MH434 - Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb, RIAT 2015 ©Nigel Key
Supermarine Spitfire MH434 was built at Castle Bromwich in August 1943. It was air tested by Alex Henshaw and then delivered to 222 Squadron on 19th August 1943.
Flown in combat by South African pilot Flt Lt Henry Lardner-Burke, DFC (1916-1970, veteran of the siege of Malta, seven and a half kills, three damaged, retiring as a Wing Commander).
On the 27 August in the St Omar area over France, Lardner-Burke shot down a Focke-Wulf FW-190 and damaged a second during a mission to escort USAAF B-17 bombers.
On the 5 September 1943 Lardner-Burke in MH434 shot down another FW-190 in the Nieuport area, and on the 8 September 1943 claimed a half share in the downing of a Messerschmitt Bf-109G in Northern France.
MH434 was sent to 350 Squadron based at Hornchurch in 1944 and then returned to 222 Squadron flown by Flight Sergeant Alfred ‘Bill’ Burge. After 80 sorties MH434 was stood down in March 1945.
MH434 was sent for storage at 9 Maintenance Unit in 1945 and then moved to 76 Maintenance Unit for disposal in 1946.
In 1947, MH434 was bought by Royal Netherlands Air Force and served with 322 Squadron as H-105.
After a belly landing on May 7th 1949, MH434 went into storage and returned to Holland, flying again on March 10th 1953, and passing to Belgian Air Force as SM-41 on October 9th at the Advanced Pilot School at Koksijde and with 13 Wing at Brustem.
On the 26th March 1956 MH434 was purchased by airline pilot Tim Davies and brought back to the UK. Registered as G-ASJV, MH434 was moved to Stansted then Elstree for a full overhaul.
MH434 took part in its first movie, Operation Crossbow and later in ‘The Battle of Britain’ in 1967.
In 1968, MH434 was sold to Sir Adrian Swire who had the spitfire painted in 1944 camouflage colours with AC-S Squadron marking.
In April 1983, MH434 was sold to Ray Hanna (Nalfire Aviation Ltd consortium) with the first major re-build taking place 1994.
MH434 is flown in its authentic RAF 222 Squadron code ZD-B. The name 'Mylcraine' is that of 'Pat' Lardner-Burke's wife, and it bears his kill tally as of August 1943.
|SPECIFICATION (Mk IXb)|
|Length - 30ft 6in (9.3m)|
|Wingspan - 36ft 10in (11.23m)|
|Height - 11ft 8in (3.56m)|
|Engine - Rolls Royce Merlin 63|
|Power - 1,690 Hp|
|Max. Speed - 408 mph (656 km/h)|
|Range - 434 mile (699 km)|
|Cannon - 2 x 20mm Hispano|
|Machine Guns - 4 x 0.303" Browning|