Spitfire Mk IXB - History
Film Credits & Photos
the most famous of all Spitfires still flying today, MH434 was built
in 1943 at Vickers, Castle Bromwich. This Spitfire is completely
original, and has never been fully rebuilt. A delight to fly, the
aircraft is beautifully responsive and extremely manoeuvrable.
At the beginning of August 1943, MH434 was air tested by Alex
Henshaw - a record breaking pilot from pre-war days (we highly
recommend Alex Henshawâ€™s book â€œSigh for a Merlinâ€ Click here for
Within the month MH434 was scoring with 222 Squadron. It was flown
in combat by South African pilot Flt Lt Henry Lardner-Burke, DFC
(1916-1970), seven and a half kills, three damaged, retiring as a
Wing Commander. On the 27 August in the St Omar area over France,
Lardner-Burke shot down a Focke-Wulf FW-190 and damaged a second
during a mission to escort USAAF B-17 bombers. On the 5 September
1943 Lardner-Burke and MH434 shot down another FW-190 in the
Nieuport area, and on the 8 September 1943 claimed a half share in
the downing of a Messerschmitt Bf-109G in Northern France.
In 1944 MH434 was transferred to 350 Sqn. Hornchurch, before being
returned to 222 Sqn. After 79 operational sorties, MH434 was retired
in March 1945.
MH434â€™s guns were loaded again when bought by the Royal Netherlands
Air Force in 1947. The Spitfire served with 322 Sqn. As H-105 -
mainly ground strafing and light bombing missions - before
crash-landing in Semarang, Java. After spending some time in
storage, MH434 was repaired and flew again in Holland on the 10
The Belgian Air Force became the next owner of this Spitfire, and as
SM-41 she served at the Advanced Pilot School at Koksijde and with
13 Wing at Brustem.
On the 26 March 1956 MH434 was put up for sale and bought and
brought back to Britain by airline pilot Tim Davies. As G-ASJV the
Spitfire was moved to Stansted then Elstree for a full overhaul. The
aircraft was flown purely for pleasure and took part in it's first
movie role, Operation Crossbow.
November 1967 saw MH434 join the motion picture airforce of Spitfire
Productions Ltd. Set up by Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie for the
film â€œBattle of Britainâ€. At the end of the movie in 1968 MH434 was
sold again. The new owner, Sir Adrian Swire, Chairman of Cathay
Pacific Airways, had the Spitfire painted in 1944 camouflage colour
scheme with his initials AC-S, as squadron codes. There were several
film and television appearances during this period, including â€œA
Bridge Too Farâ€.
In April 1983 MH434 was sold at auction to the present and
illustrious owner, Ray Hanna (Nalfire Aviation Ltd) and became one
of OFMCâ€™s founding aircraft. The first major rebuild took place in
the winter of 1994-95. MH434 has become a regular movie co-star and
airshow performer and when not in make up for a role is flown in the
authentic 222 Sqn. Codes ZD-B.