The author’s favourite Spitfire, in which he made the flight described here. Spitfire PR.XIX PS852, pictured at Kai Tak in the early Fifties, was taken on strength by 81 Sqn in January 1951 and remained with the unit until early 1954, when it was delivered to the Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force. After a year with the HKAAF, a wheels-up landing ended its Service career.
Another view of Spitfire PR.XIX PS890, its handsome profile somewhat distorted by the shutter blind of the camera, as are the buildings in the background. The pilot was Fg Off Giddens and the photograph was taken at RAF Seletar in March 1953.
Spitfire PR.XIX PS890 of 81 Sqn has its F.52 camera changed after a photographic sortie.
The author preparing for a flight in a Spitfire PR.XIX from Kai Tak in 1951.
Two long-focus F.52 cameras being fitted in Spitfire PR.XIX PM620 of 2 Sqn at RAF Wunstorf, Germany, in April 1949.
The cockpit of the Spitfire PR.XIX - note the stirrup-type rudder pedals.
KEITH WOODCOCK’S painting dramatically portrays the author’s hair-raising descent from 50,000ft on February 5, 1952.