Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
Sqn/Ldr Maurice Stephens
No. 249 Squadron RAF
Takali, Malta, October 1942
Click to enlarge image
This Spitfire Mk. Vb, EP706 was delivered to the RAF in July 1942 from the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. It was most probably among the aircraft flown to Malta off HMS Furious in August that year.
On Malta, the aircraft saw service with No. 249 Squadron. Due to scarcity of serviceable aircraft, pilot rotation was usual on Malta, and EP706 was reportedly flown both by F/O George “Buzz” Beurling, the highest-scoring Malta ace, and Sqn/Ldr Maurice Stephens, commanding officer of No. 249 Squadron. It is probable that both these aces scored victories while flying this aircraft.
The paint scheme was standard Dark Earth/Mid Stone over Azure Blue and red spinner.
On 3 March 1942, EP706 suffered the engine failure in the air and was force-landed 23 miles north of Valetta. The damage sustained made salvaging of the aircraft impractical with the means then available on the island, and after stripping off it was abandoned.