Spitfire P7833 "PORTADOWN"

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I have today accompanied the nephew of Sgt E J Kean (NZ) of 54 Squadron to the crash site at Biddenden, Kent, where his uncle was shot down and killed on 17 May 1941 in Spitfire P7833 which was a presentation aircraft named "Portadown".

Does anyone know of a photograph of this aircraft?

I have not yet tried the Belfast Evening Telegraph, Belfast libraries or the IWM but any pointers towards possible photographs would be greatly appreciated.

The crash site was excavated (twice) during the early 1970s by a local chap called Eric Boswell. We do not know what he found (presumably a great deal) or where it is now. In more recent years it was re-excavated by Geoff Nutkins of the Shoreham Aircraft Museum and I am waiting to hear from Geoff as to what he found at that time.

During todays visit, which was very emotional for Earl Kean, several pieces of Spitfire were found laying around the crash site and given to Earl to take back to New Zealand. This clearly meant a great deal to him.

I might take this opportunity to thank Trevor Matthews, Graham Hukins and Richard Hukins at Lashenden Air Warfare Museum (Headcorn) who helped in locating the crash site and later welcomed Mr and Mrs Kean at the museum. To say they were overwhelmed by the day would be an understatement, I think!

If anyone can help with steering us towards a photo of P7833, or identifying where the items recovered by Mr Boswell might have ended up, then this would be hugely appreciated.

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13 years 7 months

Posts: 61

Did a little diggin and found this,


P7833 IIa CBAF MXII 6MU 1-1-41 54S 5-4-41 Missing believed after engine failure on patrol off Clacton [Me110?] 20-4-41 SOC 30-5-41 P/O Colebrook killed

This makes reference to a P7833 Mk2a spit, is this the same one?


No, there have previously been published errors in respect of this aircraft.

The loss to which you refer was in fact P7383 and the transposition of numerals has resulted in confusion.

The aircraft to which I refer, and in which I have an interest, is certainly P7833 "Portadown".

Thanks for pointing up the anomaly, though!

Following the above post I have discovered that Geoff Nutkins of Shoreham Aircraft Museum did NOT carry out any excavations at the crash site.

It would appear that an unknown individual misrepresented his own identity or who he was working with/for when he carried out this recovery and led the farmer to believe that he was either Geoff Nutkins or was working for his museum. I now understand that this is not the first time this has happened.

I wanted to set the record straight having been misinformed, unknowingly, by the landowner concerned who was clearly duped.
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14 years 8 months

Posts: 2,605

Soo there is a rogue Spitfire wreck laying in someones shed...Bad show

Probably at least two sheds!!

Original recovery by Eric Boswell.

Subsequent recovery by person or persons unknown.