A Spitfire named Manxman

This MkIIa aircraft, serial P7966, was one of the first to carry Wing Commander Douglas Bader’s initials on the fuselage. It was a Presentation Spitfire paid for with money given by the Manx Public and wore the legend ‘Manxman’ in 4 inch letters below the cockpit.

It was built at Vickers-Armstrong’s Castle Bromwich Factory and delivered to 45 Maintenance Unit on 24th February, 1941. Then it was issued to 616 Squadron as part of the Tangmere Wing on 23rd March, 1941, where it was flown by Wing Commander Douglas Bader up to July 1941. It remained with 616 Squadron until August 1941. (The aircraft that Douglas Bader bailed out of over France in August 1941 was a Mk Va Spitfire W3185 Lord Lloyd I).

Another presentation Spitfire which was paid for with money raised by the Manx Community was a Spitfire Mk Ia R7131. The name applied to this aircraft has not been confirmed; it is variously recorded as “Presentation Isle of Man” and “North Barrule”.