Spitfire P7540

Loch Doon, Dumfries and Galloway













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: Supermarine Spitfire XVI at Duxford, September 2006.


spitfire mk xvi at duxford in september 2006


Photo: 2006 Taken by Chowells, Noise reduction and shadows lifted by Diliff. Original image here


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.5





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


raf spitfires in flight


Photo: As a work of the U.S. Federal Government, the image is in the public domain.





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.





Aircraft Pilot Casualty


The pilot who died in this incident was:

F/O Hekl's name is engraved on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 30. (Two separate links)





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:


Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum

Heathhall Industrial Estate, Heathhall, Dumfries.

Tel. 01387 251623.

 Email: info@dumfriesaviationmuseum.com


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 of p/o hekl from 312 czech squadron RAF


Photo: 2008 James Towill
(Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum exhibit)



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).


spitfire's rolls royce merlin engine displayed at dumfries and galloway aviation museum


Photo: 2008 James Towill
(Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum exhibit)



BELOW: Plaque describing recovery of Merlin engine from Loch Doon.


plaque describing recovery of spitfire p7540 from loch doon


Photo: 2008 James Towill
(Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum exhibit)



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.

On Saturday 25th October 1941 a lone Spitfire, P7540 from 312 (Czech) Squadron on a training flight from RAF Ayr was flying low over the waters of Loch Doon. The pilot banked his aircraft and and his starboard wing struck the surface, causing the aircraft to crash into Loch Doon where it lay for 40 years, at a depth of about 12 metres.

With the invaluable help of the divers from the Dumfries branch of the SCOTTISH SUB-AQUA CLUB and from various clubs in the NORTHERN FEDERATION OF BRITISH SUB-AQUA CLUBS, the aircraft was recovered and it is estimated that 567 separate dives were made by 109 individual divers and a total of 337 hours were spent underwater searching an area of ¼ of a square kilometer.

The Spitfire can with some justification be called the most famous aircraft of all time. It was designed by Reginald Mitchell, who was dying of cancer but lived long enough to see the prototype fly for the first time in 1936. It was the first all metal stressed skin fighter to go into production in Britain and was developed just in time to help the redoubtable Hawker Hurricane save Britain from disaster in the Battle of Britain in the late summer of 1940.





Photo Request


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


Accident Site:

Loch Doon


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.





Aircraft Details



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:

Glasgow (Prestwick) International Airport (EGPK)


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.





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