Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI « SL721 », OO-XVI
The Spitfire Mk XVI ‘SL721’ left the production plant in August 1945 for the 6 Maintenance Unit, then it was delivered to the Fighter Command Communications Squadron, then to the Metropolitan Communications Squadron, where it became the personal aircraft of the Air Chief Marshal Sir James Milne Robb adorned with J-MR codes. In August 1951 it was sent to the Central Flying School of the RAF, until its reform at the end of 1954. The following year, it was bought for the sum of £150 by an individual who stored it in his garage, running its engine once a year, mainly on the day of the commemoration of the Battle of Britain. In 1965, it was acquired by an American who transported it to the USA and put it back in flight condition.
A few years later, a British collector bought it and brought it back to Great Britain, where it flew very little. In 1976, it was bought again by an American who brought it back to the USA, then in 2000 its new owner based it in Ottawa. The year 2018 saw its return to Europe, after its export to Belgium where it now flies under the registration OO-XVI.
Text: Jean-Pierre TOUZEAU
Photos : © Frédéric Vormezeele