History of the Kent Spitfire

Born in the war


Built at the Supermarine works at Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands late in the war, TA805 started its career with the RAF at No 39 MU in December 1944.


Wearing the code letters HF it joined 183 (Gold Coast) Squadron at Chilbolton on the 17th June 1945. Commanded by Sqd/Ldr J R Cullen DFC, the squadron converted from the Typhoon IB to the Spitfire IX. The squadron Operational Record Book records the conversion and movements.

On the move


The pilots and their kit were flown by Dakota to Chilbolton where we join Fighter Command No.11 Group and convert to Spitfire IX’s.20.6.45 – Four new aircraft ferried in by ATA.


A period of conversion then began for two months.

Combat Practice


This morning the CO, Sqd/Ldr Storrar, led the squadron in formation down to Hawkinge where we will stay for a month for practice gunnery and bombing’.

Commemoration Role


The squadron then returned to Bentwaters. 234 Squadron were part of a wing of 24 Squadrons led by legendary Battle of Britain ace and later famous test pilot W/Cdr Roland P Beamont DSO and Bar DFC.


This wing flew the 1945 Battle of Britain commemoration flight over London in September and it is possible that TA805 was one of the aircraft taking part.

In South Africa


TA805 was then struck off charge and shipped to the South African Air Force in early 1949.


The Spitfire IX opposite – “5553” wears the colours of the South African Air Force.


TA805 once wore a similar scheme.