Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX W/Cdr. - J.E. Johnson
Wearing full D-Day identification markings, Spitfire MK329 JE-J 'Junior' was the personal mount of RAF ace pilot James Edgar 'Johnnie' Johnson, one of the RAF's top scoring fighter aces of WWII and one who's impressive tally of 34 confirmed aerial victories was scored exclusively against Luftwaffe single engined fighters. Flying extensively in support of the D-Day landings, Johnson and the squadrons under his command would be employed in aggressively clearing the skies of northern France of Luftwaffe fighter opposition, something they proved rather effective at doing. In fact, by D-Day, Johnson was one of the most successful Allied air aces still flying operationally, with his victories showing no sign of abating. Johnson and his No.127 (RCAF) Wing were one of the first fighter units to be sent to operate from forward landing bases in France following the successful Normandy landings, which is where the unusual story of this particular aircraft comes from. It appears that Spitfire Mk.IX MK329 was something of a hybrid machine and not the one Johnson actually flew in combat, but more of a hack airframe.
It is reputed that once his unit had been sent to operate in France, he used this Spitfire to fly back to the UK on unofficial 'Beer Runs', returning to their temporary home with two beer kegs attached under the wing of his aircraft. This practice was frowned upon by the RAF top brass, so units came up with ingenious ways around the restrictions, using standard external fuel tanks which had been thoroughly w