BBMF Spitfire MK356

BBMF Spitfire Mk LF IXe MK356 is 75 years old

Header image: BBMF Spitfire MK356 in its current desert camouflage scheme. (Photo: Rich Cooper) 

Spitfire MK356 was part of a batch of Mk IX Spitfires built at the Castle Bromwich factory in early 1944. It was fitted with full-span wingtips and a Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 engine with a two-speed, two-stage supercharger optimised for low altitudes, making it a L.F. (Low Flying) Mk IXe. On 4th February 1944 MK356 was delivered to the RAF, being flown from Castle Bromwich to No 9 Maintenance Unit at Cosford, where it was fitted with operational equipment. This remarkable and beautiful Spitfire has, therefore, just passed its 75th birthday.

Canadian ‘Dambuster’ gunner, Fred Sutherland

Fred Sutherland, Canadian Dambuster gunner

Header image: Left: Fred Sutherland in wartime RCAF uniform.
Right: Fred in 2018 with his portrait, painted by Dan Llywelyn Hall.

Many readers will have seen the sad news that Canadian ‘Dambuster’ gunner, Fred Sutherland, passed away on Monday 21st January at the age of 95.

Long-standing members of the RAF Memorial Flight Club may remember that Fred generously provided us with his story for our 2013 Yearbook, which commemorated the 70th anniversary of the famous ‘Dams Raid’. He was the front gunner in Lancaster ED912 ‘AJ-N’, the aircraft captained by Australian Pilot Officer Les Knight that broke the Eder Dam with its Upkeep ‘bouncing bomb’ on the night of 16/17th May 1943. It was one of only 11, from the 19 despatched, which returned safely to England.

Lancaster Bombers

75 years ago – Bomber Command raid on Leipzig

Header image: Lancasters outbound at dusk.

75 years ago this month, on the night of 19/20th February 1944, RAF Bomber Command launched a major bombing raid against the German city of Leipzig at the beginning of the so-called ‘Big Week’. It was to prove to be the most costly, in terms of losses for the RAF, of the war so far. Leipzig was attacked in an attempt to destroy four Messerschmitt aircraft factories where Bf109 fighters were built, and a ball-bearing plant located in the city.

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