A recent chance discovery has led to some exciting prospects for Shoreham Air Cadets.
While researching the aircraft that the Royal Air Force used at Shoreham Airport (Brighton City Airport) during World War 2 the cadets of 1440 (Shoreham-by-Sea) Squadron, Air Training Corps made an exciting discovery about a Supermarine Spitfire on the other side of the world that used to live in Shoreham. This one wasn’t to be found at the Airport, but was instead kept in Eastern Avenue where the Squadron has been based since the 1950s!
Supermarine Spitfire PK481, a Mark 22 version of the iconic aircraft, entered service with the RAF in September 1945, flying with 611 Squadron until it was retired in 1953 which is where the story gets interesting…
The aircraft was purchased by the Brighton and Hove Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) who used it as part of their fundraising work, towing it around the local area as part of their Wings Appeal collection each year. Most of the time, however, it was kept at the Territorial Army Centre in Eastern Avenue (where Eastern Close and the Cadet Centre is today), being looked after by members of 1440 Squadron for the next few years.
The story doesn’t end there, as PK481 didn’t end up on the scrap heap but instead found itself a new home. It left Shoreham in 1959 for a long sea voyage to Perth, Western Australia! The aircraft was sold by RAFA to the Royal Australian Air Force Association who shipped it across the world to put on display outside their headquarters in Perth. It remained there until the 1980s where it was fully restored. Today PK481 is the only Mk22 Spitfire in Australia and is proudly on display at the Aviation Heritage Museum in Bull Creek, Western Australia.
Neil Worth, Civilian Instructor at 1440 Squadron said: “A quick internet search led to some fantastic opportunities for our cadets. We’ve been in touch with the Aviation Heritage Museum in Bull Creek and we are planning all sorts of exciting things together with them and the local Australia Air Force Cadets squadron.”
Neil added: “Although we’ve been sent some information by the museum, we’d really like to learn more about the history of “our” Spitfire and its time in Shoreham. If anyone has any photographs or information, we’d love for them to get in touch!”
If you have any information on the Shoreham’s Spitfire or the history of 1440 Squadron you can contact them through their Facebook page @1440ShorehamSquadron or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.