RAAF Museum’s Newest Addition, A Spitfire MK VIII LF Replica

DSC_1554 Last Friday, the 16th of September, I witnessed the unveiling of the RAAF Museum’s newest addition -  a Spitfire MK VIII LF replica, A58 –492. Gifted by the Friends of the RAAF Museum, the Spitfire replica is on display outside the Museum to represent a Mk VIII Spitfire operated by Number 79 Squadron in the South West Pacific Area of Operations during World War II. The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, thanked those who made the new display possible and said it was both a fitting tribute and an important addition representing an important era in military aviation. “The display is the result of great support by the Friends of the RAAF Museum and corporate donors. It will take pride of place outside of the RAAF Museum where Air Force personal and visitors can acknowledge the achievements by 79 Squadron,” Air Marshal Davies said. David Gardner, Director of the RAAF Museum, said it had been a big but very rewarding task to get the project completed. “We have received such amazing support from the Friends of the Museum who have worked tirelessly to make this project happen,” said Mr Gardner. The Friends of the Museum have also had donations from various sponsors, including Rolls Royce, the RAAF Association, and other smaller donors. Without the support and donations of these generous sponsors, this project would not have been possible.

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The full size replica, weighing almost approximately 1500 kilograms, has been purpose built for the Museum from fibreglass, taking into account the extreme weather conditions that Point Cook experiences. Manufactured in the United Kingdom by Gateguards, the replica had to be dismantled to be shipped to Point Cook before being reassembled and placed on a 2.7 metre high pole. After disbanding in 1945 at cessation of hostilities, No 79 SQN reformed in 1962, operating Mirage fighter aircraft. It again disbanded again in 1988. The Squadron reformed 1998 and today is located at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia where it  operates the Hawk 127 lead in fighter trainer. After the formalities, we were treated to a very nice morning tea.

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