The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during and after World War II. During the Battle of Britain, the public perceived the Spitfire to be the main RAF fighter. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. The prototype Spitfire first flew on 5 March 1936. The British Air Ministry placed an initial order for 300 Spitfires, however due to production problems the first Spitfires did not enter RAF service until October 1938. More than 20,000 were built. The design of the Spitfire changed significantly with more powerful engines. The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping to give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. There were 24 marks of Spitfire and many sub-variants. These covered the Spitfire in development from the Merlin to Griffon engines, the high-speed photo-reconnaissance variants and the different wing configurations. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber and trainer, and it continued to serve in these roles until the 1950s.
TURKIYE and THE SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE
The Turkish Air Force wanted to add Spitfire Mk 1’s into the inventory in order to reinforce fleets just prior to the Second World War. Türkiye ordered 15 Spitfire Mk.1a (Type 341) aircraft. As Britain decided that it needed the aeroplanes more than its overseas customers due to war, the contract was cancelled after the delivery of 2 aircrafts. Another Spitfire also came via a very long route from England. In 1939, Poland was interested in purchasing the Spitfire and the aircraft was set sail for Poland. As the Germans had invaded Poland, and controlled the seas, the ship changed its course and set sail for Romania. However, Romania banned the transit of any arms toPoland. As a result of this, Spitfire was sent to Türkiye. All three Spitfires were allocated to 42th Fighter Command, 8th Fighter Battalion, 4th Air Regiment at Çorlu. By late 1940, all three Spitfires were grounded due to lack of spares. 2 Spitfires which directly came from England, were ferried to Egypt where they were used by the RAF and given the new serial numbers. Spitfire P9565 (number 4), was one of the original 15 ordered by Türkiye, but upon cancellation of the contract was retained for use by the RAF.
It has construction number 702 and produced with Merlin III engine in Eastleigh/England. It made its first flight on 16 May 1940. As P9565, the Spitfire initially served with the Aircraft & Armaments Experimental Establishment, where it was one of a number of trials including testing de Havilland propellers and the installation of a 30 Gallon fuel tank mounted under the port wing. Therefore, it was identified as Type 343 with these installations. Trials were carried out operationally with Nos. 66, 118 and 152 Squadrons. On 15 October 1940, it was transferred to the Special Duties Flight at Christchurch. On 13 March 1941, it was sent to the Heston Aircraft Company where it was converted into a Spitfire Mk.Va with a new Merlin series 45 engine. On 2 October 1941, Spitfire moves to No. 59 Operational Training Unit where it was used for fighter pilot training. On 16 July 1942, it was converted into a PR.VIII Type G for photo-reconnaissance duties. On 30 September 1942, it joined Squadron 542 where it was a photographic reconnaissance unit. On 5 May 1943, the Spitfire moves again to No. 8 Operational Training Unit. On 25 February 1944, it was damaged in an accident, struck off charge after repair and sold to Türkiye.
This aircraft was inspired by Mr. Necati Artan’s first solo flight with Spitfire. She carries the glorious mark of Turkish Airforce used in those years.
It was brought into M.S.Ö. Air & Space Museum by Mr. Ali İsmet ÖZTÜRK.