04 June, 2021

Top G7 VIPs are to lend young apprentices a helping hand on iconic Spitfire rebuild.

132 Squadron of Spitfire Mk Vb’s                                                    photo www.imperialwarmuseum.org.uk

                                  On 9 June 2021, senior G7 representatives will visit the Trelonk estate in Cornwall, to assist a young team of apprentices and aviation engineers engaged in the reconstruction of the 'St. Ives, Cornwall' Presentation Spitfire.

In December 1941, following 15 months of determined fundraising by the local community, the St. Ives Spitfire fund reached its target of £5,000, enabling the construction of Spitfire BL709 'St. Ives, Cornwall' in early 1942.

BL709 spent its life in the service of 340 Squadron, with 13 'Free French' pilots at its controls taking part in 49 missions. On 12 June 1942, less than 6 months into operations, the plane was struck off following severe damage sustained during a raid. Despite its short career, the plane remains an immense source of pride for the local community of St. Ives.

Founded in 1919 and a former partner to Vickers Supermarine on Spitfire production, The Parnall Aircraft Company is rebuilding a historically accurate non-flying recreation of BL709. With the cockpit and fuselage largely complete, focus is now turning to riveting the aircraft's elliptical wings, a job on which the team hopes to receive VIP assistance on during the visit.

The aircraft is being built as a monument to great British design and the people of St. Ives, however, PAC's Founder & CEO Mark Parnall is keen to point out that the project is not only a celebration of the past:

"Through the Parnall Foundation's apprenticeship scheme, this project has provided opportunities for young engineers to develop their skills for the future and become qualified Aviation Engineers, under the tutelage of world-class experts".

As well as the aircraft itself, The Parnall Aircraft Company will be unveiling a sculpture by local Cornish artist Eleanor Steele. The piece has been specially commissioned to celebrate the aircraft's unique relationship with the local community who enabled its original construction.

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