Spitfire they unearthed after 40 years goes under the hammer

A restored Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1A is unveiled outside the Churchill War Rooms in central London.
A restored Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1A is unveiled outside the Churchill War Rooms in central London.
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A RARE Spitfire which lay buried on Calais beach for 40 years is on display in London to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of France and Britain before being auctioned off for charity.

The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1A P9374 is one of only two in the world restored to their original specifications and still airworthy. Both are being donated by Thomas Kaplan, an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, with each estimated at between £1.5m and £2.5m.

The model outside the Churchill War Rooms will be there until July 9 and will then be auctioned off at The Exceptional Sale for the RAF Benevolent Fund and Panthera, a wildlife conservation charity. The other model will go to IWM Duxford, part of the Imperial War Museum. Visitors to the War Rooms will be able to see the aircraft up close.

The fighter has a captivating history having been shot down over Calais in the Second World War. Flying Officer Peter Cazenove was forced to land on the beach after being hit by shots from a bomber on May 24, 1940, and spent the rest of the war as a POW. The plane remained on the beach, gradually consumed by the shifting sands, until re-emerging in 1980.