Few aircraft hold such a place of love and respect in a nation’s aviation history that they can be called “iconic”. For members of the British Commonwealth, the iconic fighter aircraft of World War Two was the Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire was physically beautiful, with graceful lines and elliptical wings, while at the same time it was deadly efficient in air combat. Many of the pilots who flew it, including Wing Commander Stocky Edwards of Comox, BC, say it was a dream machine to fly – it responded beautifully to light control input and could turn circles around enemy aircraft.
Spitfire Mark IX Serial Number TE 294 was manufactured in 1945 in Castle Bromwich, UK. Delivered to the RAF in June that year, she was too late to see wartime combat. At the conclusion of WWII, the RAF moved quickly into the Jet Age and many now-surplus Spitfires were sold off within the Commonwealth. In particular, TE294 was sold to South Africa in 1947, along with a couple of dozen other aircraft. She was flown on various training missions over the years, unfortunately, following a “wheels-up landing” in 1952 she was written off and subsequently sold, along with other Spitfires, to a scrap metal dealer near Pretoria, where she languished for decades.