The ‘Roseland’ Spitfire – Restoration Update

Photo by Peter Handley, Vintage Wings of Canada

Photo by Peter Handley, Vintage Wings of Canada
Photo by Peter Handley, Vintage Wings of Canada

On Tuesday, November 11th, Vintage Wings of Canada in Gatineau, Quebec attached the freshly restored starboard wing to the newly arrived fuselage of their Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX. This was a significant step forwards in the completion of the ‘Roseland’ Spitfire, formerly known as ‘The Y2-K Spitfire’.

The Roseland Spitfire is based upon the battered remains of Spitfire HF Mk.IXe TE294. TE294 joined the RAF in June, 1945; too late to see combat in WWII. She went on to serve in the post-war South African Air Force as serial 5519, but suffered a gear collapse in a landing accident at Waterkloof Air Base in January, 1951. Judged beyond economic repair, the forlorn Spitfire ended up in spares recovery soon afterwards, and shuffled off to a Cape Town scrap yard by 1955. Slowly picked apart over the following decades, little remained but the all-important Frame 5 by the time the South African Air Force Museum collected her bones, and transported them to their famous Snake Valley storage yard in the late 1970s. A businessman named Mark de Vries acquired TE294 in 1981 with the intention of restoring her to flying condition. When he relocated to Canada in the late 80s, TE294 came with him, and settled at the Comox Air Force Museum in Comox, British Columbia. Slowly, her fuselage came together again, but neither de Vries nor later, the museum, had the financial resources to finish the job. Vintage Wings of Canada entered the picture in 2009, and the project has moved forwards relatively quickly since then. The team in Comox finished the fuselage earlier this year, and shipped it out to Gatineau for an unveiling in September.

A British company had initially worked on the wings, but their efforts were far from adequate, so Vintage Wings cancelled the contract and brought the project home to Gatineau and into the capable hands of Vintech Aero Structure’s lead engineer, Ken Wood. Virtually nothing of the work carried out in Britain was useable, so Wood had the wings stripped down completely, and rebuilt them using new spars originally slated for Vintage Wings’ Mk.XIV project, along with a lot of newly-fabricated parts constructed in-house. Now that the starboard wing is finished and attached to the fuselage with the port wing soon to follow, Vintage Wings is considering the final paint scheme. The aircraft will wear the markings of a 442 Squadron (RCAF) Spitfire coded Y2-K. Flight Lieutenant Arnold “Rosey” Roseland flew sixty five ops in Y2-K, sadly losing his life in combat over St. Martin de Mailloc, France on July 13th, 1944. Vintage Wings of Canada hope to have TE294 flying again sometime in 2016. She will be a fine testament to Roseland’s sacrifice, along with all the other brave Canadian Spitfire pilots who gave their lives in freedom’s name.

For more information and to find out the happenings at the museum visit Visit www.vintagewings.ca

All photos by Peter Handley, Vintage Wings of Canada.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Good to see this coming together. I knew Mark de Vries who struggled for years to make some progress with this rebuild.

    I heard that he died not long after emigrating to Canada with the aircraft – sad to hear.

  2. Remarkable story and I wish everyone the very best with the re-build. What a pity she will never see South Africa again, but perhaps she will visit AirVenture in Oshkosh so that the South Africans can view her once again.

    Regards,
    Athol

  3. Can’t wait to see it fly ,I’ve been following the restoration for quite a while .I’ve got a challenge coin with this Spitfire on it from Vintage Wings. Good luck with the project.

  4. Hi, I’m doing a spitfire IX virtual project. Do you guys now the deflection (angles of travel) for ailerons/rudder/elevators and trim tabs for the Mk. IX?

    I can’t find this info anywhere on the internet.

    Cheers!
    /Robert

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