Burbage Spitfire

The Burbage served with RAF 74 Squadron during World War 2, paid for by generous donations made by the Hinckley & District Hosiery Manufactures Association.

burbage spitfire
The Burbage Spitfire

The Burbage Spitfire MkVb X4668 Code 'ZP-E' was built at Eastleigh in Hampshire Vickers Armstrong (Supermarine) Ltd. and fitted with the Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 series engine The weapons consisted of two Hispano cannons and four Browning .303 machine guns which were fitted in the wings.

7th May 1941 The first time the Burbage Spitfire flew.

18th May 1941 The Burbage Spitfire Mk Vb went in to service with the famous 74 (Tiger) Squadron that 'Sailor' Malan had once been Squadron-Leader of.

The Spitfire had a busy life, it would be used as many times as five times a day on operations over occupied France. Other uses of the Spitfire would include flying in convoy, base patrols and escorting Bristol Blenheims and Short Stirling Bombers, discovering airworthiness through various tests, efficiency of guns as well as the effects of weather conditions.

shot down burbage spitfire
The shot down Burbage Spitfire

27th June 1941 23 year old Squadron Leader John Colin Mungo-Park relieved the pilot of the Spitfire for an offensive sweep over France. He took off from RAF Gravesend with eleven other Spitfires, refuelled at Biggin Hill before the squadron took off at 8:50pm, they headed across the English Channel.

During a sweep of the coastline over De Panne in Belgium (just north of Dunkirk) he was attacked by two formations of Messerschmitt BF109's from Luftwaffe 1/JG26 and JG2 led two very experienced pilots, Major Rolf Pingel and Major Willhelm Balthasar.

The crash was witnessed by 16 year old schoolboy Joshua Recour, who was playing tennis with his friends when they saw the Spitfire coming down followed by a trail of smoke. The Spitfire hit the ground and Joshua and his friends got on their bicycles and headed towards the crash site, when they arrived they noticed the dead pilot lying beside the aircraft wreckage.

9th July 1941 Squadron Leader John Colin Mungo-Park was posthumously awarded a bar to his already awarded DFC medal. At a later date he would be buried at Adinkerke in Belgium.


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