About the Project
On the 23rd of February, 1940, Spitfire P9374, the 557th production aircraft, took to the skies for the first time. It was the embodiment of grace and power. To many, it was a thrilling spectacle; to the lucky few it was a friend. This is the story of P9374. Like so many of its kind, its war career was short. But unlike so many of its contemporaries, its story did not end with its last flight when it was shot down on 24 May in combat over the French coast.
Found washed up on a beach at Calais, France in 1980 after having survived the ravages of the English Channel and being buried in shifting sand for forty years, the airframe was recovered in very good condition.
On 13 October 2000, Thomas Kaplan and Simon Marsh purchased P9374 from a French aircraft enthusiast and, with the dedicated team at Aircraft Restoration Company in Duxford, England, began the long process of painstakingly restoring the plane to its original condition and making it flight worthy. With its return to the skies over its homeland on August 30, 2011, P9374 is the earliest Mark of Spitfire flying anywhere in the world. Read an article recounting the restoration.
History of P9374
P9374 left the factory on the 2nd of March, 1940, and was flown to No.9 Maintenance Unit for final checks before going on to 92 Squadron, based at Duxford, England. It was one of seven Spitfires sent to the unit on the 6th of March when the old twin-engined Blenheim fighters were given up.