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W3644

Mark VB Spitfire

The Lytham St. Annes Spitfire was a Mark VB Spitfire W3644 which was shot down by a FW190 whilst on escort duty during a bombing mission of Morlaix, France. In 2009 the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Display Team commenced the fundraising project to build a new RAF Memorial, which would feature at its heart a full scale replica of the Lytham St Annes Spitfire.

Completed in 2012 this Mark Vb Spitfire carries the original markings of W3644 along with the name of the Borough whom raised the funds as part of the Wings for Victory Campaign.  The Memorial is a tribute not only to the brave pilots who flew W3644, but also to mark the generosity of those local people that donated what little they had to the War effort.
Officially unveiled in August 2014 the Lytham St Annes RAF Fighter, Bomber & Coastal Command Memorial forms an impressive tribute to the brave RAF Aircrew and Groundcrew personnel who operated from the Airfields of the Fylde Coast.  The Memorial is located on the banks of Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.
During World War Two towns and villages across Britain embarked on various fund raising projects to help the War effort. The aircraft purchased under these schemes were named “Presentation Aircraft”. The residents of Lytham St Annes got behind Lord Beaverbrook’s “Spitfire Fund” campaign and pulled together as a community to raise a staggering £6,500 in 1941. The sum was matched by the Air Ministry and a Mk Vb Spitfire W3644 was built and allocated the name of “Lytham St Annes"

In 2009 to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Britain it was proposed that a permanent tribute of a full scale replica of W3644 be built as a memorial to the men and women of a RAF Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Command. Through donations from the general Public after three years £80,000 was raised and the Spitfire W3644 was lifted onto it’s mount on the 14 August 2012. There is an opprtunity for the Public to make donations at the site to help with the upkeep and future development of the Memorial site.

History


In 1941, the residents of Lytham St. Annes took part in the War Office Spitfire Fund saving scheme. Residents of all ages donated pocket money, savings and what spare cash they had left to help raise the £6000 needed for the Borough’s own Spitfire. The amount was matched by the Ministry of Aircraft Production and although £6000 does not sound a lot – by today’s prices it would have been the equivalent of almost £212,441 based on the Retail Price Increases since 1941 or a massive £735,441 based on the increase in the average wage from 1941 until today. The overall cost for a Spitfire was approximately £10,000.

The Spitfire was a Mark VB, given the tail number W3644. Although there has been some debate about this information being correct we have now had confirmation from the MOD and the Lancashire Archivists Office which confirm this with the original Air Minsitry documentation. Our research pieced together the background of the last mission of W3644. RAF Records show that on the 23rd June 1942 W3644 took off from RAF Hutton Cranswick on a Rhubarb mission escorting bombers on a raid over Morlaix in France. Following the mission the escort was bounced by Focke Wulf 190’s. W3644 did not return, her pilot, Sgt Alan Lever Ridings aged just 20 of 19 Squadron RAF is posted as killed in action. We have now traced the surviving family of Alan, sadly his sister Joan Selka passed away in 2014, but realtives still live in Bingley in West Yorkshire.

Displays: UK & Western Europe

We currently operate Three Spitfire Aircraft located at Blackpool Airport in the North West of England. We have MkII's and Mark IX's and we are able to cover all the UK and Western Europe.

If a date in our event calendar is already highlighted as booked, then please email, as this may relate to just one Spitfire Aircraft reservation.

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