GMA transfers to 709 squadron at the School of Naval Air Warfare at St Merryn, Cornwall,

for a Ground Attack ,Air Combat and Air Strike Course in Seafire III aircraft.

The Supermarine Seafire, or Sea Spitfire (the official name), was a naval development of the Spitfire, and was the first modern carrier based fighter fielded by the Royal Navy. Primarily developed for carrier use, the Seafire incorporated changes such as a tail hook, attachments for catapult use, and on later variants, folding wings. The Seafire was not the ideal carrier fighter and especially landings were difficult; but its performance outweighed the disadvantages. The Seafire had a short range, but its fast climb and agility made it a very good Fleet defence fighter.

The modifications of the Spitfire did change the Seafire's characteristics somewhat. Approaches were difficult, visibility was limited at best, landing gear collapses were commonplace, and, the arrester hooks had a tendency to miss and bounce back into the fuselage frames which buckled the airframe. More were lost to breaking their landing gear in hard landings than to all enemy causes. As a low-level fleet defence interceptor, the Seafire was supreme, but it paid a price with its fragility.

Broken landing gear?

The next major version of the Seafire to enter service was the Mk F III in November 1943. This was the first version to be fitted with a folding wing which allowed below deck stowage for the first time. The initial batch of the Mk F III were quickly replaced by the Mk L III with the low rated Merlin 55 M engine. Over 1000 of these aircraft were produced. The FAA also had a requirement for reconnaissance and converted a number of Mk II and Mk III aircraft for this role by adding a pair of f.24 cameras. It was in this role that the Seafire was most successful.


GMA in front of a Seafire at FAA museum Yeovilton October 2010

The Restored Cockpit of a Seafire Mark III

GMA returned to RNAS Inskip (living in a farm house with MCA) & soon is asked to return to St Merryn

GMA in front of a Spitfire at Duxford in July 2010