The Enniskillen Spitfire

The Enniskillen Spitfire P7832 RN-S was one of the few to survive the Second World War, having served in many crucial campaigns between 1941 and 1944.

The Enniskillen Spitfire had the serial number P7832 RN-S. The Mark IIa Supermarine Spitfire flew with several RAF Squadrons between 1941 and 1944. On 1st January 1941, the fighter plane entered service with RAF 6 Maintenance Unit at RAF Brize Norton.

On 12th January 1941. Flying Officer WC Potter made a forced landing at Farnborough, Hampshire while en route from RAF Brize Norton to RAF Tangmere, West Sussex. He overshot the runway causing Category C damage to the Spitfire. Ground crew at No. 1 Civilian Repair Unit at Cowley on 20th January 1941. By 7th April 1941, the plane was back in the air with RAF 12 Maintenance Unit at RAF Kirkbride, Cumbria.

From Kirkbride, The Enniskillen Spitfire transferred to RAF 72 Squadron at RAF Acklington, Northumberland. On 23rd April 1941, it began flying convoy patrols. On 9th July 1941, as RAF 72 Squadron and RAF 74 Squadrons exchanged bases, Spitfire P7832 transferred to the latter Squadron.

It took part in attacks on German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in December 1941. In June 1942, Enniskillen flew 29 operational missions including in aerial battles over Dieppe. Still flying in 1944, the fighter plane also patrolled the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and during the following battle.

The plane was one of many fighters funded by people of Northern Ireland who contributed to the Belfast Telegraph Spitfire Fund.

Battle of Britain Spitfire

A Battle of Britain flypast at the Portrush Airwaves Airshow allowed crowds to watch a World War Two era Supermarine Spitfire in graceful flight. Photo taken on 4th September 2016.

Enniskillen after the War

After 1944, the Enniskillen Spitfire took on support duties. In 1947, Group Captain Alan Wheeler bought the plane and placed it on the civil air register using it for racing. After a crash in the 1953 King’s Cup Air Race, refurbishment took place at the Vickers Armstrong plant. After repair, Jeffrey Quill took ownership of the Spitfire donating it to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in 1965.

In 1994, the Royal Air Force gave the oldest surviving Spitfire honorary Ulster citizenship. The plane took the name Enniskillen. Workers at Shorts in Belfast, Co. Antrim repainted the craft in its original Belfast Telegraph Spitfire Fund colours. It takes part in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flights.