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SPITFIRE HF MK Vc LZ844 (A58-213)

(One that got away!)

 

 


43
  Built by Supermarine at Castle Bromwich as LZ844. (Source: 1)
20APR43
  Taken on charge at No 38 Maintenance Unit. (Source: 1)
26APR43
  Allotted to No 47 Maintenance Unit. (Source: 1)
15MAY43
  Shipped to Australia on the S.S. Kent. (Source: 1)
02JUL43
  Issued to RAAF. (Source: 1)
43
  Allocated RAAF serial A58-213. (Source: 2)
There is photographic evidence that the aeroplane was still painted as LZ844 when it was being converted to components after the accident which ended its RAAF service i.e. it was never painted as A58-213. (Source: 4)
13JUL43
  Received at No 1 Aircraft Park, Geelong, Vic. ex the UK. (Source: 2)
21JUL43
  Issued and received at No 1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton, Vic. ex 1AP. (Source: 2)
21JUL43
  Allotted No 13 Aircraft Repair Depot, Breddan, Qld. ex 1AD. (Source: 2)
30JUL43
  Issued to 13ARD ex 1AD. (Source: 2)
02AUG43
  Received at 13ARD ex 1AD. (Source: 2)
18AUG43
  Allotted No 79 Sqn, Kiriwina (Trobriand Islands) ex 13ARD as a replacement for JG884. (Source: 2)
09SEP43
  Issued to 79 Sqn ex 13ARD. (Source: 2)
12SEP43
  Received at 79 Sqn ex 13ARD. (Source: 2)
LZ844 arrived at Kiriwina from Horn Island and Port Moresby. (Source: 3)
11DEC43
  Brakes failed on landing at Kiriwina resulting in extensive damage. The brake failure resulted from a blown diaphragm. Aircraft had been engaged in non-operational practice formation flying. (Source: 2)
Pilot was Sgt Chomley. (Source: 3)
12DEC43
  Aircraft recommended for repair. (Source: 2)
14DEC43
  Allotted to No 26 Repair and Salvage Unit at Goodenough Island ex 79 Sqn for repair. (Source: 2)
15DEC43
  Issued to 26RSU ex 79 Sqn. (Source: 2)
16DEC43
  Received at 26RSU ex 79 Sqn. (Source: 2)
Main party of 12RSU arrived at Kiriwina. (Source: 3)
12JAN44
  26RSU report that aircraft is not considered economically repairable and parts required urgently for servicing other aircraft. (Source: 2)
17JAN44
  Allotted 12RSU ex 26RSU. (Source: 2)
30JAN44
  Issued to 12RSU ex 26RSU. (Source: 2)
30JAN44
  Received at 12RSU ex 26RSU. (Source: 2)
31JAN44
  Damaged fuselage was photographed by John Harrison in the hangar of 12RSU at Kiriwina. The aircraft carried the serial LZ844 and was coded UP-X. (Source: 4)
This confirms that the aircraft was never painted as A58-213.
04MAR44
  AMSE approve conversion to components. (Source: 2)
09MAR44
  RAAF HQ approve conversion to components. (Source: 2)
    The aircraft was converted to components and the remainder of the airframe abandoned at Kiriwina.
74
  A recovery expedition, principally funded by David Tallichet, was mounted in New Guinea to recover US built machines. As part of this expedition, or as a side trip, Monty Armstrong, the principal recovery engineer, located Spitfire components on Kiriwina Island. (Source: 5)
77
  The Spitfire components were shipped to a collection point at Lae and then onward to New Zealand where they were stored in a covered area at Ardmore in the custody of Monty Armstrong. (Source: 5)
c.78
  A fuselage and possibly one wing were shipped to Barry Coran in Melbourne, Australia. When located on Kiriwina, this fuselage was described as a Castle Bromwich built fuselage from firewall to behind the cockpit with a large portion of the port fuselage side structure missing. Period photos show that the fuselage was bead blasted soon after arrival in Australia. Barry Coran has no knowledge of data plates associated with this fuselage. From the configuration of the lower fuselage spar, the aircraft was confirmed as a Mk V and, by inference of associated parties, of Castle Bromwich rather than Westland production. (Source: 5)
23DEC96
  Rolled out at Point Cook after restoration. Painted in RAF camouflage as R6915 and coded PR-U. The real R6915 is a Mk IA which is extant at the Imperial War Museum, in the UK. (Source: 7)

