Roseland Spitfire Mk IX flew to Windsor, Oshkosh, Comox and more on 5,000-mile journey

Photos and report by Gord McNulty, CAHS Vice President

The Mike Potter Collection Roseland Spitfire Mk IX at C2HA Windsor July 20 2018 545

The Mike Potter Collection Roseland Spitfire Mk IX at CH2A, Windsor, July 20, 2018.

The Roseland Spitfire Mk IX of the Michael Potter Aircraft Collection, also known as the Y2K Spitfire, proved to a be a popular attraction on an epic flight this summer. I enjoyed seeing the classic fighter at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association (CH2A) in Windsor. Flown by Dave Hadfield, the beautifully reconstructed fighter made a three-day visit to the CH2A as part of a 5,000-mile trip from its base in Gatineau, Quebec, to Comox, BC and back to Gatineau.

Pilot Dave Hadfield at Windsor July 20 during the 2018 5000 Miles in a Spitfire Flight Gatineau to Comox and home again 545

Pilot Dave Hadfield, at Windsor July 20, during the 2018 5,000 Miles in a Spitfire Flight, Gatineau to Comox and home again.

Hadfield flew the beautifully reconstructed Spitfire to Windsor on July 19, the first leg of a journey that continued to EAA AirVenture 2018 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where the aircraft was part of a celebration for the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force. Check out “RAF 100 Spitfire Flybys” on YouTube for a fine demonstration of Canada’s only flying Spitfire in action at the show.

The Spitfire flew to 19 Wing Comox on July 31 in a homecoming celebration where the original reconstruction began in 1999. Check out “Y2K Spitfire Landing in Comox” on YouTube to catch the historic occasion. Dave was greeted by Wing Commander (Ret’d) James (Stocky) Edwards, the famous wartime Kittyhawk pilot who later taught Dave how to fly the P-40.

A flypast took place over the Comox Marina on Aug. 6 to the delight of spectators. A homecoming gala was held on Aug. 8 to mark the much-anticipated appearance of the Spitfire and to launch the Stocky Edwards Legacy Trust to encourage and support young Canadians, especially those in the Air Cadets, who aspire to a career in aviation.

Spitfire IX TE294 is dedicated to FL Arnold “Rosey” Roseland of RCAF 442 Squadron, who was just 28 when he died in an aerial gunfight over Normandy in 1944. He flew 65 sorties in Spitfire Mk IX MK304, Y2K and embodies the sacrifice of Canadian pilots in the Second World War. The Roseland Spitfire is essentially an entirely re-manufactured Canadian-built aircraft, with each piece being precisely built to original specifications. Dave noted it is the only Spitfire ever built in Canada.

Dave has flown other well-known Second World War fighters exemplified by the Mustang and the Kittyhawk, but as he told the media in Windsor, “When you say Spitfire, you get a different reaction. It is the iconic airplane.” He described the aircraft as “a lot of fun to fly. It is very responsive and very nimble” and performs the most graceful air show routines.

Front view of CH2A Mosquito at Windsor July 20 2018 545

Front view of CH2A Mosquito at Windsor, July 20, 2018.

Side view of CH2A Mosquito at Windsor July 20 2018 545

Side view of CH2A Mosquito at Windsor, July 20, 2018.

During the visit to Windsor, the impressive progress being made in the restoration of the CH2A’s Mosquito caught my eye. The project began in 1996 when enthusiasts led by Tim Gillies travelled to the Northwest Territories to recover parts from a downed Mosquito. Fast forward to 1992, when the Windsor Mosquito Bomber Group returned from New Zealand, home of Mosquito fuselage mould expert Glyn Powell, with the fuselage. The Group then moved their operation to #7 E.F.T.S., the home of the CH2A.

They also decided to dedicate and rename the aircraft to Mosquito KB161 (City of Vancouver). This Mossie was totally destroyed on May 11, 1944. It had taken off from Upwood, England, with a load of target indicator incendiaries for an attack on a chemical works factory in Ludwigshafen, Germany. KB161 was one of 12 from the 139 Squadron raiding this target and Mannheim. As the Mossie returned to base, unbeknownst to the crew, a marker incendiary had hung up on a bomb bay door.

When the aircraft descended through 2,000 feet, the barometric fuse detonated it and the cockpit was immediately filled with dense white smoke. Realizing there was a major fire in the bomb bay, the crew decided to bail out. F/O Alan Woodland was pinned by the slipstream from a 300 mph dive against the back of the hatch. It was only through the efforts of F/O Geoffery Lewis, who pushed F/O Woodland out with a boot on his head, that F/O Woodland was able to survive. Tragically, F/O Lewis did not get clear. The Mosquito dove into the ground in flames at Field View Farm, Chittering, Cambridgeshire, at 1:25 a.m. F/O Lewis died in the crash at age 23. He is buried at St. Matthew’s Churchyard, Overseal, Derbyshire.

Steady progress by the CH2A volunteers has included successfully mating the main wing to the fuselage. After an inspection of the wing by a structural engineer specializing in woodwork, the workmanship on the wing was described as “impeccable” and the engineer offered to certify the wing as airworthy.

Visit the CH2A at No. 7 E.F.T.S. to see the Mosquito and the ongoing restoration of Windsor’s FM212 Lancaster, sister ship to FM 213 of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. FM212 logged 8,069.5 hours before being retired in 1962. The first Canadian-built Lancaster modified to become a Mark 10P (photographic) prototype, it is among the highest time Lancasters in the world.

Purchased as a memorial by the City of Windsor for $1,250 in 1964, it was sent by barge from Dunnville, ON, to Dieppe Park Gardens in Windsor that same year. Dedicated to approximately 400 airmen from the area who died in the Second World War, it remained on display until 2005 when it was put in storage. It was moved to the CH2A hangar in the summer of 2007 for extensive restoration to wartime aviation standards. Progress reports are provided on the museum’s Facebook page.

The CH2A fleet also includes a Boeing Stearman, Harvard Mk 4, de Havilland Canada Chipmunk, Canadair CT-133 Silver Star and a Fairchild 24R Argus.