The Flight

The BBMF came to fruition in 1957 at RAF Biggin Hill in Kent mainly at the instigation of Group Captain Peter Thompson and was known as the “RAF Historic Aircraft Flight”.

The flight as it was then initially consisted of three PR Mk XIX Spitfires and the RAF’s last airworthy Hurricane, LF363.  After being renamed the “Battle of Britain Memorial Flight” in 1969 the flight continued to grow into the organisation that we are familiar with today.

The Flight maintains twelve historic and irreplaceable aircraft in airworthy condition:

  • AVRO LAncaster BI PA474 - 'City of Lincoln'
  • C-47 Douglas Dakota - 'Kwicherbichen'
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIa P7350
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb AB910
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX MK356
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIe TE311
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX PS915
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX PM631
  • Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc LF363
  • Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc PZ865
  • de Havilland Chipmunk WG486
  • de Havilland Chipmunk WK518

The aircraft of the The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Hover over each image for a description of each aircraft and its current paint scheme.

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AVRO Lancaster PA474 currently wears two schemes alongside her 'City of Lincoln' livery.

The left hand side of the aircraft represents the 460 (RAAF) Squadron Lancaster W5005 )AR-L 'Leader' whilst the right hand side features the 50 Squadron codes VN-T to represent the Lancaster flown by F/O Douglas Millikin, the grandfather of OC BBMF Squadron Leader Andrew Millikin.

The aircraft wears the 'City of Lincoln' crest to represent her close affiliation with the county of Lincolnshire and its long history with Bomber Command.

AVRO Lancaster BI PA474

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Spitfire LF Mk IIa P7350 has the distinction of being the only airworthy spitfire to have fought in the Battle of Britain. 

The aircraft wears the colours of Spitfire Ia, K9998 of 92 Squadron, flown by Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Wellum in which he shot down his first Heinkel He111.

Sadly Flt Lt Geoffrey Wellum recently passed away. Lest We Forget.

 

Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk IIa 7350

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Built in 1944 at Castle Bromwich, Spitfire MK356 currently wears a desert scheme to recognise the war effort in North Africa.

The aircraft markings are those of Spitfire Mk IX EN152/QJ-3 of 92 Squadron flown by Flight Lieutenant Neville Duke. The paint scheme and overhaul were carried out by The Spitfire Company at Biggin Hill in late 2017.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX MK356

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Spitfire PS915 never saw war duties joining 541 Squadron at Benson in June 1945 before moving to the PR Development Unit to take part in tests of new reconnaissance cameras. The aircraft joined the BBMF in 1957 as one of the founder aircraft of the flight. However, the aircraft was retired some years later and placed on gate guardian duties. In 1987 the aircraft was returned to the flight and given a modified Griffon engine from an AVRO Shackleton after her refurbishment by British Aerospace at Warton.

Spitfire PS915 currently wears the scheme of Spitfire PS888 of 81 Squadron based in Singapore during the Malaya Campaign. The aircraft flew its last operational sortie on April 1, 1954  carrying out photo reconnaissance and upon landing the aircraft’s ground crew painted the inscription "The Last!" on the left engine cowling.

 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX Ps915

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Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc LF363 first flew in 1944 and is believed to be the last Hurricane to enter service. 

Hurricane LF363's port side is marked up as GN-F, representing Wing Commander Tom Neil and his 249 squadron Hurricane whilst the starboard side is marked up with SD-A, representing one of the 501 squadron Hurricanes flown by Paul Farnes.

Sadly Wing Commander Tom Neil passed away in August 2018. Lest We Forget.

Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC LF363

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De Havilland Chipmunk WG 486 joined The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in 1995. Used primarily as a training aircraft this particular Chipmunk is painted in the scheme of the Bristol University Air Squadron based at Filton.

De Havilland Chipmunk WG486

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The C47 Douglas Dakota ZA947 represents Dakota FZ692 of 233 Squadron from the D-Day period in 1944. This aircraft, bore the name ‘Kwicherbichen’ given to her by her crews and was involved in Para-dropping operations on the eve of D-Day.

The aircraft was later involved in re-supply and casualty evacuation missions into and out of forward airfields in the combat areas. 

The primary role of the Dakota in BBMF service is as a training aircraft for the multi-engine aircrew although it often appears at displays in it's own right.

C47 Douglas Dakota ZA947

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Spitfire Mk Vb AB910 was built at Castle Bromwich in 1941 and arrived on the BBMF registry in 1965. The aircraft currently wears the D-Day scheme of a 64 Squadron Spitfire flown by Flight Lieutenant Tony Cooper.

Another notable claim to fame for AB910 is the now infamous story of the 'WAAF on the tail'. LACW Margaret Horton was based at RAF Hibaldstow in Lincolnshire and one of her duties was to sit on the tail of the spitfire as it taxied out to take off. Not realising that Margaret was still on the tail of the spitfire the pilot turned into the wind and proceeded to take off with her on the back of the aircraft. Realising the aircraft was not handling properly the pilot landed safely back on the ground with a rather dishevelled WAAF on his tail. 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb Ab910

Spitfire Mk XVIe TE311 in her new livery.

Supermarine Spitfire TE311 was restored to flight in 2012, having undergone a painstaking re-build to flying condition by BBMF engineers led by Paul Blackah MBE, which began in October 2001.

The aircraft currently wears a scheme representing the aircraft of Commanding Officer 131 (Polish) Wing, Group Captain Aleksander Gabszewicz VM KW DSO DFC

Gabszewicz aircraft features a boxing bulldog. Much has been made of the 'boxing bull dog' with some sources saying it was created by one of Gabszewicz's Ground Crew, Sgt Wojciech Milewski who was also a boxer.  However, there are also sources which claim that the nose art was part of a series of insignias designed by Disney as part of the US war effort.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIe TE311

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Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX PM631 is currently wearing the scheme of a 541 Squadron Spitfire which performed photographic reconnaissance missions over the Europe from early 1944 to the end of the war.

The aircraft is currently undergoing a rebuild and expected to fly again some time in 2019.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX PM631

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Hawker Hurricane PZ865 was the last of 14,533 Hurricane to be built at the Hawker factory in Langley. 

Hurricane PZ865  wears the squadron codes and markings 'EG-S', of 34 Squadron from the South East Asia Command during 1944. This was the personal aircraft of Canadian pilot, Flight Lieutenant Jimmy Whalen DFC.

Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC PZ865

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De Havilland Chipmunk WK518 joined the BBMF in April 1983. Used primarily for training pilots on The Flight. 

De Havilland Chipmunk WK518