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]
Photo: 1938 RAF official photographer.
BELOW: A later variant of the Spitfire. This is a Supermarine Spitfire XVI at Duxford, in September 2006.
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
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.
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.
Photo: Royal Doulton.
Information regarding this image was kindly made available by Dave Leithead.
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.
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Meall an t-Suidhe, Fort William