Spitfire goes from sand to the sky

One of the earliest Spitfires ever to go into action has gone on sale for £2.5 million after spending 40 years buried in sand on the French beach it crashed on, The Daily Mail reports

In 1980 the wreckage was discovered when part of it was spotted poking out from its sandy grave. It was corroded and covered in barnacles but amazingly still intact. The plane was dragged from the beach with the help of a bulldozer, but the plane fell apart in the process

Eventually the plane was bought by American billionaire philanthropist Thomas Kaplan, who had it meticulously restored to its original condition by a team of expert engineers.

Originally built at the Vickers Armstrong factory in Southampton, Spitfire P3974 was delivered to 92 Squadron at RAF Croydon in March 1940, one of the most celebrated squadrons in the RAF.

German soldiers sitting on the Spitfire brought down on the wet sands at Calais by Flying Officer Peter Cazenove. It had been hit by a single bullet from a German Dornier bomber. The plane was consumed by the sandy beach and remained there for 40 years

During Spitfire P9374's service with 92 Squadron it is known to have been flown by at least eight different pilots, and was almost certainly flown by the squadron's commanding officer Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, later 'Big X' of the Great Escape fame. Spitfires were occasionally painted pink to blend in with the sunset and sunrise when used for low-level reconnaissance flights.