"Although now fitted with a Mk VIII long bearer, cowlings and four blade prop by Barry Coran, the aircraft is actually a Mk V, by virtue of the common hole size in the lower wing boom/fuselage spar. An exhaustive study of the 79 Squadron ORB, counting them all out and counting them all in, together with period photographic support suggests with 95% probability that this aircraft is LZ844 beyond reasonable doubt." (Source: 5)

The four-bladed prop is a Barracuda unit contributed to the project by the Queensland Air Museum.
97
  Loaned to the RAAF Museum, Point Cook. (Source: 7)
10SEP99
  An Australian export permit was granted for a "Supermarine Spitfire aircraft (composite - unknown mark) not flying". This may or may not refer to LZ844. (Source: 10)
20OCT02
  Trucked from Point Cook to Essendon. (Source: 7)
17FEB03
  Auctioned at Avalon Airport by Fowles Auction Group. The aircraft had been on display at the Avalon Air Show on the days leading up to the auction. Bidding was opened at $400,000 (the reserve price) and progressively lowered to $50,000 but there were no bidders and the aircraft was passed in. (Source: 6)
APR03
  Noted at Avalon in open storage covered by tarpaulins. (Source: 6)
22MAY03
  Sold to Aviation Australia. (Source: 8)
10JUN03
  Arrived at the Aviation Australia facility at Brisbane Airport by road. (Source: 8)
OCT06
  To FEB07 the aircraft underwent further repairs and preservation by AA students and staff and was repainted in RAAF camouflage and roundels. (Source: 8)
24FEB07
  Trucked to Caloundra on loan to QAM.
    The aircraft is currently fitted with a Rolls Royce Merlin Mk. 25 (s/n 104543) from a Mosquito. (Source: 9)
23FEB11
  QAM was advised that a sale was under negotiation. QAM was not given an opportunity to bid for the aircraft.
06MAY11
  Ownership passed to Martin Cobb of the UK.
09MAY11
  Aircraft removed from Hangar 1 for dismantling by owner's agent prior to shipping to the UK. To fit the aircraft in the shipping container, one propeller blade was sawn off by the owner's agent. This propeller was originally donated to Barry Coran by QAM for incorporation in the rebuild of LZ844.
11MAY11
  Container departed QAM.
28MAY12
  Photographed at Kemble, UK with two propeller blades sawn off.


SOURCES
1
Morgan, E.B. & Shacklady, E. 1987 Spitfire The History, 1st edn., Key Publishing, Great Britain.
2
RAAF Form E/E.88 (Status Card)
3
No 79 Sqn Operations Record Book
4
Australian War Memorial Photo OG0628
5
Correspondence with Spitfire historian Peter Arnold.
6
Prossor, D. 2003-2004 Australian Aviation - Warbirds, Aerospace Publications, ACT
7
www.warbirdregistry.org
8
Correspondence with Aviation Australia
9
David Birch, Rolls Royce Heritage Trust supported by observations by QAM.
10
Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Annual Report on the operation of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 and the administration of the National Cultural Heritage Account 19992000.
http://www.arts.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/83383/annual1999.pdf
Special thanks to Peter Arnold for his assistance in the compilation of this history.

 

Compiled by Ron Cuskelly

 

 


ISSUE
DATE
REMARKS
6
03OCT12
Added an image of the aircraft reassembled in the UK.
5
21MAY11
Added a reference to an export permit issued on 10SEP99.
4
06MAY11
Aviation Australia sold the aircraft to Martin Cobb in the UK.
3
28JUN09
Added the model and serial number of the engine.
2
27MAR07
Added details of acquisition by Aviation Australia.
1
21MAR07
Original issue.