BM597 Spitfire Mk Vb in special 'Merlins over Malta' Colours
Related Notes by Caz
In the previous picture BM597 [G-MKVB] is shown in it's 'normal' colours of 317 Squadron RAF , however in September 2005 BM597 appeared in a special scheme for taking part in the 'Merlins over Malta' Project .
This Project was to fly a Hurricane and Spitfire over Malta for the first time since 1952, For the Duration of the Project BM597 was depicted as a Spitfire Mk V wearing the codes U-2 that was to join 603 Squadron.
This was to recreate the scheme used for Operation Calendar in 1942 when a consignment of Aircraft were transported to Malta on the USS Wasp. When the aircraft were put aboard the USS Wasp they were wearing standard camouflage schemes but on the deck of an aircraft carrier sailing through the Mediterranean these camouflage patterns offered no real protection. The solution was to paint the top surfaces of the aircraft blue. The paint was taken from the stores and applied to the aircraft with no definitive colour match because paint was mixed and watered down to ensure there was enough to go around.
The above Photograph was taken at Duxford on 10th September 2005 prior to the epic trip by Linda Chen .
For a detailed history see:
Spitfire Mk Vb, BM597 [G-MKVB] - City of St Albans Spitfire Squadron Page