SPITFIRE LFVb BM597
Appearing in the static display alongside the Historic Aircraft Collection's Hurricane is that organisation's very fine Spitfire. It, too, is painted in Polish squadron markings. BM597 was a product of the Vickers-Supermarine 'shadow' factory at Castle Bromwich, emerging in early 1942. It served with two Polish-manned units, Nos 315 and 317 Squadrons, both at Woodvale. Having overturned in a January 1943 taxiing incident, the aircraft was repaired but never went back to an operational squadron; its last operator was No 58 Operational Training Unit, which retired BM597 in October 1945. Much of its life thereafter was spent as an RAF station gate guardian at various locations. In 1989 it was recovered by Historic Flying in a deal with the RAF; HAC bought it in 1993, and the restoration to airworthiness was completed, again by Historic Flying. In No 317 Squadron markings that it still wears, BM597 made its post-restoration debut at Duxford in May 1998.