Spitfire LF Mk. IXe, serial no. NH550, AH-Z “Kay”
No. 332 Skvadron, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Bardufoss 1951
No. 332 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF was formed in January 1942 at Catterick and flew Spitfires from the beginning of their operational career. After the invasion of the continent, it formed part of a 2-squadron No. 132 Norwegian Wing with the 2nd Tactical Air Force. Armed reconnaissance sweeps were flown as the front line advanced into the Netherlands, and from captured bases there, the squadron carried out attacks on enemy transport and communications targets.
In April 1945, as the Allied victory in Europe and therefore also liberation of Norway grew nearer, No.332 was transferred to Scotland, and in May flew to Norway after the German surrender. On 21 September 1945, the squadron was formally disbanded as an RAF unit, and passed to the control of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
In honour of the achievements of the Norwegian RAF Squadrons during WWII, the Royal Norwegian Air Force has maintained the RAF squadron designations (thus Norway still has the fighter squadrons No. 331 and 332, now flying the F-16 instead of the Spitfire Mk. IX. Today the No. 332 squadron is based at Bod?.
This aircraft, NH550, joined the squadron during its Scotland stopover, on 10 May 1945. It received markings AH-S and carried them throughout 1945. In 1946 it went to storage. It returned to service in July 1948, still within the same unit which now was located in Bardufoss, but with the new markings A-BO. In 195, the unit codes were changed again to AH and NH550 marked AH-Z.
NH550 ended its active service on 29 May 1952, having accumulated 465 flying hours.
Upon arrival in Norway, the Spitfires were finished in the standard RAF Day Fighter camouflage and markings. However, as the new codes were applied to the Spitfires during 1946-1948, the aircraft were completely repainted. Although the original RAF camouflage pattern was used as a guide (with variations), the colours were locally manufactured and were only approximation of British standard hues. The green, for example, was supposedly more brownish than Dark Green, while little is known about the colour replacing Ocean Grey.
The Norwegian roundels were 900mm on the upper wings and 600mm on the fuselage. The codes were 500mm high.