Sunday, July 2, 2017

Supermarine Spitfire Mk I X4474, a Heller kit

Last year I picked up a perfectly vanilla old kit of a Spitfire Mk I, and it was assembled as a nice litte weekend build. The Heller kit, rivets, raised panel lines and all, was an easy build, and even the decals worked reasonably well. The decals were for Spitfire X4474 QV-I, a late production Mk. I that initially flew on September 16, 1940, and during the Battle of Britain it was part of No. 19 Squadron at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, and piloted by Sergeant B. J. Jennings. X4474 survived the Battle of Britain, and it went on to No. 7 Operational Training Unit (OTU), No. 602 Squadron, 610 Squadron, 53 OTU, and finally Air Service Training Hamble School of Technical Training before being scrapped in 1947.

The pilot, Bernard James Jennings was born on 21st March 1915 and joined the RAF as an Aircrafthand on 1st May 1933. He joined No. 19 Squadron on September 4, 1939 after initially serving in the parachute flight before completing his pilot training in 1937-38. Jennings' first claim was a share in a probable Dornier 17 over Dunkirk on May 27, 1940. This was followed by two Me 110s on June 1 and a damaged Dornier 215 on a later patrol. He further claimed a Me 110 destroyed and a He111 probably destroyed on September 11 and a Me 109 destroyed on the September 29.
Jennings was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), which was gazetted on April 4, 1941. He served in training units between April 12, 1941 and August 1944, when he returned to operations with 168 Squadron, a reconnaissance unit that flew Mustangs and later on Typhoons. Jennings was appointed CO of 85 GSU Ferry Flight in February 1945, and he retired from the RAF on March 21, 1962 with the rank of Wing Commander. B. J. Jennings passed away in 2000.


Armourer Fred Roberts re-arms Supermarine Spitfire Mark IA, X4474 'QV-I', of No. 19 Squadron RAF at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, while the pilot, Sergeant B J Jennings, has a word with his mechanic. Manor Farm can be seen in the background.

B. J. Jennings

 X4474 at speed. The absence of a triangular prong on the rear of the mast indicates that VHF radio was fitted. The voltage regulator can be seen under the rear transparency.

On the ground but with the engine running.