Canadian groundcrew pose alongside bomb-armed Spitfire Y2-L of No 442 Sqn RCAF at B88 Heesch, south-west of Nijmegen in Holland, in January 1945. The unit moved back to the UK to re-equip with Mustangs two months later.
Flight Lieutenant William R. McRae beside a Spitfire during his tenure with No 401 Sqn RCAF. Born in Scotland in 1919, Bill moved with his parents to Canada in 1922. After training on Tiger Moths and Harvards, he gained his wings in Canada in April 1941.
“Left a bit” - Spitfire VZ-H of No 412 Sqn RCAF taxies out at B80 Volkel with a full bomb load of a single 500-pounder on the centreline and a pair of 250 lb general purpose bombs on the wings, plus a helpful guide on the starboard wing to warn the pilot of any upcoming obstacles.
Each armed with a single 500 lb bomb on the centreline, four Spitfire Mk IXs of No 401 Sqn RCAF prepare to take off on another divebombing sortie. The unit operated from RAF Tangmere in the run-up to D-Day, moving to the airstrip at B4 Beny-sur-Mer, near Caen in Normandy, on June 18, 1944. The standard Mk III 500 lb bomb used on these sorties had a diameter of 13in (33cm) and a total length, including the tail, of 69in (175cm).
Canadian armourers prepare to load a Mk III Medium Capacity 500 lb bomb on to a Spitfire Mk IX of No 126 Wing RCAF. The 500 lb general purpose Mk III was originally designed to be dropped horizontally and not from an aircraft in a dive.
Examples of the two principal fighters which served in the Second Tactical Air Force during 1944-45 - the Spitfire and Hawker Typhoon - sit side-by-side at B4 Beny-sur-Mer in Normandy, with the distinctive spire of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in the nearby village as a backdrop. The Spitfire, coded VZ-Z, belongs to No 412 Sqn RCAF, while the unidentified Typhoon undergoes field maintenance on its Napier Sabre engine.