Corgi AA29103 Supermarine Spitfire MkIXe, ML407, Sq Ldr John 'Johnnie' Houlton, Operation Overlord, June 6 1944 1/72
Supermarine Spitfire MkIXe, ML407, Sq Ldr John 'Johnnie' Houlton, Operation Overlord, June 6 1944
Constructed as a Mk IXc variant at the famous Castle Bromwich 'Shadow Factory' in early 1944, Supermarine Spitfire ML407 stamped her name in history as the first Allied fighter to claim a Luftwaffe aircraft shot down following the Allied amphibious landings on D-Day. It also boasts an impressive post-war flying career which continues to this day. She flew operationally throughout the final months of the Second World War, serving with six different squadrons of the RAF's 2nd Tactical Air Force and amassing 176 combat sorties and 319 hours of combat flying in the process. She was delivered to No. 485 (New Zealand) Squadron on 29th April 1944, where she became the aircraft assigned to Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton in preparation for operations covering the D-Day landings. No. 485 Squadron moved to operate from RAF Selsey, as this was the closest UK mainland airfield to the landing beaches the squadron's aircraft would have to protect on 6th June 1944. On D-Day, Houlton caught sight of a Junkers Ju-88 attempting to find cover in the clouds, and, having adjusted his new gyroscopic gunsight for a longer distance shot, gave the Luftwaffe aircraft short burst from around 500 yards. The Ju-88 burst into flames and plummeted earthwards, with the crew taking to their parachutes. Houlton and Spitfire ML407 had just become the first Allied pilot/aircraft combination to shoot down an enemy aircraft following the D-Day landings.