The resurrection of a legend: The “Greek” Spitfire LF Mk IXc MJ755 is getting ready to scramble!

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos submitted to by Kostas Tsipas and used by permission

A legendary aircraft, one of the most iconic WW2 fighters, a Spitfire, is currently under extensive restoration, with the aim to bring it back into the skies, possibly in 2020.

Photo credit: HAF
The “Greek” Spitfire at the Hellenic Air Force Museum. Photo credit: HAF

Spitfire LF Mk IXc MJ755 was built at the Castle Bromwich factory and delivered to No. 43 Squadron RAF in August 1944, which was operating over Southern France.

In 1947 MJ755 was transferred to the Royal Hellenic Air Force, along with 120 other Spitfires and used by the RHAF 335, 336 and 337 squadrons.

The "Greek" Spitfire on static display at the Hellenic Air Force Museum
The “Greek” Spitfire on static display at the Hellenic Air Force Museum. Photo credit: Unknown

The last of those Spitfires were on duty up until 1954, mainly in training and photo reconnaissance and with the passing of time, just one, the MJ755 survived the scrapyards and was later exhibited at the Hellenic Air Force Museum.

Static display of the "Greek" Spitfire inside the main hangar of the Hellenic Air Force Museum.
Static display of the “Greek” Spitfire inside the main hangar of the Hellenic Air Force Museum. Photo credit: Unknown

In March 2018, following an agreement between the Hellenic Air Force General Staff and the privately funded “Icarus” foundation Spitfire MJ755 was moved to «The Spitfire Company Ltd» at Biggin Hill in the UK in order to undergo a rivet by rivet extensive restoration and make it airworthy once again and let it roam the skies, reminding everyone about the pivotal role these aircraft played during WW2.

The fuselage is undergoing careful restoration
The fuselage is undergoing careful restoration

Aviation enthusiast Mr. Kostas Tsipas visited the hangar where the restoration project is currently in full swing and via offers us a glimpse into the painstaking process the specialists at Biggin Hill are following, in order to restore every bolt, panel and instrument of the Spitfire.


Mr. Kostas Tsipas said to 

“Τhe “Spit” is the most complete they ever had to restore, hence it will take two rather than four years to complete.”


“Every panel joint frame piece been taken apart, and getting tested prior to be re-applied to the frame for airworthiness, otherwise is not going on.”


They are doing a great job!”


The thickness of the aluminium in most parts is approximately 1.5 mm.


“The main body is from a Mk V, while the wings are later, it is an early Mk IX.”
“Here’s a less known fact: There is a blanking plate, left hand side fuselage just below the pit access door, a numbered part, that does not belong to any IX only because the body is an Mk V.”
It was there in the Mk Vs for the pipe feeding warm air from radiator to keep the guns from freezing.” Mr. Tsipas says, adding:
 Mk Vs have one, whereas Mk IX have two, so they were scratching their heads to identify this plate, this specific aircraft is unique in this respect from any other Mk IX currently flying.”
“The experts checked the parts list of the Mk V and there it was!”
“Some of the body panels have been replaced due to the fact that the original, probably previously changed or repaired panels, the rivet holes are at an angle to the frame, probably the original rivets were left in place and were just ground flat, when these panels were replaced.”
“The most important frame is the one in front on the jig, which took quite a few goes to set it in place, this one essentially aligns everything on the plane.”
“Notice also the Square section tubes in the wing which are making up the main spar, square tube within square tube, providing lightweight flexible and really strong construction, just superb design!”
If all goes according to plan, this unique Spitfire, one of the few which is as original as it can get, will become another flying gem of the past.

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