Completed at Supermarine’s assembly plant at Chattis Hill in Hampshire in early March 1942, Spitfire VB BP873 made its first flight on the 7th of that month before embarking in the SS Empire Heath merchant vessel bound for Gibraltar in early April 1942. By the middle of the month BP873 had arrived in Malta, the strategically important Mediterranean island that had been under siege by Axis forces since the summer of 1940.
In June 1942, BP873 was allocated to the newly formed No 1435 Sqn RAF, a day fighter unit based at Luqa, and the only RAF flying squadron ever to be allocated a four-digit number. Given the code “V-Y” — V denoting the squadron and Y the Spitfire’s individual identity — BP873 became one of the regular mounts of Flt Sgt Allan Scott, who arrived on the island having flown a Spitfire off HMS Eagle in July 1942.
Scott was soon thrown into the thick of the action over Malta, and by the end of October 1942 had accounted for five enemy aircraft destroyed, including an Italian Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero bomber and four Messerschmitt Bf 109s, in addition to several claims for a number of other “probables”. Spitfire BP873 fared less well, however, and was damaged beyond repair after a forced landing at Takali following combat with enemy fighters on October 16, 1942.
Scott was awarded a Distinguished Flying Medal for his service in Malta, the citation concluding that he had “exhibited the greatest courage and determination to engage the enemy”. Returning from the Mediterranean at the end of 1942, he went on to become an instructor at a fighter training unit and flew Mustangs on bomber-escort and ground-attack sorties in 1944, later becoming a maintenance unit test pilot, transport pilot and air traffic controller until his retirement from the RAF in 1976. Allan Scott died in September 2020, but not before being reunited with his favourite type, the Spitfire, flying in a two-seat version for the celebration of the RAF’s centenary in 2018.
This beautifully finished 1/22-scale hand-carved model wooden is hand painted in the colours it wore while on strength with No 1435 Sqn on Malta, including the unit codes “V-Y” and fitted with the distinctive Vokes “chin”-mounted filter adopted by Spitfires in the Mediterranean theatre.
The inscription on the base reads:
Supermarine Spitfire VB (Trop) BP873
Flt Sgt Allan Scott DFM
No 1435 Sqn RAF
Malta, October 1942