No. 111 Squadron in Sicily

Spitfire Site

Supermarine Spitfires of No. 111 Squadron RAF undergoing maintenance at Comiso, Sicily in the summer of 1943. ‘JU-R’ in the foreground is a Mark ...

Supermarine Spitfires of No. 111 Squadron RAF undergoing maintenance at Comiso, Sicily in the summer of 1943. ‘JU-R’ in the foreground is a Mark IXE, the other aircraft being Mark VCs.

No. 111 Sqn played a role in the Battle of Britain, pioneering dangerous head-on attacks against the Luftwaffe bomber streams. Claims included 47 aircraft shot down for 18 Hurricanes lost. The squadron replaced its Hurricanes with Supermarine Spitfires in April 1941. In November the Squadron again relocated to RAF Gibraltar for support of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. In a similar role it moved to Malta in June 1943 to support the invasion of Sicily, then moved ashore. From Sicilian bases it covered the Italian landings, moving onto the mainland in September 1943. In preparation for the invasion of Southern France the squadron moved to Corsica in July 1944, covered the landing and then moved to French airfields to support the ground forces until returning to Italy in October. For the rest of the war it carried out fighter-bomber operations and then joined the occupation forces in Austria, eventually disbanding on 12 May 1947.

8 Comments | Add New

By Antoni  |  2014-02-10 at 21:15  |  permalink

Summer 1943 is too early for an ‘E’ Wing.

By Edgar Brooks  |  2014-02-11 at 07:37  |  permalink

Antoni is perfectly correct; the parallel extension between the wing’s leading edge and the tapered barrel cover denotes “C” armament.

By Allan Mearns  |  2014-09-14 at 09:58  |  permalink

could you expand on that please?


By Johan V  |  2015-01-11 at 16:23  |  permalink

Don’t think this is a mk IX, please note the small blister near to spinner on the right-hand side cowling panel. I think this is typical of Mk VIII’s, not of IX’s but happy to be corrected.

By Tom  |  2016-01-20 at 05:16  |  permalink

It is indeed an early mkIXc.

The blister on the right side engine cowling was to make room for the Coffman starter… Information taken from this very site:

“The two-stage Merlin versions of the Spitfire, Mks. VII, VIII, IX and XVI all had the vastly superior electric starting. The blister in this case reflects the provision on some of these engines for a cabin blower driveshaft. This was only put to use in the pressurised Mk VII, but the Merlin engines 61, 64 and perhaps 63A were provided with cabin blower drive, and therefore required this blister, while Merlin 63 and 66/266/70 didn’t.”

So this spitfire was most likely powered by an Merlin 61. You can also tell this by the lack of the ‘long’ Aero-Vee filter carburetor under the engine cowling. These longer carburetors were fitted on the later “LF” and “HF” mkIXs and the mkVIIIs, which were powered by the Merlin 66 and up.

By Johan V  |  2016-03-13 at 09:39  |  permalink

Hi Tom,
Thanks for your extensive reply and now fully agree with you. Saw some photo’s of early IXs in my reference books, also with this small blister. Later IXs did do away with this blister.

By Colin L  |  2015-12-29 at 17:25  |  permalink

Squadron’s own history page states they took charge of IXc in June 1943. This aircraft also features the longer aileron on the the IX rather than the shortened aileron on the VIII. (111 squdron never operated Mk viii’s). The picture may be deceptive, but it looks as if it doesn’t feature the outer cannon stub.

By Peter Thomson  |  2016-07-09 at 19:54  |  permalink

You are correct Colin my grandfather was a pilot with 111 squadron and flew the Mk IXc with clipped wings at that time. He flew JU-D, JU-C and was shot down by flak south of Rome in JU-E. These were all Mk IXc aircraft. Prior to that 111 had MK V Spitfires.

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