Moffat is unique for all sorts of things: its dark sky status, having Scotland’s narrowest street and one of its shortest – but also for the Moffat Spitfire. We answer the why, what, where…
What is the Moffat Spitfire?
It’s a full-size, home-made model of the iconic, aerobatic aircraft sitting just casual in a regular front garden. Grounded but flying high on its celebrity.
The owner, Hamish MacLeod, a retired GP, was a former pilot who had a passion for this famous aircraft.
When Hamish was in Florida on an American airbase for an instrument rating and refresher course 28 years ago, he was given the opportunity to fly a spitfire and grabbed it with both hands. Hamish says, it’s ‘just as beautiful to fly as it is to look at’. He had it delivered in sections to his house in Moffat and put it together with the help of friends.
A fitting tribute to the second world war and all those who served in it.
Its vital statistics?
It’s an MK IX supermarine spitfire PT462, a Mark 9 with a Merlin engine and two radiators. An exact replica as it was in 1944.
Can anyone see it?
It’s on display for everyone to admire it. It has attracted many visitors over the years and raised thousands of pounds for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and other good causes.
What’s the connection to Moffat?
Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding, who was credited as masterminding the Battle of Britain in 1940 and known as the ‘architect of deliverance’, was born in Moffat.
Every year there’s a flyover by a spitfire in his honour – one of the highlights of Moffat’s calendar.
Will it remain in Moffat indefinitely?
Hamish has left it in his will to the people of Moffat and to the residents of Dowding House (the largest memorial to Dowding and a retirement home for ex RAF personnel) which will be its new base.
Dowding House was once a school which was founded by Dowding’s father and where Hamish taught as a medical student. Another memorial to Dowding stands in nearby Station Park.
Find out more about Dowding.
Visit the Moffat Museum for its Dowding the Man exhibition.
For more on spitfires
Head to Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum in Dumfries where there’s a fine collection of aircraft and run by enthusiasts who are passionate about historic aviation.
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