After restoration, Spitfire to fly again

July 25th, 2010 - 7:41 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 25 (ANI): A project to create an authentic Mark I Spitfire will be completed later this year.

According to The Telegraph, the X4650 aircraft will take to the skies 70 years after the Battle of Britain. The painstaking reconstruction of the aircraft coincides with a public competition to design a permanent memorial to the aircraft’s designers.

It also shines a spotlight on the extraordinary story of young pilot, Howard Squire, who was flying the plane on a training mission led by RAF legend ‘Al’ Deere when the pair collided over North Yorkshire. Squire, now 89, has visited the restoration project and hopes to see the finished aircraft fly over the south coast of England later this year.

The wreckage was only discovered in the summer of 1976 when low river levels exposed the metal embedded in a clay riverbank on farmland near Kirklevington, Cleveland.

It had been there since December 28 1940, after Sgt Squire, then 20, bailed out after colliding with X4276 flown by Al Deere, Flight Commander of 54 Squadron at RAF Catterick.New Zealand-born Deere, a Battle of Britain legend who went on to become an Air Commodore, was giving his junior a lesson in how to keep doggedly close to an enemy aircraft.

“Stick to me like glue,” he told Sgt Squire - a line that inspired a pilot training scene in the 1969 film, Battle of Britain.

However, the young man stuck too close and his plane - then only a few months old - hit Deere’s tail with his propeller at 12,000ft, forcing them both to ditch.

“I thought I was for the chop,” said Sgt Squire, who now lives near Birmingham.

“There aren’t many pilots who knock their Flight Commander out of the sky. He was very good about it,” said Sgt Squire.Air Commodore Deere was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in a ceremony conducted by King George VI on June 28th 1940 at RAF Hornchurch. He retired in 1977, died in 1995 and his ashes were scattered over the Thames estuary from a Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial flight. (ANI)

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