Spitfire TE311 (Mk LF XVIE)
Spitfire TE311 is a low-back/bubble-canopy Mk XVI with ‘clipped’ wingtips. Some 58 years after it last flew, TE311 will be back in the air in 2012, having undergone a painstaking re-build to flying condition by BBMF technicians, which was started in October 2001.
TE311 was taken on charge by the Air Ministry on 8 June 1945 – a month after the war ended – and was placed in storage. From October 1945 to February 1946, it was flown by the Handling Squadron of the Empire Central Flying School (ECFS) at Hullavington. Subsequently, after another period in store, it was used by the Ferry Pilot Training Flights at Aston Down and Benson. TE311 was grounded and transferred to non-effective stock on 13 December 1954. Subsequently the aircraft was a ‘gate guardian’ at Tangmere for 12 years and then, for over 30 years, was used as a static display exhibit at many air shows, as part of the RAF Exhibition Flight.
TE311 is painted as Spitfire XVI TB675 ‘4D-V’, the aircraft of Squadron Leader Tony Reeves DFC, who was the Commanding Officer of No 74 Squadron in 1945.
The full story of Tony Reeves, 74 Squadron and Spitfire ground attack operations is in the RAF BBMF 2012 Yearbook, which can be purchased online.
Header Image: ( Larger size) Spitfire Mk LF XVIE TE311 (Photographer: Karl Bacon)