BBMF – 1957 – to date.
Aircraft used by the flight.
P7350 – Spitfire IIa – currant.
AB910 – Spifire V – currant
LF363 – Hurricane IIc – currant
MK356 – Spitfire LF IXe – Currant
PA474 – Lancaster B1 – currant
PM631 – Spitfire PR.XIX – currant
PS853 – Spitfire PR.XIX – Sold to Rolls – Royce
PS915 – Spitfire PR.XIX – currant
PZ865 – Hurricane IIc – currant
SL674 – Spitfire XVI – WFU
TB382 – Spitfire XVI – Fuselage too I.O.W swapped for a new wing for TE311
TE311 – Spitfire XVI – currant
TE330 – Spitfire XVI – WFU
TE476 – Spitfire XVI – WFU
VP981 – Devon C2 – Sold
WG486 – Chipmunk T10 – currant
WK518 – Chipmunk T10 – currant
ZA947 – Dakota III – currant
The BBMF started arriving at RAF Coningsby the 1st March 1976 from RAF Coltishall,This being the flights sixth home since being formed at Biggin Hill on the 11th September 1957 with three ex THUM Flight Spitfire PR XIX’s PM631,PS853 and PS915 and Hurricane IIc LF363 and was in those early days named Historic Aircraft Flight.
The flight replaced 2 of it’s three PR XIX Spitfires with three Spitfire F.XVI’s TE330,TE476 and SL574, This was due to spares being more available for this mark of Spitfire.The mark XIX PS915 was retired in August 1957 and was used as a Gate Guard at RAF West Walling and PS853 was used to guard the gate at RAF West Raynham.
PS915 “THE LAST” 81Sqn marks Spitfire PR XIX
PS853 C Spitfire PR XIX (G-RRGN) it had to be sold to fund the Rebuild of LF363 Hurricane IIc that had a crash landing accident at RAF Wittering and badly damaged by the resulting fire.This Spitfire flew again with the BBMF in it’s 50th anniversary season and is owned by Rolls-Royce..
Over the years the flight has had it’s up’s and downs with the Spitfire XVI’s proving to be problomatic they were retired, TE330 was presented to the USAF Academy in exchange for a P-51D Mustang , The second TE476 went to the gate at RAF West Raynham and the third SL574 was sent to guard the gate at RAF Bentley Priory.This left the flight at this time with just two aircraft Spitfire PR XIX PM631 and the Hurricane IIc LF363.
In April 1964 Spitfire PR XIX PS853 rejoined after being returned to air, followed by Spitfire Vc AB910 in 1965 which was donated by Vickers.
Following the end of filming the movie “Battle of Britain ” in 1968 Spitfire IIa P7350 was donated to the flight. On the 1st of March 1969 the flight was renamed as Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, With the new name new additions to the fleet arrived, Hurricane IIc PZ865 the last Hurricane built was donated by Hawker Siddeley in March 1972 followed by Lancaster BI PA474 being added in November 1973 after being flown by 44Sqn at Waddington with the aircraft being coded KM-B.
PA474 arriving at Coningsby after overhaul and repainted as “Phantom of the Rhur”.
Following the move in 1976 to Coningsby the flight established themselves for life in South Lincs. The unit aquired DH104 Devon C2 VP981 in the April of 1985 as a support aircraft to operate when aircraft were operated away from Coningsby. Spitfire PR XIX PS915 rejoined the fold in April 1987 after being returned to airworthy status by Bae at Warton.
PS915 “THE LAST” in the marks of 81Sqn’s (PS888)
A major blow to the flight was the crash landing of Hurricane IIc LF363 at Wittering in September 1991 while en route to the Channel Islands.The Hurricane was severely damaged by the pursuing fire,Spitfire PR XIX PS853 was sold to Rolls- Royce to raise the funds needed to rebuild the Hurricane IIc.
The BBMF use two Chipmunk T10’s for training pilots on the art of flying taildraggers before they get there hands on a Hurricane or Spitfire,The present Chipmunks WK518 arrived in April 1983 and WG486 from service with RAF Germany in 1995 this replaced WP855 .The loan of a Havard from Duxford is also used to train pilots just as it did in World War 2.
WK518 / K / BBMF Badge on the Tail/ Chipmunk T10.
During 1993 a Douglas Dakota III was transferd from Boscombe Down to replace the DH104 Devon which was later sold.The Dakota was sent to Air Atlaniques Base at Coventry and had it’s “Raspberry Ripple” paint scheme replaced with WW II marks and coded YS-DM of 248Sqn. The Dakota is used to train the Lancaster pilots and is also used to display at many airshows, The Dakota is also used for para dropping and support of the flight, the codes were changed to YS-H then ‘AI ‘ in 267Sqn marks. The currant Sqn marks on the Dakota are ‘UK’ of 233Sqn.
ZA947/ AI / 267Sqn marks
ZA947 / UK / 233Sqn marks.
1997 saw the arrival of another Spitfire this time a clipped winged LF IXe MK356 a WW2 veteran with a good pedigree.This wore it’s 441(Hornet)Sqn RCAF marks that it wore when based at RAF Digby in April 1944. This was fitted with the clipped wings from Spitfire SL674.
In October 2007 MK356 was sent for Overhaul by ARC at Duxford,The clipped wings were returned to standard shape during this time and the Spitfire was painted to represent “MJ250” in the Silver scheme of 601(County of London) when it operated in Italy in 1943 coded UF-Q.
October 2001 marked the arrival of two Spitfire XIV’s TE311 and TB382 for reduction to spare parts, Only TB382 became spare parts while TE311 has spent the last ten years being rebuilt and is due to return to the air this year,This is the same mark of Spitfire that flew in the early days of the BBMF at Biggen Hill in 1957.
TE311 / 4D-V / 74Sqn marks / Spitfire LF XIVe taken August 2012.
P7350 & LF363 taken 16th April 2012 during display practice.