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  • DADE
    Rank 2 Registered User
    • Sep 2018
    • 66

    The third Supermarine Spitfire

    Number 3.
    After several complaints were received from the public, plus the museums own observations, it was realised that the Supermarine Spitfire MK22, PK481 needed to come down from that plinth and be refurbished, which the local R.A.A.F. 25 Squadron at Pearce airfield helped to do. But what to do with the plinth as the Spitfire could no longer remain outside in the elements if it was to survive and needed to be put under cover for the future and the estate looked bare without it.
    They started to look around for alternative options, while PK481 was being refurbished. In Perth at the Midland Workshops was an engineering company that gave a quote, and also various details of picking up the MK22 and replicating it and delivering them both for a sum of cash in full before the replica was built, the museum did not go ahead with the order, this was in 1983
    Various feelers went out and it was found that the R.N.Z.A.F. Museum had received a MK XVI, TE288 Spitfire from a plinth in Canterbury, Christchurch and that aircraft was in the same condition as PK481 when it came to the corrosion issue. They took a mould of this aircraft to make a fibreglass Spitfire for the people who gave them the original plane, which was The Brevet Club (Canterbury) Inc, and were to mount it back on the plinth display on completion.
    A letter was received from a Mr R.A. Alexander (late R.N.Z.A.F. NZ39126) on the 12/6/1984 stating the fact of his visit to the what was called Aircraft Museum in Perth, W.A., and it had been addressed to Mr F.A. Purser, the curator at that time. The letter went on to say that further to the discussion held at that time in Perth about the fibreglass Spitfire that was built for The Brevet Club, that on his return to New Zealand had been told about the moulds for the fibreglass Spitfire were about to be destroyed. He approached the Club and talked with a Mr Ray Woodfield about how the R.A.A.F.A. in Perth were looking for a fibreglass replica to replace their metal Spitfire. It was stated that the matter would planned for the next committee meeting to reverse that decision and he sees no reason why a replica could not be made and supplied to the Bullcreek museum in Perth.
    A letter was sent from the museum in Perth explaining their needs and wants on the 19/6/1984. The wants were 1. Could you please indicate the cost to purchase the moulds from them, 2. Could you please indicate the approximate price of obtaining a fibreglass replica through the use of their moulds 3. Was the fibreglass replica made for them , reinforced for placing on a plinth. A return letter was received on the 4/8/1984, this letter explained the arrangement between The Brevet Club and with the R.N.Z.A.F., and explained as part of that agreement concerning the moulds, they were to be completely and absolutely destroyed using their words.They did not want replica Spitfires popping up all over peoples gardens, but they had written to the Air Staff in Wellington and enclosed photo copies of the R.A.A.F.A. letter and there it was explained the matter rested as the next move will have to come from them.
    A letter was sent on the 8/8/1984 to Air Vice Marshal P.J. Scully who had made a visit to the Memorial Estate in Perth on the 2/8/1984, asking if there could be any chance of transmitting the R.A.A.F.A. best intentions to the R.N.Z.A.F. on his imminent visit to New Zealand concerning the Spitfire moulds held by their Air Force.
    A letter from the Air Staff in Wellington explained that the original agreement precluded the production of anymore than one replica. The saving grace was that they had no intention in destroying the Spitfire moulds and would keep them for the future if more replicas needed to be built, but again that was up to The Brevet Club. This last bit of information went on to assist not only the R.A.A.F.A. but The Brevet Club as we will see. So we have another Catch 22 situation as both parties did not want to commit to building an extra replica due to a contract signed by both parties that said no more than one replica, and the museum in Perth, Western Australia was going to miss out.
    The approach by the Australian Air Vice Marshal P.J. Scully, A.O.C. Support Command, through his counterpart Air Commodore John Gordon, Air Officer, Commanding Support Group in New Zealand, advised that the requests would be sent to Air Vice Marshal D.M. Crooks, Chief of Air Staff, using the letters from the R.A.A.F.A. which were pleading their case, As all Catch 22 problems disappeared, it shows that the ANZAC friendship between both nations still endures.
    As you find in life if it was meant to be, it was meant to be as all obstacles were eventually overcome and in November 1984 an agreement was arranged with all parties in both countries whereby a replica of a Spitfire would be built and delivered to Australia, for the R.A.A.F. Association for an agreed price with the R.N.Z.A.F. Museum.
    This meant as usual another fund was immediately arranged, with various people contributing to it and you find that even as far away as Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, England, a Mr I. Galbraith sent monies for the fund.
    It would seem that the contact made by the R.A.A.F.A. gave birth from these moulds to something like four replicas (but do not quote on how many their was) instead of one replica as first envisaged, not only that the order they put in November of 1984, it was found that according to the letters, it was to be delivered in July 1985, you do the maths.
    An unfortunate incident occurred to The Brevet Club whereby even though the fibreglass replica Spitfire sat on a plinth an arsonist had set fire to the aircraft and totally destroyed it.
    On the 22/5/1985 a letter was received from a Mr Ronald G. Henry ( an executive member of The Brevet Club ) who had to raise funds to replace the destroyed replica. He explaining that it was a year since the R.A.A.F.A. had written a request to The Brevet Club and according to them that they were indeed thankful for that request, for if this had not been sent, it is more than possible the moulds would have been destroyed, as they had to do replace the replica with another all over again due to that vandalism.
    There is a letter from Frank I. Purser, curator of the R.A.A.F.A. museum with a request about their replica that follows.
    1. The Perspex cockpit canopy on the MK16 Spitfire will quickly be affected by the summer sun. We found with the MK22, PK481 that within one year its canopy discoloured, within two years it was crazed and within four years it had to be replaced by a fibreglass canopy which then lasted for the next twenty years.
    2. The canopies of the two aircraft are practically identical.
    3. We still possess the fibreglass canopy and I suggest that you ask Ray Allan to check whether he could exchange the Perspex one on the MK16 for the fibreglass ( repaired and strengthened if necessary, and sprayed white or silver) and put the new Perspex canopy on the MK22.
    This would save the association $1,000 dollars.
    A letter received from Flight Sergeant Ray D. Allan, BEM, from Blenheim, New Zealand, on the 24/5/1985 that went into detail about how the Spitfire replica was almost finished and the requested delivery date of the 21/7/1985 was depending on aircraft movements at that time to R.A.A.F. Pearce, W.A. He was looking forward to the visit to Western Australia with the replica aircraft to supervise the assembling of the replica that was later changed to the delivery date of 15/8/1985 and he was bringing his wife over as well.
    Export from New Zealand was arranged by the Friends of the R.N.Z.A.F. and importation to Australia by R.A.A.F.A.
    Another letter points out the and I quote the Project Personalities as follows.
    Flight Sergeant R.D. Allan- R.N.Z.A.F. Planewright.
    Sergeant G. Storey- R.N.Z.A.F. Master Metal Worker.
    Sergeant A Woodley- R.N.Z.A.F. Aircraft Technician.
    Mr J. Harrhy- Central Institute of Technology.
    Plus, A 'Wing' of volunteers, advisors and helpers from : Friends of the Museum, R.N.Z.A.F., New Zealand Aircraft Industry and New Zealand Commercial Firms.
    As the Spitfire replica had been successfully installed on its plinth, a letter was received from the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum, requesting a bank draft to be sent to the Friends of the R.N.Z.A.F. museum for the full amount and it was. The R.A.A.F.A. museum was and still is very happy with the replica product, but the sun still fades the paint work, but after another respray it looks as good as the day it was delivered, thanks to the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
    The original Supermarine Spitfire in question that the moulds came from, was LF Mk.XVIe, TE288 (c/n CBAF 11414)
    Taken on charge by the RAF on 1 June 1945, the aircraft served with 61 OTU, 501 R.Aux.A.F. Squadron (coded RAB-D), and 102 and 103 Fighter Refresher Schools, until placed into storage in 1951. Also used as a prop in "Reach for the Sky", it then spent time as a gate guard at R.A.F. Rufforth, Church Fenton and finally Dishforth.
    Put up for disposal by the R.A.F., the aircraft was successfully balloted for by the Canterbury Brevet Club, in Christchurch, New Zealand. The aircraft was shipped to New Zealand, arriving at Lyttelton on June 28, 1963. After being displayed at the Canterbury A&P show, the aircraft was stored at RNZAF Wigram. On March 3 1964 the aircraft was mounted outside the Canterbury Brevet Club premises in Christchurch, where it remained until 1984, apart from two maintenance periods. In June 1968, this included replacing fabric control surfaces with aluminium. Due to the elements damaging the aircraft and its need of a complete rebuild, an agreement was reached with the R.N.Z.A.F., for an exchange of a fibreglass replica, moulded from the original aircraft. The complete restoration of the original Spitfire happened at R.N.Z.A.F. Woodbourne over an 18-month period in 1984-85, the aircraft is now displayed at the R.N.Z.A.F. Museum in the colours of a 485 (N.Z) SQN aircraft coded OU-V circa May 1945.



