SPITFIRE SHOWPIECE

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Some freshly scanned photographs offer a new perspective on a famous Spitfire from RAF Duxford’s history

Ben Dunnell explores The Aeroplane‘s outstanding archives to cast new light on past stories

Wg Cdr Jack Broughton DFC AFC, Wg Cdr W. C. T. Brown, station commander Gp Capt Norman Ryder DFC and Wg Cdr R. W. Leggett with Spitfire XVI SL542 at RAF Duxford in April 1959.
AEROPLANE

Today, Spitfires are ten-apenny at Duxford. Even an ordinary day can see multiple examples flying, to say nothing of the venue’s airshows. It recalls, it almost goes without saying, the Cambridgeshire airfield’s role in bringing the Supermarine fighter into RAF operation with No 19 Squadron in 1938, and its early-war history as a Spitfire base. Less often recalled, though, is the type’s post-war presence. When Duxford became an RAF station once more following the American withdrawal in 1945, Nos 91 and 66 Squadrons brought ‘Spits’ back to its skies, if only for a short while. Gloster Meteors took over in 1946-47, and Duxford entered the jet age. But still it was no stranger to inservice RAF Spitfires, albeit in much smaller numbers.

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