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No. 54 Squadron
|Pilot F/O D. W. Gray (survived)
Force Landed December 22, 1943
Built by Supermarine. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number BR545. Disassembled and loaded aboard SS Hoperidge as cargo and shipped overseas to Australia arriving October 23, 1942.
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Spitfire serial number A58-51. On October 27, 1942 reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD) with Merline engine serial number 81715. On November 14, 1942 assigned to Royal Air Force (RAF) to No. 54 Squadron operating in Australia. Coded "E" and later "DL-E". Possibly, nicknamed "Ivy" no known nose art.
On December 22, 1943 took of piloted by F/O D. W. Gray on a ferry flight and failed to land at the destination. In fact, this aircraft ran low on fuel, and force landed intact on the coast near the Regent River near Drysdale. Pilot Gray survived the landing unhurt.
The next day, Gray was found and walked to Drysdale where he was rescued on December 25, 1943. Three days later, he returned to No. 54 Squadron and resumed flying duty.
On December 24, 19433 this Spitfire was spotted, presumably from the air. On January 5, 1944 a recovery team from 7 RSU attempted to reach this wreckage to salvage usable parts, but was unable to reach the site. Due to tide action, the aircraft submerged and was officially written off on January 22, 1944. At the time, it was recommended the plane be destroyed by strafing or bombing, but this was never carried out.
The aircraft remained in situ until 1987 when salvaged and transported to the RAAF Museum, Point Cook arriving by May 1998 and placed into storage.
ADF Serials - Spitfire A58-51
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July 30, 2020
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