A collection of favourite images…


Church Fenton Airfield

A Squadron of YTS Grob Tutors used for Elementary Flying Training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights throughout the UK on the pan at RAF Church Fenton – summer 2012


Avro-Vulcan, Fenton Airshow

Avro Vulcan XH558 was the last Vulcan to leave RAF service flying from 1986 to 1993. Vulcans established a world record at the time for the longest-ever bombing mission in the Falklands War: a return journey of nearly 8000 miles taking 15 hrs 45 minutes – seen here at the 1982 Church Fenton SSAFA Airshow.


Andrew on Supermarine Spitfire BM597

Andrew (my son) and Spitfire gate guardian BM597 at RAF Church Fenton


Avro Lancaster painting

Avro Lancaster painting – Woodford 1941. Of the 7,377 built only 17 surviving and largely intact Lancasters are known to exist two are airworthy; one, based at RAF Coningsby is operated by ‘The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’ and the other is in Canada, operated by the ‘Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’.


Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Hurricane the Worlds only Sea Hurricane 1b – Shuttleworth Collection 2009


Seafire Mk XVII

Supermarine Seafire Mk.17 – Shuttleworth Military Pageant. One of only 2 Griffon engined Seafires left in the world.


Seafire Mk XVII Shuttleworth

Supermarine Seafire taxiing out in company with a 1942 Fieseler Storch (the design creates a lot of drag – it uses more fuel per mile than The Collections Spitfire!)


Spitfire framing Mustang

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk XI framing ‘Ferocious Frankie’ – an immaculate 1944 Mustang


Supermarine Spitfire PL965 at the Shuttleworth Military Pageant


Peter Teichman on Spitfire

Peter Teichman of ‘The Hangar 11 Collection’ exits Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk XI PL965 a PR Mk XI photo reconnaissance aircraft – an extremely rare and unusual example of a Spitfire.


PRU blue-painted Spitfire

The PRU blue painted Spitfires operated at low and high altitudes, always flying alone.



The first Mk XIs Spitfires were built in November 1942 – in total 471 Mk XI were built by Supermarine



On the 10th July 1947 she was “retired” and sold for the princely sum of £25.0s.0d to the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In 1939, a Spitfire cost £12,604 now it’s something like £1-£1.3m purchase price and £2500 per flying hour.


World War II Spitfire at Shuttleworth

Spitfire PR Mk XIs were capable of a top speed of 417 mph at 24,000 ft. and could cruise at 395 mph at 32,000 ft.


ww2 spitfire plane

Operated by the Hangar 11 Collection –


Spitfire at Breighton July 2001

PL965 as she appeared in her pink colour scheme while based with the Real Aeroplane Company at Breighton, Yorkshire. The de Havilland Chipmunk WK549 is still based at Breighton


World War 2 Spitfire Vc

Supermarine Spitfire Vc AR501 of the Shuttleworth Collection. Built by Westland Aircraft at Yeovil was issued to No. 310 (Czech) Squadron at Duxford in 1942. It is the only Spitfire in the world still flying with an original de Havilland three blade propeller


Supermarine Spitfire Vb BM597 on a visit to Elvington – summer 2012


Spitfire Supermarine at Elvington

Built at Castle Bromwich and delivered on 26th April 1942, serving with 315 and 317 (Polish) Squadrons. Its final operational allocation was to No. 58 OTU before being retired from the RAF on 16th October 1945.


raf church fenton spitfire 2

The aircraft became a gate guardian at RAF Church Fenton 1969-1988 and was even used to make moulds for the fibreglass replicas used in the filming of ‘Battle of Britain’.



Used as static airframe in the film ‘Battle of Britain’ 1968. Acquired by Historic Aircraft Collection it was restored to its original specification and flies in the colours of 317 Squadron.


raf church fenton spitfire

During the ‘Battle of Britain’ Polish Pilots shot down 203 Luftwaffe aircraft which stood for 12% of total German losses in the battle.


Spitfire 'b' wing

Spitfire ‘b’ wing – This was the A type modified to hold one 20mm Hispano cannon – The ‘b’ wing entered service during 1940 with No.19 Squadron who used it during the ‘Battle of Britain’, but the cannons were still causing problems. Finally in November 1940 No.92 Squadron received Spitfires equipped with two 20mm cannon and four 0.303in machine guns. This proved to be a much more successful combination of weapons, and became the standard for the ‘b’wing.


raf church fenton spitfire 3

In 2005 it flew to Malta for the ‘Merlins Over Malta’ project while wearing a special temporary blue colour scheme to represent Malta based Spitfires. It was the first Spitfire to fly over Malta since the filming of ‘Malta Story’ in 1952. The character of “Peter Ross”, played by Alec Guiness, is apparently loosely based on that of Adrian Warburton who became legendary in the RAF for his role in the defence of the island.



S/Ldr Franciszek Kornicki, a former Polish fighter pilot who served in the Polish Air Force in Poland, France and Britain, was reunited with BM597 and sat in his former cockpit in 2004. His signature can be found on the inside of the cockpit door (more on Kornicki in the book)


Flt. Lt. Brown with Spitfire

Renowned Spitfire display pilot and RAF Instructor Charlie Brown. Flt. Lt. Brown joined the RAF in 1981 and in his 30 year flying career as an RAF pilot has flown Jet Provosts, Tornados, Chipmunks, Bulldogs, Tucanos and Tutors.



The Supermarine Spitfire was the only Allied fighter aircraft of the Second World War to fight in front line service, from the beginnings of the conflict, in September 1939, through to the end in August 1945.


Spitfire aircraft in Elvington

Taxiing past Handley Page Victor Tanker XL231 – became the prototype K.2 Tanker on 23 January 1972 and saw service in the Falklands War, in support of the ‘Operation Black Buck’ Vulcan raid on Port Stanley. The Yorkshire Air Museum is the largest independent air museum in Britain.


Spitfire BM597 at Elvington2010

Departing Elvington – The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. The Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing was designed to have the narrowest possible cross-section.


Spitfire BM597 Linton on Ouse

BM597 gate guardian at RAF Church Fenton  – it also spent four years at RAF Linton-on-Ouse from 1975-79. A comprehensive history of this particular aircraft together with many images appears in ‘Fighting’ Church Fenton.


World War 2 Spitfire at Duxford

Spitfire LF Mk. XVIe built at Castle Bromwich and delivered to RAF as TD248, May 11, 1945.


Spitfire at 'Flying Legends' airshow at Duxford

Photographed at Duxford ‘Flying Legends’ airshow in the striking silver and red livery of 41 Squadron that participated in the Blackpool Air races of 1948/49. Sold in 2005 and the new owners had it re-sprayed in its present colour scheme of 74 Squadron 2nd Tactical Air Force May 1945.


Spitfire Fighter Engine Testing

Photographic Reconnaissance Spitfire PR Mk XIX from RAF Coningsby’s ‘Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’ (BBMF) during a ground-run following engine and fuelling issues (photo: SAC Graham Taylor/MOD)



William Walton’s ‘Spitfire Prelude and Fugue’ here – uplifting and melancholic in remembrance of those often so very young pilots who never made it back to base.



The B25 Mitchell seen over Duxford 2009. Used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, named in honor of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Photograph taken by Andrew Mason - good isn't it!

The B25 Mitchell seen over Duxford 2009. Used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, named in honour of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Photograph taken by Andrew Mason.

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