Spitfire X4326

Meall an t-Suidhe, Fort William













Aircraft Type Photo


K9795, the 9th production Mk I Supermarine Spitfire, with 19 Squadron Royal Air Force, showing the wooden, two-blade, fixed-pitch propeller, early 'unblown' canopy and 'wraparound' windscreen without the bulletproof glass plate. The original style of aerial mast is also fitted. [Wikipedia]


Spitfire Mark 1


Photo: 1938 RAF official photographer.


HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide. (Ref: HMSO Email Reply). More information.



BELOW: A later variant of the Spitfire. This is a Supermarine Spitfire XVI at Duxford, in 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 I / X4326



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 I Spitfire featured here was equipped with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. (Griffon engines were fitted to later Marks.)



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                      


Spitfire X4326 of 8 (C) OTU was on a cross-country training flight (photographic reconnaissance flight) from RAF Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire. However, while returning from over the west coast of Scotland, the aircraft developed engine problems.


Shortly afterward, the out-of-control Spitfire flew into low cloud and dived into the ground at Meall an t-Suidhe near Ben Nevis [map], and not far from Auchentee Farm by Fort William.






Aircraft Pilot Casualty


The pilot who died in this accident was:


(Please click on the hyperlinked name above for further details at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's website.)



P/O McDonell, who came from Smithers in NW British Columbia, was a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot flying with the RAF.



A 70th Anniversary Memorial Service was held at Glen Nevis Visitor Centre on 16 May 2013.


A plaque in memory of F/O McDonell was placed at Glen Nevis Visitor Centre.


This event was attended by representatives from the Royal British Legion, the Air Training Corps (RAF Air Cadets), Highland Council and the Royal Air Force.


Donald Cameron of Lochiel, the Lord Lieutenant of Inverness-shire, also attended the Ceremony.






Crash Site Photos


At the moment, there are no onsite photos of this aircraft.


BELOW: Royal Doulton image of RAF Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire depicted on this Limited Edition Collector's Plate has serial number X4326. This is the aircraft featured on this page.


Royal Doulton image of Spitfire X4326.


Photo: Royal Doulton.


  Information regarding this image was kindly made available by Dave Leithead.





















Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 16 May 1943


Accident Site:

Meall an t-Suidhe (711m)

(NW side of Ben Nevis)


Region: Highland


Nearest town or village:

Fort William (W)


Nearest large town:

Fort William.


OS Grid Ref: NN 130 740 (Approx.)


GPS Ref. N/A


Present Condition: Unknown.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: X4326


Operator:  RAF (8 (C) OTU) / Part of 17 Group Coastal Command.)


Operating Station: RAF Fraserburgh / Inverallochy.


Station Location: Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.


Current Station Status:

Closed 1945; although used by Aberdeen Gliding Club until the 1950's.

 Part of the site is now overbuilt by housing, and another part has been returned to farming use.




Related Links


RAF and Related Links

8 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

RAF Fraserburgh

The Spitfire Society


Other Links

Glen Nevis Visitor Centre.

The Supermarine Spitfire at Wikipedia



Hill Walking Links



(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)

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