BBMF Spitfire Mk XVI TE311, in its temporary black primer

Spitfire Mk XVI TE311 – Black Spitfire

Header image: BBMF Spitfire Mk XVI TE311, in its temporary black primer, taking off for a display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford in July. (photo: Gavin Smith)

Regular readers of the BBMF publications will know that the Flight’s low-back, clipped-wing Spitfire Mk XVI TE311 was due to be repainted in a new colour scheme for the 2017 display season. The Spitfire received a coat of black primer at the start of the season; its rudder, elevators and undercarriage doors had already been painted in the correct finish. However, events then overtook the Flight’s best intentions and ‘TE’ has remained like this since.

Ken Wilkinson

Ken Wilkinson

Header images: Left: Ken Wilkinson.
Right: A rather moving picture of former OC BBMF, Sqn Ldr Ian ‘Smithy’ Smith MBE (now serving with No 29 Sqn at Coningsby) with an ailing Ken Wilkinson at the BBMF 60th anniversary event on 11th July 2017. (photo: RAF Coningsby Photo Section © Crown Copyright)

The BBMF is sad to report the death of one of its great friends and one of the last surviving members of ‘The Few’, Ken Wilkinson, who died on 31st July 2017, aged 99, less than three weeks after attending the BBMF 60th anniversary event at RAF Coningsby.

BBMF Spitfire Mk Vb AB910 in the code letters ‘MD-E’ that it wore whilst serving with No 133 (Eagle) Sqn

Spitfire AB910 and the Dieppe raid

Header image: BBMF Spitfire Mk Vb AB910 in the code letters ‘MD-E’ that it wore whilst serving with No 133 (Eagle) Sqn in 1942. (photo: Crown Copyright.)

Seventy five years ago this month, on 19th August 1942, BBMF Spitfire Mk Vb AB910 was engaged in a life and death struggle, as it flew four sorties in the raging air battles over the English Channel and the French port of Dieppe in support of Operation Jubilee. The ill-fated, costly and ultimately unsuccessful commando raid on Dieppe created the biggest single day air battle of any war in history. During the air combats that day the RAF lost 62 Spitfires, the most ever in a single day of the war. Not only did AB910 survive unscathed, but it also shot down a German Dornier Do217 bomber.

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