Spitfire AA810 is one of the rarest of the breed, and was typical of the other aircraft on the unit in that it was flown by a number of different pilots through its operational history. These men differed vastly in their backgrounds and their achievements, but were all united in a common goal flying for the same cause and all exposed to the same risks.
As the earliest known example of a surviving PR.IV Spitfire, AA810 had a significantly longer career then most of the other aircraft on the unit, completing some 14 long-range operational sorties during the 6 months it was in service during World War 2. With a range some 4 times that of a standard Mk1 Spitfire, AA810 would often spend up to 5 hours in the air, and never really less than 4 hours, with the vast majority over hostile country. The Operational Record Book for 1 PRU shows that AA810 crashed with 49hrs and 47 minutes of operational flying making it the highest front line houred machine of all the surviving flying Mk1s.
When the aircraft was recovered in July 2018, some 70% of the aircraft remained intact either at the wreck site or in the immediate local area, making this one of the most substantial recoveries in recent decades. With the site largely covered in snow for the most of the year and what wasn’t covered in snow being submerged in a peat bog, the level of preservation was superb, including a lot of the rubber fittings.
The aircraft is now undergoing a full restoration to flying condition and will incorporate a significant amount of original material. A few elements of the aircraft that are not suitable to be used in an airworthy rebuild are being incorporated into various memorials to Alastair and the other men of the PRU and these will appear as they are completed.