KITS 05/2023

Spitfire Vb Trop, AB264, F/O Robert W. McNair, No. 249 Squadron, RAF Ta Kali, Malta, March 1942

The first three Spitfire Mk.Vb deliveries to Malta

were conducted under the code names Spotter

and Picket/Picket II. Spitfires that arrived

in Malta during the Operations Spotter and

Picket were camouflaged in Dark Earth and

Middle Stone on the upper surfaces, the lower

surfaces were painted in Sky or Azure Blue. The

lower surfaces color depended either on the

manufacturing factory Supermarine, which used

Sky, or Aircraft Servicing Units (ASU) which used

Azure Blue color. Upon arrival in Malta the Middle

Stone camouflage pattern was overpainted in

Extra Dark Sea Grey. Spitfire AB263 was ferried

to Malta by P/O Peter Nash on March 7, 1942,

during the Operation Spotter. On March 20, 1942,

a Canadian pilot, Robert Wendell “Buck” McNair

shot down a Ju 88, another Ju 88 probably and

damaged another one. On March 25, Nash shot

down a Ju 87 and in November Sgt. Thomas

Kebbell shot down a Ju 88. Spitfire AB264 was

one of 16 aircraft in of the first Spitfires delivery

to Malta which survived the campaign and

had a long service life. It served with No. 249,

No. 185, No. 1435 and No. 229 Squadron. In May 1943

it was overhauled and handed over to the USAAF.

It finished its career in the Middle East.

Spitfire Vb Trop, EP122, Sgt. Claude Weaver III, No. 185 Squadron, RAF Ta Kali, Malta, July 1942

Spitfire EP122 arrived in Malta from HMS Eagle on

July 15, 1942, during the Operation Pinpoint and

was immediately assigned to the combat duty

with the No. 185 Squadron. It became a regular

mount of Sgt. Claude Weaver III who scored five

kills (4x Bf 109 and 1x Ju 88). He became the

youngest Allied ace during the conflict. Later

EP122 became the personal mount of the Wing

Commander J. M. Thompson who had the aircraft

marked with his name initials JM-T. In October


INFO Eduard

Thompson at its controls shot down a Bf 109

and Ju 88 and damaged another two Bf 109s. In

the beginning of 1943 EP122 was ordered to the

No. 1435 Squadron where it flew carrying the code

letter L. On March 27, 1943, it made an emergency

landing at the edge of the cliff in Dwejra Bay on

Gozo island. EP122 was afterward dumped over

the edge of the cliff into the bay. EP122 wreck,

lying in 10 m depth, was discovered by scuba

divers from the RAF Sub Aqua Club on the Gozo

shore in 1969. In the middle of 1970, the wreck

was recovered. The initial restoration work was

done by Steve Vizard in Hampshire followed by

the Airfram Assemblies in Sandown, Surrey. The

airframe was transferred to Biggin Hill Heritage

Hangar for the completion. The first flight from

Biggin Hill took place in May 2016. The naval

camouflage and markings are authentic however

the typical tropical air filter is missing.

May 2023