Supermarine Spitfire mk VC (Tropical) BR323 of 249 Sqn, Takali, Malta in 1942, as flown by Canadian ace pilot George “Screwball” Beurling. Fitted with a distinguishing Vokes filter under the nose to prevent sand ingestion, these planes operated in the Middle East theatre during WW2. BR323/S was flown predominantly by Beurling, it was initially damaged in two sorties he made on 6th July and grounded until the 10th and was then written off two days later after suffering further damage whilst being flown by another pilot. Limited edition of 2950.
George Frederick “Buzz” Beurling DSO, DFC, DFM & Bar, RCAF (6 December 1921 – 20 May 1948), was the most successful Canadian fighter pilot of the Second World War. Beurling was recognized as “Canada’s most famous hero of Second World War”, as “The Falcon of Malta” and the “Knight of Malta”, having shot down 27 Axis aircraft in just 14 days over the besieged Mediterranean island. Fighter pilots played a critical role in the defense of Malta during its siege. Beurling landed on the island on 9 June, after having flown off the deck of HMS Eagle aboard his Spitfire, during Operation Salient. His nickname on Malta was “Screwball”, an expletive he had a habit of using. Before the war ended his total climbed to 31.5. Beurling’s wartime service was terminated prior to war’s end. In an attempt to continue combat flying in the postwar era, Beurling lost his life in a crash while delivering an aircraft to Israel.
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s. It was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft and was the only British fighter in production throughout the war.
The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works (since 1928 a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong). Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith became chief designer. The Spitfire’s elliptical wing had a thin cross-section, allowing a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Speed was seen as essential to carry out the mission of home defence against enemy bombers.
During the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire was perceived by the public as the RAF fighter of the battle, whereas in fact, the more numerous Hurricane actually shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against the Luftwaffe. The Spitfire units did, however, have a lower attrition rate and a higher victory to loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes.
After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire became the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific and the South-East Asian theatres. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber, carrier-based fighter, and trainer. It was built in many variants, using several wing configurations. Although the original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp, it was adaptable enough to use increasingly more powerful Merlin and the later Rolls-Royce Griffon engines; the latter was eventually able to produce 2,035 hp