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SPITFIRE Ia P9374

P9374 was the first of the two airworthy Spitfire Ia to emerge from the workshops of the Aircraft Restoration Company and Historic Flying at IWM Duxford. It is a remarkable survivor. The aircraft flew on 23 February 1940 and was delivered first to No 92 Squadron, then re-equipping with Spitfires at Duxford. Several changes of base followed, P9374 becoming the personal aircraft of Fg Off Peter Cazenove. No 92 Squadron became engaged in the Battle of France, and P9374 with it, seeing its first combat sortie on the evening of 23 May 1940. On that occasion Plt Off Desmond Williams was at the controls; he claimed a Messerschmitt Bf 110 destroyed and two more damaged following an engagement off Boulogne. The next day, Cazenove flew P9374 on a patrol between Calais and Dunkirk. It seems probable that it was hit by gunfire from a Dornier Do 17Z bomber - whatever happened, Cazenove force-landed on a beach near Calais. He spent the rest of hostilities as a prisoner of war. The Spitfire survived remarkably intact, resurfacing from the shifting sands in 1980. Two decades later, it was purchased from a French enthusiast by Thomas Kaplan and the late Simon Marsh of Mark One Partners. The restoration by ARC/HFL at Duxford resulted in a maiden flight on 30 August 2011. Naturally, it appears in No 92 Squadron markings. 

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