Aeroplane Monthly 1984-03
Personal album
And finally, the very first Spitfire of all, K5054, photographed at Eastleigh shortly after being camouflaged and fitted with ejector exhausts. After full use as a test aircraft K5054 was flown away in November 1938 from Eastleigh to Farnborough, where it remained until badly damaged in a landing accident there on September 4, 1939.
Fairey Swordfish floatplane K8349 on the slipway at Lee-on-Solent. One of a batch of 104 Swordfish built between September 1936 and April 1937, K8349 served at Gosport with the Floatplane Training Unit before embarking with HMS Argus. The aircraft passed to the Admiralty in May 1939.
D.H.91 Albatross G-AFDJ Falcon is seen at Eastleigh. 'DJ was built at Hatfield in 1938 and registered to Imperial Airways in November of that year. Five Albatross operated the Croydon-Paris, Brussels and Zurich routes until the outbreak of war, when all aircraft were evacuated to Bristol Whitchurch whence they operated on the Lisbon and Shannon shuttle services. After three of the fleet were lost in crashes the other two, including Falcon, were scrapped through lack of spares in September 1943.
During the summer of 1938 Maj Alford Williams, aviation manager of the Gulf Refining Company of America, demonstrated the Grumman G-22 Gulfhawk in the UK. Here he is seen during a visit to Eastleigh.
The Speed Spitfire, N.17 was originally Spitfire I K9834, the 48th production aircraft. It is seen here at Eastleigh. Powered by a sprint Merlin, a much-modified Merlin Mk III, N.17 was first flown on November 11, 1938. An attempt on the world speed record was cancelled after Ernst Udet raised the speed to 469 m.p.h. in a Messerschmitt Bf 109R. N.17 was rebuilt by Heston Aircraft and ended its days as a hack with the PRU at Benson.
Short Calcutta G-EBVG at Hamble. This aircraft was first flown on St Valentine's Day, 1928, and was delivered to Imperial Airways early the following year. It flew the Mediterranean service, operating from Genoa to Alexandria for seven years, returning to Rochester for conversion to a training aircraft and installation of Armstrong Siddeley Tiger engines. It was delivered to Air Pilots Training Ltd at Hamble early in 1936 but was returned to Imperial Airways in September of that year. On December 28, 1936, it capsized in a storm at Mirabella, Crete.