40 hours since Ground-up Professional Restoration
40 hours since overhaul in 2014 by Vintage V-12s
Trig VHF Comm TY91
Trig Transponder TY92
4 Blade Dowty-Rotol with New Production Hoffman Blades
40 Hours SMOH
Built under contract by Westland Aircraft Ltd at Yeovilton as a Seafire LF.IIIC. Serial PP972 was ready for collection on the 27th September 1944. It was then issued to the Royal Naval Deposit Account (RNDA) on the 28th September awaiting collection for the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). PP972 is then known to have served with 809 (Naval) Squadron from November 1944.. 809 Squadron were destined to see service in the Far East and the squadron embarked onto the aircraft carrier HMS Stalker at Plymouth, Devon on the 29th November bound for Gibraltar and then Egypt, the Seafires then flew onto HMS Attacker.The carrier arrived at Dekhelia, Egypt and the Seafires disembarked, later they would be reunited with Stalker before setting sail to the Far East in March 1945 as part of the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron fleet. The fleet arrived at Trincomalee, Ceylon on the 20th March as part of the East Indies Fleet, 809 Squadron becoming part of the 4th Fighter Wing based at RNAS Katukurunda, Ceylon, PP972 acquiring the squadron code '06-M'. Here they spent the following month gaining operational experience of strike missions over the jungle terrain before re-embarking on the carrier during April for sea work and deck landing refresher practice before setting a passage to Akyab, Burma the assembly point for Operation Dracula. They left Akyab on the 30th April with assault convoys bound for Rangoon, Burma. Operation Dracula, for which the squadron was to provide support for landings which began on the May 2nd was somewhat of an anti-climax as the Japanese had already evacuated from the area but the Seafires were still operational however, carrying out air cover and support missions as well as bombing sorties against flak positions and coastal defense batteries near Thakutpin, Burma and performing shipping patrols.
Other Operations the squadron was involved with included: Bishop, these were air attacks on Japanese coastal bases. Balsam, June 1945. The 3rd and last of a series of photo reconnaissance missions over Malaya. On the 20th June the Seafires were engaged on offensive sweeps of Japanese held airfields at Lhokseumawe, Midan and Bindjai. Collie, July 1945. Providing air cover for mine sweeping operations in the Nicobar area of the Malayan coast. Zipper, August 1945. A deployment t o cover the landings in Southern Malaya. Jurist, September 1945. Providing air cover during the landings of Po rt Swettenham, Malaya and support co-operation on entering Singapore harbour for support of the re-occupation.
With its work done in the Far East orders to return home were received and from September 1945 the carrier set sail arriving in the Irish Sea on t he 21st October, B09 Squadrons new temporary home was to be at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland until squadron disbandment during January 1946. PP972 was then issued to 767 (Naval) Squadron in May of 1946 as part of No.1 Operational Flying School at RNAS Easthaven, Tayside before relocating to RNAS Lossiemouth, Grampian, Scotland later in the month. Milltown, Morayshire was used by the squadron as a satellite landing airfield and PP972 gained t he code 'MV' for Milltown and the fuselage code '120'. During its time here, it suffered a burst tire and cropped propeller when landing on HMS Thesus on the 24th October the pilot Lt J. C. S. Wright suffering no injuries.
A new life was to follow with the French Navy (L' Aeronautique Navale) becoming one of sixty five Seafires delivered during late 1948, PP972 was test flown by pilot Officer Equipages 1st Class Debrun on the 27th December 194B but suffered engine trouble, with a new engine fitted and several test flights later it was eventually ferried out and delivered to France in March 1949. It was Issued to No.1 Flottille at Hyeres and coded 'l.F-9'. On the 1st August 194B No.1 Flottille was split into two forming the No.12 Flottille and PP972 was re-allocated to this unit again at Hyeres and was re-coded as '12.F-2'
On 24 May 2012 PP972 was transferred to the workshops of Air Leasing Ltd at Bentwaters, Suffolk, on charter, to commence a final restoration to airworthy condition, and was registered in their name on 17 July 2012.
Painted by Represent Seafire of 880 (Naval) Squadron Fleet Air Arm Serving on HMS “Implacable”
Restored to a High Level of Authenticity
Total Restoration Completed in 2015 by Air Leasing (UK) to Current CAA Regulations. All Magnesium Rivets Replaced, New Cables, Wiring, Fabric, Plexiglass, Tires, Bearings etc, Radiators, Oil Cooler, Header Tank, Fuel Tanks were Overhauled. Complete documentation of all work and updates per current CAA Regulations.