Morane D-3801 J-143
P7350 is the oldest airworthy Spitfire in the world and the only Spitfire still flying today to have actually fought in the Battle of Britain. She is believed to be the 14thaircraft of 11,989 built at the Castle Bromwich ‘shadow’ factory, Birmingham.
Entering service in the August of 1940, she flew in the Battle of Britain serving with 266 Squadron and 603 (City of Edinburgh ) AuxAF Squadron. Whilst serving with the latter at Hornchurch, on or about 25 October 1940, she was involved in a combat with ME Bf 109s and forced to crash land. She was quickly repaired at No 1 Civilian Repair Unit, Cowley, and flew again on 15 November, only 3 weeks after the crash landing; repaired bullet holes can still be seen on her port wing.
She subsequently served operationally with 616 and 64 Squadrons. After April 1942 she was relegated to support duties serving with the Central Gunnery School and 57 OTU and ending her operational career with 19 MU. During the War, ‘P7′ suffered three ‘Cat B’ flying accidents (at Tangmere, Hornchurch and Sutton Bridge). Having survived the War, ‘P7’ was then sold for scrap to Messrs. John Dale Ltd in 1948 for the princely sum of £25; fortunately the historical significance of the aircraft was recognised and she was generously presented to the RAF museum at Colerne.
Restored to flying condition in 1968 for the epic film ‘The Battle of Britain’, she was presented to the BBMF after filming was complete