WW II pilot sees footage of his Spitfire crash-landing!

May 29, 2013 24 Comments by

Imagine you flew a Supermarine Spitfire out of an Allied base during WW II.  Now imagine you did a belly landing in one of those famous fighters and a flight surgeon from base captured the event on film. After the war, you and Doc visit, but lose touch decades later. You still remember the film, but you never saw it and after hearing of Doc’s death, you assume it’s MIA.

How, then, would you react when Doc’s descendants eventually contact you and show up at your home with the long-missing footage? If you’re John S. Blyth, you’re pretty darn surprised; to see his reaction and the fantastic story behind it, click the link below to view SPITFIRE 944, a Sundance Film Festival short film you won’t soon forget.

Debra Cleghorn, Featured News, Video Picks

About the author

Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

24 Responses to “WW II pilot sees footage of his Spitfire crash-landing!”

  1. Peter Laing says:

    Thanks for sharing! Excellent stuff!!

    • ian savage says:

      What a great piece of history, ……….a modest man that did a great job.
      My Father was a “chiefy” ( a Flight Sergeant RAF) stationed at Benson , Oxfordshire at about the time of this incident.
      I recall him telling me that their PRU machines were Spitfires, and Mosquitoes, stripped of all superfluous equipment such as the MGs or Cannons, and some of the armour that would have given some protection around the seat and front screen..
      Many of these brave men did not come back…………a dangerous mission indeed!

      Thank you for sharing, also a nice production, well done.

  2. Ralph Steeves says:

    What a great story, just love it.

  3. Eugene Christopher says:

    That is amazing.
    I’m all teared up right now.
    God Bless
    I have chills.
    I
    I do not know what to say.
    Love it
    Thank you for sharing this history.
    We should all be proud.
    Again
    God Bless.

    Eugene Christopher
    from Quebec,Canada

  4. Harold J. Coleman says:

    That is great. There is an error in the copy. The pilot made a belly landing, not a belly-up landing.

  5. dannawally says:

    Amazing bit of history. Thank you.

  6. David Rothbart says:

    Thank you, This was a real treat!

  7. Ron says:

    Thank you, Thank you. What a wonderful film you shared with us. What a wonderful, brave pilot-may God bless him!

  8. Frankie Eli Coburn Jr says:

    I love it. Great footage.

  9. Keith McLellan says:

    Excellent! Loved the video!

  10. Paul Giacalone says:

    All of our families sacrificed during the war one way or another. I felt as if I were watching my own grandfather. I especially love his reaction and the personal touch. Well done! What a magnificent little piece of history. Thanks so much for sharing that with all of us.

  11. Dennis R. Woodson says:

    Just an absolutely beautiful film, connecting aviation history with live survivors, great graphics..it should be shown in every movie theatre in US, including all Air Museums, and Europe..I want a copy!! I would love to see all the footage salvaged.a gold mine! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Colin Leighfield says:

    Absolutely brilliant. Very few people realise what the PR pilots, US and British, actually did and the PR Spitfires were supreme for the job. How many know that as late as 1951 Spitfire PR19s flying out of KaiTak in HongKong were doing high level photo reconnaissance over China in the Korean War? They were so good at altitude that the early jets couldn’t catch them high up. It’s not been highly publicised because some of it was in effect clandestine at the time. The pilot in this video is a hero, 51 missions to places over Germany including Berlin in an unarmed plane says a lot about how difficult the Germans found it was to catch these guys, even with the 262.

  13. jimmy mac says:

    God Bless Em Jimmy Mac

  14. Mack Easton says:

    Bravo! Well Done! Did some “photo-rec” in a different place, and aircraft.about 52 years ago.

  15. Terry B says:

    That was a amazing story.. My Favorite one that you have posted.. thank you so much.. How shocking it would be to see that footage after 60+ years for the first time.. Thank you !

  16. hans kleynhans says:

    this is one sweet video i feel that the people that took the trouble to share this with the origanal role player are to be commended for this, faboulous, HANS KLEYNHANS.

  17. mike moyers says:

    That was really cool! Thank you for sharing that

  18. Karl Schneider says:

    I too was teared up by this incredible film. My father’s brother worked on the recon P-38′s in the pacific. His actual plane photographed a city in Japan the day after something that ended the war with Japan. My cousin has been searching for information about his squadron. I have a couple photo’s of my uncle from those days. Maybe this will help.

    Just incredible this story is. One of the best I have ever seen!

    Well done! I hope the guys that made this film read our comments.

    Karl

  19. Tom Barratt says:

    Awesome ! More videos like this should be made and released for everyone can see. It is people like this that fought and died for this country. In the long run, they made this country the great country that it is today.

  20. Geoff Glass says:

    It’s a great story. I love his comment that every pilot should fly a Spitfire and savour how good it is.

    He sounds a really nice guy – humble yet courageous to have flown so many unarmed missions and survived them.

  21. Tim Kenney, Sr. says:

    These people are my heroes!
    Fabulous, my son has flown RC since he was 12, at 26 he has his first jet, an F-18 Super Hornet longer than he is tall, and he’s 6’2″. I can’t wait to get this to him! We love warbirds, he’s had two P51′s along the way, is an instructor with the Jeffco Aeromodlers. I flew with The Blue Angels in ’81.
    Blessings to you and yours, I’m so glad to find you online!
    Tim Kenney, Sr.

  22. Robert (bob) Dodge says:

    Fantastic !

    Bob Dodge – Port Lorne – Nova Scotia

  23. don says:

    fantastic story! A brave man and a great bit of footage to see!. You don’t hear a lot about spitfires used for recon, but there was some seriously brave pilots flying them. thanks again for sharing

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