421 Squadron's
Spitfire Mark IXb


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Spitfire IX

There were 5665 Spitfire IXs produced -- almost 1300 of them in the configuration flown by 421 Squadron and shown here. They were superlative aircraft. From the moment it burst upon the European scene, the Spitfire IX was equal to or superior to anything the Germans could throw into the air -- with the obvious exception in late 1944 of the Me 262!! But from January 1943 through the early summer months of 1944, the Spitfire IX was the best short-range fighter in Europe.

The aircraft shown above was received 21 May 1944 as a replacement for MJ235 the aircraft flown by F/O Jimmy Davidson on Ramrod 905, a massive raid by nine squadrons of Spitfires (three squadrons under Chad Chadburn's command, three under Johnny Johnson's command, and three under the ADGB Digby Wing including RCAF 402 Squadron). They grouped at Hawkinge and then swarmed over Amiens, Cambrai and Brussels. The flak was unbelievable. Seventeen trains were destroyed and twice that number were damaged but, as the AFHQ report stated,"twenty-one RAF aircraft and twenty pilots were lost." In 127 Wing 403 lost one, 416 lost one and 421 Squadron lost two pilots -- Ralph Nickerson and Jimmy Davidson. Nickerson evaded and holed out in Dieppe until the Allies liberated it, but Davidson spent the rest of the war in a prison camp.

This aircaft -- NH415 -- lasted only three weeks. Upon delivery it became the favourite of F/L Frank Clark who flew it almost continuously until his death 13 June 1944 when his life ended in collision with W/C Chad Chadburn.


cutaway

Specifications
wing span36 feet 10 inches
length31 feet 1 inch
height12 feet 10 inches
track5 feet 8 inches
wing area242 square feet
dihedralmean 6 degrees
gross take-off weight7,480 pounds
climb5.7 minutes to 20,000 feet
maximun true air speed330 at 0 feet
maximun true air speed376 at 15,000 feet
maximun true air speed376 at 21,000 feet
maximun true air speed408 at 27,000 feet
ceiling43,000 feet
cruise range430 miles
cruise range with 90 gal slipper880 miles

There are lots of Spitfire sites around the web, here are a few of them:

  • provides a first-person description of flying a Spitfire
  • Official Spitfire Society web site by Steve Graham
  • Spitfire Operational History
  • Y2K Spitfire Restoration Project
  • Paul's Spitfire Page
  • Eagle Squadrons 244 American pilots volunteered for service in the Eagle Squadrons, Number 71, 121, and 133 Squadrons of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command
  • Doug Tidy's website -- Doug served in Sailor Malan's 74 Squadron
  • the Supermarine page.

  • Angels Eight Home Page

    last updated 22 December 2006 in sunny Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.