The RAAF Museum at Point Cook, Victoria has today unveiled its newest addition, a Spitfire MK VIII LF replica, A58-492.
Gifted by Friends of the RAAF Museum, the Spitfire replica is on display outside the Museum to represent an Mk VIII Spitfire operated by Number 79 Squadron in the South West Pacific Area of operations during World War II.
The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, thanked those who made the new display possible and said it was both a fitting tribute and an important addition representing an important era in military aviation.
“The display is the result of great support by the Friends of the RAAF Museum and corporate donors. It will take pride of place outside of the RAAF Museum where Air Force personnel and visitors can acknowledge the achievements by 79 Squadron,” Air Marshal Davies said.
“The Spitfire was flown by 79 Squadron between 1943 and 1945, during World War II, where five pilots were lost to enemy action. The Spitfire will serve as a reminder of their courage and commitment for visitors to the Museum,” Air Marshal Davies said.
David Gardner, Director of the RAAF Museum said it had been a big but very rewarding task to get the project completed.
“We have received such amazing support from the Friends of the Museum who have worked tirelessly to make this project happen,” said Mr Gardner.
“They, the Friends, have also had donations from various sponsors including Rolls Royce, the RAAF Association (National, State-Vic and Ballart sub-branch), and other smaller donors.
“Without the support and donations of our generous sponsors this project would not have been possible.”
The full size replica, weighing almost approximately 1500 kilograms has been purpose built for the Museum from fibreglass, taking into account the extreme weather conditions that Point Cook experiences. Manufactured in the United Kingdom by Gateguards, the replica had to be dismantled to be shipped to Point Cook before being reassembled and placed on a 2.7 metre high pole.
After disbanding in 1945 at cessation of hostilities, No 79 Squadron reformed in 1962 operating Mirage fighter aircraft, only to disband again in 1988. The Squadron reformed gain in 1998 and today is located at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia and operating the Hawk 127 lead-in-fighter trainer.
The Museum is currently closed for renovations, but reopening on October 4 to the public.