Aeroplane Monthly - February 2014

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For many years I have hoped to one day get air-to-air photography of the Temora Aviation Museum’s Spitfire VIII A58-758 wearing its superb 457 Sqnpaint scheme, complete with its impressive shark’s mouth. This Spitfire is perhaps the most photogenic example of its type. It is certainly one of my most favourite examples of its type the world over. As it also flies in beautiful deep blue Antipodean skies, the contrast between its shark’s mouth and the blue of the sky is just so striking – so as I was recently fortunate enough to achieve my hope I do hope you like the cover and centrefold and other photography of this wonderful aircraft elsewhere in this issue. Getting these pictures was also a great catalyst to present a fascinating insight into the Second World War operations of the home-based RAAF fighter squadrons and those operating in the South-West Pacifi c, especially the little-known defence of Japanese air raids around the Darwin area in the Northern Territory for two years.

I was saddened to hear that shortly after my visit to Australia 457 Sqn veteran, and friend of the Temora Aviation Museum, Flt Lt “Ted” Sly DFC, MID, passed away on November 30, 2013. At his funeral in Sydney during mid-December, the museum provided A58-758 for a flypast over the service. This was only the second time since David Lowy AM and TAM has owned the Spitfire that it has flown over Sydney. The first time was for the funeral of Wg Cdr “Bobby” Gibbes DSO, DFC*, OAM, whose markings the Spitfire wears.

The Minister’s words which introduced the flypast during the service describe the poignancy of the Mk VIII’s appearance over the funeral ideally: “Today’s flypast of the Spitfire is provided by the Temora Aviation Museum to honour the service and sacrifice of all men and women who served our country during conflict and in times of peace.