After a significant search for a suitable airframe, the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation (NSF) has just announced that they are embarking upon the restoration of a Supermarine Spitfire with Norwegian wartime provenance, with the goal of returning the aircraft, a Mk.IX with RAF serial PL258, to Norwegian skies in the next few years.
The NSF’s press release continues as follows…
The aim of the project is to bring to the attention of present and future generations the story of the Norwegian pilots and groundcrews formidable involvement in the Allied fight against Nazi-Germany during the Second World War.
In February 2018, and in cooperation with the Norwegian Defence Museum, the Norwegian journalist and aviation Historian Cato Guhnfeldt and Lars Ness, Chairman of the NSF, travelled to the Netherlands to try and track down the remains of any Spitfires flown by Norwegian pilots. Both Catoand Lars knew that they were looking for the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’, and perhaps 70 years too late. It was therefore quite surprising what they did find.
In Holland, the remains of Spitfire IX, PL258 FN-K, from RAF No.331 (Norwegian) Squadron – flown by Fenrik (ensign) Carl Jacob Stousland, was discovered. The aircraft landed on its belly in a field near the village of Tubbergen on the 29th of December 1944. The stories behind both the aircraft and her pilot are memorable.
The Norwegian Spitfire Foundation has now purchased the remains of PL258. These will form the core of a restoration and rebuild project, and the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK has allocated G-NSFS as a temporary registration. When the aircraft restoration is finally completed and test-flown, PL258 will be transferred to the Norwegian register.
NSF will own the project and promote it as it wishes. Already now during the restoration and rebuild process, PL258 will be used to tell the story of the Norwegian fighter pilots and the ground staff in the UK and on the Continent during WWII.
The restoration will for the most part take place at and be managed by the Aircraft Restoration Company in England.
The NSF already operate three significant vintage military aircraft on the European air show scene, P-51D Mustang 44-73877 ‘The Shark’, Noorduyn-built Harvard IIB (RCAF KF568) and a rare Noorduyn UC-64A Norseman 44-70515 which actually served in the Royal Norwegian Air Force at the tail end of WWII. With such a substantive level of experience in the operation and maintenance of these airframes, they will be well aware of the pitfalls and expenses involved in the effort they are now taking on. PL258 is therefore in good hands, and we wish them well with the restoration. We will be sure to continue our coverage of this important project!