"41-401"

The last Danish Spitfire

401 is not the one that she pretends to be! Actually she has 3 "identities".

She was completed in May 1943 as a F Mk. VC and received the serial number MA298. Being a new Mk. V at that time, she was considered to be obsolete and was quickly sent to Rolls-Royce in Hucknall and was modified to "latest standard"- a LF Mk. IXC (she probably kept her "C"-wings) with a Merlin 66 engine.

In July 1943 the modification was completed and MA298 was handed over to RAF's 29th Maintenance Unit.

On the 14th of the same month she was transferred to RAF Squadron 234, which used the squadron code "AZ". Here she served as a front line fighter until the 17th March 1944, when she was handed over to Fighter Leaders' School at RAF Milfield. Here she served as a training aircraft until June 1945, at which time she was transferred to 29th Maintenance Unit.

In March 1946 MA298 was deleted from the list of active combat aircraft and was sent to Vickers-Armstrong at South Marston.

In September 1947 she began her new life. MA298 was sent to 6th Maintenance Unit where she was received a new serial number, 6462M (Maintenance Airframe).

In November 1947 at 47th Maintenance Unit she was dismantled and sent to Hull for shipping to Denmark. She arrived in Copenhagen in July 1948.

At the arrival at Air Base Værløse she was sent to the Air Force's technicians school at Værløse, FMSm4. Here she was used as a "training aircraft" for mechanics. Later she was written off - probably when Spitfires were struck off charge from the Royal Danish Air Force.

Some time during the 1950's she received the identity of another Danish Spitfire and was rebuilt to HF Mk IXE-standard and was fitted with a Merlin 70 engine and broad chord rudder instead of the Merlin 66 engine and the rounded rudder of an early Mk. IX., which she most likely was born with.

Now she was F Mk IXC, serial number NH417 - Air Force number 41-401. After this she was stored at Tøjhuset (the Army's museum) until she was put on display for the first time at The Technical Museum. In the years to follow she has been stored and put on display several times. In 1989 she was put on display at the Danish Aircraft Museum in Billund until it unfortunately was terminated. Presently she can be seen at Dansk Veteranflysamling (Danish Vintage Aircraft) at Stauning Airport.

419 og 422 on patrol

"401" in Stauning - Click for larger picture

MA298/NH417

MA298/NH417 "on grass" at the museum in Stauning - Click for larger picture