Spitfire Partners To Rebuild Calais Veteran
Simon Marsh and Thomas Kaplan of "Spitfire Partners" have recently acquired the remains of Spitfire Mk 1A P9374 from a french enthusiast and are now in the process of setting up an operational team to undertake a full reconstruction to flying condition. The airframe was recovered from the beach at Calais, France in 1980, and despite the ravages of the English Channel and being buried in shifting sand for forty years, many of the components are in a remarkable good condition.
The aircraft was originally lost in action on May 24th 1940, while being flown by Plt Off Peter Cazenove of 92 Squadron (based at Hornchurch , Essex), in an attempt to support the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force. A cannon shell was collected in the cooling system forcing P9374 (GR-J) to make a wheels up landing whereupon Plt Off Cazenove became a prisoner of war.
The airframe is currently in storage on the Isle of Wight and has been allocated the civil registration G-MKIA. The rebuild will follow original MK1 modification state and procedures and if all goes well the team hope to have this project close to it's first flight for nearly fifty years around 2003.