Spitfire PR Mk. XIX – Cold War Warrior

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Spitfire PR Mk. XIX

Cold War Warrior

Germany Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. 19 PM660 of No. 2 Squadron Wünsdorf, Germany Click on the image to enlarge Only comparatively few PRU aircraft ...
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Germany

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. 19
PM660 of No. 2 Squadron
Wünsdorf, Germany
Click on the image to enlarge

Only comparatively few PRU aircraft followed with the RAF to mainland Europe and British occupational forces in Germany (BAFO). This Spitfire Mk. 19 served with No. 2 Squadron which converted to this type from PR Mk. XI in January 1946. The “Shiny Two” was to become the sole RAF reconnaissance squadron in Germany during this initial phase of the Cold War. Initially based in Celle with a a detachment at Berlin Gatow, the unit found its permanent base in Wünsdorf starting with April 1947. Details of their operations have not been revealed until this day, so it is hard to say if they undertook any missions over Soviet-occupied territory.

It operated Spitfires until December 1950, when conversion followed to the Gloster Meteor FR Mk. 9.

PM660 carries an overall finish of PRU Blue with C-type roundels and small fin flash. Code letters in red, serial number in white, standard underwing serials in black.

The Far East

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. 19
PS852 of No. 81 Squadron
Kai Tak, Hong Kong, January 1951
Click on the image to enlarge

Just before Christmas 1950, a detachment of two Spitfires PR Mk. 19 of No. 81 Squadron based in Tengah, Singapore, was posted to RAF Kai Tak in Hong Kong to undertake clandestine reconnaissance missions over communist China. PS852 was flown in this role by F/Lt Edward ‘Ted’ Powles throughout 1951, operating mainly over Chinese costal areas, sometimes as far as the island of Hainan, at the extreme range of the Mk. 19.

PS852 initially carried a camouflage scheme of Medium Sea Grey upper surfaces over PRU Blue, with black anti-glare panels (indicative of the glossy Medium Sea Grey finish).  D-type roundels on fuselage and wings, with white serials on lower wing surfaces.

During its stay at Kai Tak, the aircraft was repainted in Aluminium finish (not natural metal) with modified outline of the anti-glare panel as shown. At that time it also received a red-white spinner.

The other aircraft from the same detachment, PS854, was piloted by F/Sgt Padden. When their assignment ended in December 1951, both Spitfires were left at Kai Tak and became part of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force.

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. 19
PS890 of No. 81 Squadron
Tengah, Singapore
Click on the image to enlarge

No. 81 Squadron reformed on 1 September 1946 at Seletar in Singapore, through mere re-numbering of No. 684 Squadron. It was now operating in the photo-reconnaissance role, equipped with Mosquitoes and Spitfires. The unit was heavily involved in Operation Firedog, the air support of the Malayan Emergency, from 1947.

PS890 displays a variation of the high-altitude camouflage with Medium Sea Grey over PRU Blue with high demarcation line between the two colours. Pale blue spinner, “D” type roundels and standard underwing serials. This aircraft served with No. 81 Squadron until January 1951, when it was sold to Royal Thai Air Force.

No. 81 squadron held the distinction of carrying out the last operational flights of both the Spitfire (1 April 1954) and the Mosquito (15 December 1955), exchanging their trusty propeller mounts for Gloster Meteors PR Mk 10.

Note to modellers

Decals for the markings presented here, plus additional aircraft, are available in 1/72 scales from Xtradecal, and can be purchased directly via manufacturer’s website:
http://www.hannants.co.uk/search/?FULL=X72105

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6 Comments | Add New

By Bob North  |  2010-10-18 at 03:37  |  permalink

Just a few comments on PS890. It spent its last years at RAF Seletar, not RAF Tengah. It was one of 3 Spitfire XIXs we had on the Squadron in April, 1953 when PS888 made the last operational flight of an RAF Spitfire. I had the pleasure of being an engine mechanic and servicing them. PS890 is still flying and is owned by a Frenchman – it is in the guise of a French Air force Squadron. You can see old and new photos of PS890 on my website “81squadron.com”. I hope you find these comments useful. Bob North.

By Don Robson  |  2013-03-03 at 11:24  |  permalink

This is a query for Mr North.
Having just bought the new Airfix Spitfire PR XIX in 1/48 scale I obtained the decals mentioned above. I am modelling PS890 and the instructions say that I should use the large ‘D’ type roundels for the upper wings. They seem too large compared to the roundels supplied in the Airfix kit for PS888. The roundels suggested for PS934 seem to be similar in size to the Airfix decals.
So which are right? any suggestions would be appreciated greatly.

By Mike McDougall  |  2013-07-04 at 17:11  |  permalink

The picture of RM 643Z above shows the aircraft as a type 390: the later pressurized version.

I think, from the black and white photograph at

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/36212-invasion-stripes/

the aircraft, was a type 389, and un-pressurised lacking the cabin blower intake and of course having the entry door.

By glen d miles  |  2014-07-20 at 10:43  |  permalink

Ref. spitfire PM 660.
I was a leading aircraftsman and served on the Berlin airlift until it ceased operating in1949. I was then transfered to RAF Wunsdorf and serviced the spitfires based there .

I have a photo, black/white, of Spitfire PM 660 that I serviced (amongst many others). I would see the aircraft out (explosive start up!) and check all ok upon return. Very Busy!

Regards Glen

By Justin Bedford  |  2016-01-09 at 00:05  |  permalink

Glen,

Is there any chance of seeing a copy of your PM660 photo?

Best regards,

Justin

By glen d miles  |  2014-07-20 at 10:57  |  permalink

Ps
I have read that some builders are concerned about the spinner colour on PM 660. Although my photo is black/white the spinner looks black.

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