Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 29, 2006 22:30:28 GMT 12
Now that Sir Tim Wallis's lovely Spitfire, TB863, has arrived in new pastures, Temora, I thought it'd be nice to start an official thread where New Zealanders, and others, who loved the Spit can post your favourite photos and memories from the 17 years it resided in this country.
I saw TB863 on many occassions, particularly when I lived at Wigram. Each and every time i saw it I felt very priviledged. It was not the first Spitfire I ever saw (the Auckland museum's example holds that record) but it was the first i ever heard, and saw in the sky! Woodbourne, 1989, where a fantastic dislay was performed by TFC's Stephen Grey. Magic memory.
It was also great the day Sir Tim let me sit in the cockpit, and I was shown over the cockpit by the late great Tom Middleton, who was so happy to talk about the plane he flew on many occasions.
After all those times I did see this Spitfire in the air, taxiing or even just parked up, I now wish I'd taken more photos.
Here are a couple of my favourites. please feel free to share yours.
Bugger yo, you can have that Rusell Crowe. We don't want him either. I don't think any one here rea;lly refers to him as an Australian Anymore. I never understand either why we claim NZ people as Australian. If we kept that up, we'd end up with that Clarke fella running your country as an Aussie ((Shudder))
But we will keep Phar Lap as you can't spell it ;-)
I'd forgotten about John Clarke, a very, very funny guy; still famous in NZ for his gumboots and black vest characters. "If it wasn't for your gumboots where would'ya be....". and of course that brillant Oz tv series taking the piss out of the the Government!
It had turned up at the engineering base for the 'Battle of Britain' film from a film company store. In the event, apart from the odd fitting, it was not used.
It was believed at the time that the removal of parts of the cockpit combing structure was to facilitate filming the cockpit shots in the 'Reach for the Sky' film.
Engineering technician Bill Francis who worked on the BoB film aircraft, managed to acquire the aircraft and removed it to his back garden in Southend , Essex. This started it on its slow road back to good health. Here is a shot taken on 12 April 1969.
I remember that display at Hamilton in '95 - absolutely awesome, however the thing I most recall about that event is hearing the sound of the merlin over Cambridge in the late afternoon the day before the show. I went outside to see the distinctive shape of the Spitfire aerobatting over the Whitehall hills behind town. The sun was just catching it as it looped - looked beautiful.... This went on for about 45minutes or so - it was Tim Wallis just out enjoying the evening - If I had a Spitfire I'd be doing exactly the same thing!
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...