    Unfortunately due to the copyright laws, the R.N.Z.A.F. pictures we have can only be seen on the forum rnzaf.proboards.com and under the Third Spitfire thread
  • DADE
    Rank 2 Registered User
    • Sep 2018
    • 66

    #2

    The ladies of the retirement villages were only supposed to knit 1,000 poppies At 12,000 poppies they were asked to stop. The photos were taken on the 11th of November 2018, it was 100 years since the War to end all Wars and we know that has not happened unfortunately. Lest we forget.
    Last edited by DADE; 9th December 2018, 03:13.

    Comment

    • DADE
      Rank 2 Registered User
      • Sep 2018
      • 66

      #3

      Comment

      • DADE
        Rank 2 Registered User
        • Sep 2018
        • 66

        #4

        Comment

        • DADE
          Rank 2 Registered User
          • Sep 2018
          • 66

          #5

          Comment

          • DADE
            Rank 2 Registered User
            • Sep 2018
            • 66

            #6

            Comment

            • trumper
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Aug 2003
              • 6561

              #7
              Thank you again for the continuing story.Who would have thought that replicas would cause so many legal problems themselves. Thankfully good negotiating skills and commonsense came to the fore.

              Comment

              • Ossington
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jun 2015
                • 117

                #8
                "They did not want replica Spitfires popping up all over peoples gardens," A quote from the first post.
                What's wrong with more replica Spitfires? How many more copies in existence would degrade their memory to be the equivalent of mere garden gnomes? If the price would come down to say, 500, I'd buy one, so would lots of museums.

                Comment

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