The First Spitfire

The Spitfire Prototype

The prototype Supermarine Spitfire – K5054 — first flew on the 5th of March 1936 and, by 1940, sufficient numbers had been produced to turn the tide in the Battle of Britain. This remarkable fighter — of which 20,351 were built in 40 major variants — fought on every front with practically every Allied Air Force. In the UK, RAF-serialled Spitfires were flown by the RAAF’s Nos 451, 452, 453 and 457 Squadrons. The 656 Spitfires delivered to the RAAF between August 1942 and June 1945 included 245 Mk Vcs (A58-1 to 185 and A58-200 to 259), 251 Mk VIIIs (A58-300 to 550) and 159 HF Mk VIIIs (A58-600 to 758) plus a Mk Vc, EE731, which did not receive an A58 number. These fighters operated in Australia with Nos 79 and 85 Squadrons and the redeployed Nos 452 and 457 Squadrons, together with Spitfires from RAF Nos 54, 548 and 549 Squadrons. The Spitfires, in association with Kittyhawks, formed the RAAF’s main defensive and offensive fighter force until 1945, when the CAC Mustang superseded both fighter types. Spitfire disposal action occurred between 1946 and 1952.

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