Originally built at Castle Bromwich in 1945, Spitfire LF Mk.XVIE 'RW832' never saw combat and spent most of its military career as a gate guard before being sold in 1988. RW832 flew in the UK until 1995 when it was transferred to California where the airframe suffered an accident in 1998. The airframe was shipped to the Spitfire Company at Biggin Hill who restored the Spitfire to an airworthy condition, having its first flight in September 2013. RW832 is currently known as the "The American Spitfire" thanks to its colour scheme and joins our static display to represent the Spitfires that flew with the USAAF and USAF.
The Spitfire is carrying the markings of the Mk IX Spitfire flown by Lt Robert Connor of the 31st Fighter Group, 309th Fighter Squadron during 1943. The nose art is the cartoon character 'Porky Pig' in reference to Lt Connor's squadron nickname of Porky. The 309th FS converted from P39's to Spitfire Vs on arrival in Britain during 1942 initially at RAF Westhampnett and went on to fly these in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. In April 1943 the squadron received their first Mk IXs and these were often used to provide top cover for the older Mk Vs. Finally in March 1944 the 309th swapped their Spitfires for longer range Mustangs to allow them to escort USAAF bombers over southern Germany.
Photo Credit: Richard Paver