Aircraft Type and Background
RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIA / P7540
Aircraft Type Nickname: "The Spit".
Designed by R J Mitchell, the elliptical-winged Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most capable and effective fighters of WWII. It was produced in a number of variants, and with different power plants and armaments. The Spitfire was considered a high performing, agile and stable fighter platform. Ultimately, 20,000 Spitfires and Sea Spitfires (or 'Seafires'; the naval variant) were produced.
The Spitfire first entered service with the RAF at Duxford in August, 1938, and many subsequent variants were produced.
During the Battle of Britain, Mk I Spitfires were outnumbered by Hawker Hurricanes. Nevertheless, the Spitfires were usually considered as the most deadly aircraft in the skies above Britain.
The Mark II Spitfire was equipped with a Rolls-Royce Merlin XII engine of 1,175hp. The Mark IIA variant—the type featured here—was fitted with eight .303in machine guns.
BELOW: RAF Spitfires in flight
Aircraft Accident Details
On 25 October 1941, this Spitfire left RAF Ayr (Heathfield) on a training flight. As it flew over what is now Dumfries & Galloway, the pilot made a low pass over Loch Doon, 219m (720ft) up on these hills. However, as he banked away from the loch, his wing caught the surface of the water, causing the aircraft to crash into the loch.
The RAF mounted a search for the Spitfire and its pilot, but they could find no trace of the aircraft.
It was not until 1977 that a serious search for the aircraft was resumed. However it was to take 5 years (until 1982) before the Spitfire was located in Loch Doon. Ultimately, the aircraft was recovered by a team of divers and recovery experts, operating under RAF license.
A full account of the recovery effort, together with photos of this aircraft can be found at the Scottish Sub Aqua Club, under the Loch Doon Spitfire Project.
The Spitfire has been partially restored, and is now on static display at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.
Crash Site Related Photos
There are no onsite (underwater) photos of this aircraft available at present. However, a few recovered items can be seen below. The exhibits shown below are on display at:
Heathhall Industrial Estate, Heathhall, Dumfries.
Tel. 01387 251623.
You are warmly invited to visit this museum to view other items and aircraft on display.
BELOW: The pilot of Spitfire P7540, F/O František Hekl of 312 Czech Squadron RAF. The caption above the photo reads: "Pilot Officer 'Hekl' from 312 Czech Sqdn R.A.F. who was killed in the crash of Spitfire P7540 in Loch Doon."
Photo: 2008 James Towill
BELOW: The Spitfire's Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. The engine was recovered from the crash site at Loch Doon (see plaque below for recovery details).
Photo: 2008 James Towill
BELOW: Plaque describing recovery of Merlin engine from Loch Doon.
Photo: 2008 James Towill
The above plaque description reads:
Rolls-Royce Merlin XII
This excellent example of the famous Merlin engine which powered so many
British (plus the odd American one) aircraft during WWII, is from our
own Spitfire Mk.II which is currently under restoration.
There are no crash site (underwater or recovery operation) photos for this aircraft at the moment. If anyone is able to provide photos of the crash site or recovery operation at Loch Doon, these would be much appreciated.
Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 25 Oct 1941
Region: Dumfries and Galloway (Location and Maps)
Nearest town or village:
Nearest large towns:
Maybole (NW), Cumnock (N) or New Galloway (SE)
OS Grid Ref (underwater): N/A
GPS Ref. N/A
Present Condition: Now, completely recovered from Loch Doon. The fuselage section and engine is on display at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.
Other crash site in this vicinity:
RAF Hawker Hurricane LD564 at Loch Doon.
Registration or Serial: P7540
Operator: RAF (13 Group; 312 (Czech) Squadron)
Operating Station: RAF Ayr / Heathfield (Including also, RAF 44 Group Transport; RN HMS Gannett; HMS Wagtail.)
Station Location: Ayr (Heathfield) Aerodrome, Ayr, Scotland.
Current Station Status: Disused. Overbuilt partly by retail park and partly by extensions to Prestwick Airport
Nearest Current Airport Name:
Nearest Current Airport Status:
Operational Civil Airport. Also, National Air Traffic Services (NATS): Scottish Area Control Centre (SACC), Oceanic Area Control Centre (OACC), Military Control, and Engineering.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RAF and Related Links
Other Crash near this Location
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Loch Doon, Dumfries and Galloway