RAFM Spitfire Journeys to Kuwait

Kuwaiti Ruler, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah pictured with an RAF Spitfire, May 1944. (photo courtesy of the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum)

Kuwaiti Ruler, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah pictured with an RAF Spitfire, May 1944. (photo courtesy of the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum)
Kuwaiti Ruler, His Highness Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah pictured with an RAF Spitfire, May 1944.
(photo courtesy of the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum)
The British Royal Air Force Museum has sent their Supermarine Spitfire XIX PM651 to Kuwait as as part of the agreement inked between the RAF Museum and the Kuwait House of National Works in 2011 during the Kuwaiti 50/20 celebration (50 years of Kuwaiti independence and 20 years since liberation after the First Gulf War). The goal of that agreement was to showcase and strengthen the close historical links that have benefited both nations and stretches back many decades.

The plane’s first stop on its Kuwaiti tour had it placed on display in one of Kuwait’s most popular shopping malls along with an exhibit documenting the role the RAF has played in supporting and defending Kuwait over many years. The Spitfire’s relationship with Kuwait and the mutually-beneficial relationship between the two nations can be traced back to World War Two when donations from Kuwaitis and from the expatriate British within the kingdom paid for 10 Spitfire aircraft for Britain’s war effort.

Arrival of the Spitfire at Al Mubarak Airbase, February 2013. (photo courtesy of the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum)
Arrival of the Spitfire at Al Mubarak Airbase, February 2013.
(photo courtesy of the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum)
PM651 is a photo reconnaissance model of the Spitfire, recently restored by the RAF Museum-Cosford and was air-freighted to the Al Mubarak Air Base at Kuwait International Airport before being shipped on two flatbed trucks to the mall escorted by a convoy of over 200 classic cars and motorcycles loaded with enthusiasts eager to catch a glimpse of the legendary machine.

The exhibition, put on with the assistance of the British Embassy was opened by His Excellency Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Sabah, Minister of Information; His Excellency Frank Baker, British Ambassador; and Air Vice Marshal Peter Dye, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum. The plane is intended to remain in Kuwait for an indefinite period and will next appear at the British Embassy’s Queen’s Birthday Celebration at the end of this month.

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