AIRCRAFT AT CRANFIELD . . . BACK THEN 4 (SPITFIRE PM 631 Mk XIX).

By Mike Thompson.Engines.


PM 631, a PR Mk XIX, is the only Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight not to have seen wartime service, having been delivered to the Royal Air Force in November 1945. Her early post war flying was with 203 Advanced Flying School. She then joined the Met Flight in 1950 and flew on the THUM (Temp & Humidity) Flight out of Woodvale (this will bring back memories of Halton Summer Camp). PM 631, along with two Spitfires, PS 853 and PS 915, and one Hurricane LF 363, were the founder members of the BBMF in 1957.

The first Major Servicing carried out by the Flight Department of the College of Aeronautics for the MOD had to be performed at RAF Conningsby under the watchful eye of the BBMF engineers, after all, this was the first time that maintenance of the Historic Flight's aircraft had been contracted out to a civilian organisation so there was understandably a little apprehension, (on both sides I guess), that the job would be done correctly and to the appropriate standard. However things must have gone reasonably satisfactorily as we then went on to carry out two Hurricane and two more Spitfire Majors over the next five years. These subsequent Major inspections were carried out at our own maintenance facility at Cranfield. As seen in this photo we really got down to the nitty gritty during the Major servicing!!


On completion of each Major servicing the aircraft were painted in a colour scheme representing a particular historic squadron or event.


This airborne photo shows PM 631 in the livery of 91 Sqn with Invasion Stripes.


This photo outside our hangar shows her representing a Mk XIV of No 11 Squadron when serving with South East Asia Command in 1945.