A short history of JG 668
JG 668 was part of a batch of 800 Mk VIII aircraft ordered from Vickers (Supermarine) on the 23rd January 1942 under Contract No 1877/C23, and built as a LF Mk VIIIc as part of batch JG 646 – 695. Final assembly took place at the Chattis Hill dispersal factory , and the aircraft powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin MK 66, made it’s first flight in early 1944. JG 668 was among many Spitfire MK VIIIs allocated for use in Australia. Becoming the responsibility of the RAF on the 18th March 1944, it was delivered to No 6 MU at RAF Little Rissington , before moving onto the Packing & Preparation Depot at No 82 MU Lichfield on the 27th March 1944 for crating and shipment by Sea.
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JG 668 is recorded as leaving the UK on the 4th April 1944, and arriving in Sydney on the 19th June 1944. Allocated RAAF serial Number A 58 – 441 the Spitfire was with No 1 Air Depot at Laverton in Victoria on the 6th July 1944, but moved to No 14 Air Repair Depot at Gorrie in the Northern Territory on the 6th September 1944, moving again on the 23rd October 1944 to No 9 Repair and Salvage Unit at Sattler , Northern Territory, to 14 Air Repair Depot Replenishment Pool at Gorrie in November 1944, and then to six Air Depot at Oakey in Queensland on the 1st October 1945. The aircraft was stored initially as Category-C, later being down-graded to Category-E for disposal.
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JG 668 was taken out of RAAF service 22nd May 1946, and was allocated to the Department of Aircraft Production charged in November 1947 for final disposal as scrap, the last entry being on RAAF records in November 1948. A58-441 is not recorded as being issued to any operational unit of the RAAF, and saw very limited use in Australia, it had very few flying hours, these mainly being air tests and ferry flights between the various storage units, before being stored at the famous RAAF Oakey Air Base in Queensland where, in the late 1940’s, many Australian Spitfires were scrapped.
40 years later the hulk of this Spitfire was located by Ross Campbell on a farm near Oakey and thus started it’s long road to conservation. The remains of A58-441/JG 668 exchanged owners a number of times in Australia, being with Barry Coran of Melbourne, and then Ian Mastin of Hoppers Crossing between 1994 and 2004, when in March 2004 it was sold to a new owner in Oxford .
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The new owner of JG 668 kept the aircraft until September 2007 during which he made significant progress in repairing the Fuselage and collecting additional parts: including a Rolls Royce Merlin MK III engine. In September 2007 it’s new owners, The Pembrokeshire Spitfire Aeroplane Co., moved JG 668 to Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire. Where under the control of the Aviation Heritage Foundation it will be repaired to airworthy status. In January 2009 it was registered with the Civil Aviation Authority as G-CFGA; the first step on the long road to recovery.by