• Status: On display
  • Airworthiness: Future restoration to flying condition
  • Type: Fighter
  • Built: 1945
  • Serial Number: RAF TE214
  • Construction Number: CBAF. IX.4424
  • Civil Registration: C-GVXI
  • Current Markings: RCAF TE214
  • Length: 31 ft 4 in
  • Wingspan: 32 ft 7 in
  • Power: 1,720 hp
  • Engine: 1 x Packard Merlin 266
  • Maximum Speed: 405 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 300 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 42,500 ft
  • Range: 450 miles

Aircraft Description

Reginald Mitchell designed the Spitfire in 1935 and the prototype made its first flight from Southampton, UK in March 1936. The British Air Ministry placed an initial order for 300 Spitfires three months later, however due to production problems the first Spitfires did not enter RAF service until October 1938.

Nine RAF Spitfire squadrons were operational in September 1939 and they were reserved for the defence of Great Britain. The first large clash with German fighters occurred over Dunkirk in late May 1940, where the Spitfire acquitted itself well. During the Battle of Britain in 1940, the Spitfire targeted the high flying fighters, while the Hurricane dealt with the slower bombers and by the end of September 1940, the Luftwaffe was handed its first defeat. Fourteen Canadian pilots flew RAF Spitfires in this battle.

In the spring of 1942, the defence of Malta became critical, so RAF No. 249 Squadron, equipped with Spitfires was dispatched there. Several Canadians flew with the squadron, the most famous being “Buzz” Beurling, who shot down 24 enemy aircraft over Malta, between June and October 1942.

Spitfires served on many of the Second World War battle fronts, including North Africa, Italy, Normandy, North West Europe, South East Asia, and Australia. Of special note were the eleven RCAF Spitfire squadrons that provided air cover for the D-Day landings in June 1944 and supported the Allied advance across North West Europe and into Germany in 1945.

In 1941, a version of the Spitfire was developed for the Royal Navy called the Seafire. Eventually, over 2,000 Seafires equipped Fleet Air Arm squadrons aboard British aircraft carriers during the war. Following the war, Seafire XVs were operated by Royal Canadian Navy between 1946 and 1954.

From July 1938 to March 1949, 20,351 Spitfires were manufactured, together with another 2,406 Seafires for a total of 22,757 aircraft. Besides the RAF, the RCAF and other Commonwealth Air Forces, the Spitfire served with the air forces of eleven other nations.

The Spitfire at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum was built in 1945 at the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory in Birmingham, England. It was immediately accepted by the RAF as TE214 and served at the Central Gunnery School RAF in Leconfield, England, until 1950. The Spitfire was removed from active service and stored in the early 1950s. Initially displayed at RAF Ternhill for Battle of Britain Day in September 1956, with the fictitious serial TE353, it remained on display there until 1960. The aircraft was transferred to the RCAF on August 1, 1960, in time to be exhibited on Parliament Hill in Ottawa during Battle of Britain week in September. It was subsequently stored at CFD Mountain View.

On January 10, 1963, the Spitfire was officially taken on strength by the RCAF as TE214. In 1966, it was transferred to the Canadian National Aeronautical Collection (now Canada Aviation and Space Museum) and was refinished as aircraft DN-T of 416 "City of Oshawa" Squadron RCAF. It was initially put on display at the Canadian War Museum, then went to the Western Canada Aviation Museum on loan in 1988. The Spitfire was loaned to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in April 1997. In October 2022, ownership was transferred to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and restoration to flying condition is planned in the near future.

© Canadian Warplane Heritage 2024