than the unsightly modern-looking white example carried since PT462’s original rebuild in the 1980s. Fabric re-covering was carried out in-house by John Romain and Col Pope with assistance from Lisa Waterfield. The markings are authentic to the history of PT462. Late-war three-colour roundels on the wing topside surfaces are complimented by the dull red spinner found on Spitfires operating in Italy. Research for the scheme and layout application were undertaken by ARC engineer Col Pope, who was greatly assisted by historical information provided by Steve Atkin and excellent No 253 Squadron period images supplied by Peter Arnold. Once completed PT462 made its public flying debut on Saturday 7 April in the hands of Brian Smith.