A REPLICA Spitfire that has stood as gate guard at Edinburgh Airport has been spared in the airport’s re-development.
Spitfire ‘L1067’, finished in 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron markings and nicknamed ‘Blue Peter’, was installed as a memorial to the unit based on the site between 1925 and 1957.
It was the second time this decade that the Spitfire has been threatened with removal, but major works are now continuing around it. The Spitfire is the last obvious link between Edinburgh Airport and its past, as the site’s second runway was permanently closed last year as part of the development. That runway, 12/30, dates back to the Second World War when the site was known as RAF Turnhouse, home to a number of Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons including the Royal Auxiliary Air Force’s 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron.
On 16 October 1939, No.603 Squadron shot down a Luftwaffe Ju 88 over the Firth of Forth – the first aircraft to be destroyed over Britain since the Great War and arguably the first RAF victory of the conflict. The unit moved south and participated in the tail end of the Battle of Britain before converting to Beaufighters and seeing action in the Mediterranean.
In 1945 the squadron reconverted to Spitfires in the UK and flew sweeps over the Netherlands before disbanding in August 1945. Post-war, 603 re-formed and operated Vampires between 1951 and 1957.