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The Forest of Dean Spitfire.

image: the Forest of Dean Spitfire

image: Spitfire lapel badgeTerry wrote (June 2006): "After the outbreak of world war two in September 1939 most districts around the country held various fund raising events to buy a plane or partly contribute towards the purchase of a ship, these machines would be named after the districts who's fundraising helped to purchase them.

Throughout the Wye Valley and The Forest of Dean people raised a total of £7,675 towards the purchase of the "Monmouth Chepstow and Forest of Dean Spitfire" The aircraft finally purchased was Spitfire MKVB serial number W3405 built by Vickers Armstrong and delivered to No 6 Maintenance Unit R.A.F. Brize Norton on 11th June 1941.

It then went to No 91 Squadron at Hawkinge where it served in front line service for one year shooting down an enemy ME 109 on its first sortie. The Spitfire was then transferred to the 4th Fighter Squadron U.S.A.A.F. who, from the 25th August to 13th September flew out of Biggin Hill in conjunction with R.A.F. Fighter Command. Between 27th August and 11th September 1942 the unit would fly 83 missions including 12 on defence patrols with no combat losses.

In September 1942 the 4th Fighter Squadron went overseas. The spitfire was moved again this time to No 332 squadron R.A.F. at North Weald. Another move was on the cards this time to No 67 Reconnaissance Group U.S.A.A.F. at Membury in early 1943.

It then went to No 41 Operational Training Unit at Pulton in Cheshire before moving again with No 41 Operational Training Unit to Chilbolton in Hampshire in March 1945. It would end its career at Hawarden with No 58 Operational Training Unit carrying out pilot training navigation and air to ground firing at the Prestatyn Ranges on the North Wales coast. No 58 Operational Training Unit ceased to exist on 20th July 1945. From then on No 48 Maintenance Unit took over, the 'Monmouth, Chepstow and Forest of Dean Spitfire' was retired on 3rd November 1946 and like many of its other counterparts was finally scrapped"

The badges show above were sold to help fund the Spitfire.

June 2006: "It's my understanding that a mounted metal plaque was presented back to The Collectors, for display in some suitable location. Was one given for this aircraft?" - no name provided.

John Anderson

Rachel Hennessy added (December 2011): "... My grandfather John Anderson now aged 91 flew this plane, please see photo number 2 of this article".

Photo left: John Anderson in the 'Monmouth Chepstow and Forest of Dean Spitfire'. John's RAF career is documented here.


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