Supermarine Spitfire LF Vb, EP120, G-LFVB
Rolls-Royce Merlin 55, 27 litre, supercharged liquid-cooled V-12
"From whichever angle I gaze, from whatever distance I stand and for however long, there is nothing not to like, nor little not to marvel at. A brilliant conception, it has no discordant lines, nor displaced curves. It lacks nothing but one facet - this baby Spitfire needs to fly."
Stephen Grey, 2016
EP120 is one of the most historic and original airworthy aeroplanes in the world. It is credited with multiple combat kills and passed directly from the RAF into TFC ownership and restoration. Built at Castle Bromwich in early 1942, EP120 was taken on charge on 23rd May 1942 with 45 MU at Kinloss. The following month the Spitfire was transferred to 501 Squadron at Ibsley, Hants and in August took part in Operation Jubilee over Dieppe. On 19th August in the hands of Wing Commander Pat Gibbs EP120 was credited with a Dornier Do 217 destroyed, as well as receiving it's own battle damage to the tail and wing.
After repairs, EP120 transferred to 19 Squadron, based mainly at Perranporth, with which it flew 61 recorded Ops. In April 1943, 19 Sqdn exchanged their aircraft with 402 Squadron RCAF. Now coded AE-A with the “City of Winnipeg” markings the aeroplane wears today, the Spitfire was assigned to Squadron Leader Geoffrey Northcott who was credited with six kills in EP120 during the 79 Ops it flew while with 402 Sqdn.
Post-war this Spitfire saw time as an instructional airframe and gate guard at various RAF stations. In 1967 EP120 was used as a set-dressing static aircraft for the filming of “The Battle of Britain” movie after which it again ended up as a gate guard at RAF Wattisham. In 1989 the remaining historic aircraft serving as RAF gate guardians were taken into store at RAF St.Athan from where EP120 was acquired by The Fighter Collection in 1993, in exchange for a fully restored former RAF F-86 Sabre. Restored by Historic Flying Limited at Audley End, EP120 returned to the skies for its first post-restoration flight on 12th September 1995. Flying Legends - EP120 The Fighter Collection - EP120
© Dave Brenchley Photography