Return to action for Griffon-powered Spitfire

Spitfire FR.XIV will feature at IWM Duxford exhibition later this month

On December 6, Dave Puleston flew a successful test flight in Supermarine Spitfire FR.XIV MV293 (G-SPIT) before flying the Griffon-powered warbird to Duxford where it will participate in the Imperial War Museum’s Spies in the Skies: Second World War Aerial Reconnaissance exhibition.

Many readers will remember the 1944-built machine flying in the scheme of Spitfire ace ‘Johnnie’ Johnson prior to its recent repaint. The IWM exhibition opens on December 27, and MV293 will be one of four airworthy Spitfires included.

Spitfire FR.XIV G-SPIT at Sywell prior to departing for Duxford
Spitfire FR.XIV G-SPIT at Sywell prior to departing for Duxford Nigel Harrison

The exhibition, which will be open until February 25, 2024, highlights the vital role aerial intelligence gathering played in securing Allied victory in World War Two. Through historic aircraft, film and photography, Spies in the Skies will demonstrate how aerial reconnaissance developed and significantly improved over the course of the conflict. It will highlight the daring role of the Photo Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) and those tasked with undertaking these critical missions.

Spitfire FR.XIV G-SPIT on December 6
Spitfire FR.XIV G-SPIT on December 6 Nigel Harrison

Built at Keevil, the FR.XIV was stored by the RAF until early 1945, but did fly in India. It was returned to the UK by Doug Arnold in the early 1970s, joining his Warbirds of Great Britain collection. Duxford’s Fighter Collection took over the restoration when the aircraft changed hands and completed work on it in August 1992. In 2000, it was repainted to represent the machine once flown by AVM ‘Johnnie’ Johnson. With thanks to Nigel Harrison

Dave Puleston flying Spitfire FR.XIV G-SPIT
Dave Puleston flying Spitfire FR.XIV G-SPIT Nigel Harrison