Cambridgeshire

Flight of restored Spitfire halted over technical hitch

Spitifre NH341 at Duxford Aerodrome, the Imperial War Museum Image copyright Aero Legends Ltd
Image caption After its first post-restoration flight from Duxford, the aeroplane will be flown from aerodromes in Northampton and Kent

Aviation enthusiasts will have to wait a little longer to see a restored World War Two Spitfire take to the skies after a carburettor issue halted its maiden flight.

Spitfire NH341 flew 27 combat missions between June and July 1944 before it was shot down near Caen in France.

The French Resistance helped Canadian pilot Jimmy Jeffrey return to his unit.

The aircraft underwent a three-year restoration costing £3m. It was set to take off from Duxford on Saturday.

Aero Legends spokesman Elliot Styles said visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the Spitfire in the air were still able to get up close to the aircraft at the Imperial War Museum.

He said "teething issues" were not unexpected for maiden flights and NH341 would still fly throughout the year.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Flt Lt Bruce Whiteford flew NH341 more than any other pilot. He had his wife Elizabeth's initials and name painted on the plane

Spitfire NH341 remained in France until Aero Legends Ltd bought it in 2011.

Aero Legends owner Keith Perkins said he was "totally unaware" of the plane's history before he bought it.

It was flown by nine pilots from the Royal Canadian Air Force's 411 (Grizzly Bear) squadron during its short service.

Flt Lt (later Squadron Leader) H C "Charlie" Trainor shot down two German Messerschmitt 109s while flying NH341.

Image copyright Aero Legends Ltd
Image caption The aeroplane was displayed at the Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie at Bayeux in 1996 and later displayed at the Juno Beach Museum before restoration

The aeroplane was described as "better than anything else" by Flying Officer Tommy Wheler, now 96, who destroyed several German mechanised transports during his 24th sortie in the Spitfire.

It was shot down on 2 July 1944 over Normandy but WO Jeffrey managed to bail out.

The French Resistance helped him return to his unit - having first taken him to a nearby town for a hair cut and to buy some cheese.

Spitfire NH341 has been converted into a two-seat trainer plane as part of the £3m restoration.

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