Monday, April 20, 2009


The BBC's Paul Clifton takes a close look at the aircraft

A World War II Spitfire aeroplane, which was found in a scrapyard, is expected to fetch up to £1.5m at an auction in north London later.

The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire was built in 1944 and sold to the South African Air Force in 1948, where it served for an unknown period.

In the 1970s the aircraft was found in a scrapyard in Cape Town.

A five-year restoration in Hampshire made the plane airworthy. Bonhams will auction it at the RAF Museum in Hendon.

The Spitfire, which played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain in World War II, is the first airworthy aircraft of its genre to go under the hammer in 20 years.

The aeroplane was originally delivered to the RAF's No 33 Maintenance Unit at Lyneham, Wiltshire, to be prepared for operation.

The mark IX aircraft, serial number SM520, was rescued from Cape Town by the late building developer and aviation enthusiast Charles Church.

It changed hands several times before it was made airworthy.

Bonhams' chairman Robert Brooks said: "The sale of this Spitfire touches me personally as an enthusiastic amateur pilot and a keen student of military history."




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