A Royal Australian Air Force Spitfire wreckage from the Second World War has been gifted to the Northern Territory government.
FILE PHOTO (24 March 1943): Two Spitfires take off from an airstrip near Darwin. AWM 014484.
In 2016, Spitfire A58-2 was discovered in Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory, 73 years after it crashed in remote bushland on 30 June 1943.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Defence and the Northern Territory government had signed a Memorandum of Gift, transferring ownership of the wreckage.
“The gifting of the RAAF Spitfire wreckage recognises the Territory’s rich military history, particularly its deep connection with the air force and the air battles over Darwin,” Minister Reynolds said.
“I acknowledge the service and sacrifice of all who have served, and still serve, our nation in peace and war, and thank their loved ones who make their service possible.”
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the handover was an opportunity to reflect on the vital role our air force members played in protecting Australia during World War II.
“Spitfire A58-2 ran into difficulty while intercepting a Japanese raid, forcing its pilot, Flight Sergeant Colin Duncan, to bail out of his aircraft at high altitude and parachute to the ground,” Mr Chester said
“Flight Sergeant Duncan was stranded in remote bushland with severe burns for several days before he could be rescued.
“Today we pay our respects to Flight Sergeant Duncan and those who served with him in the skies over the Northern Territory.”
The handover coincides with the 76th anniversary of the last Japanese raid over the Top End in 1943 and the premiere of A Fiery Exit, a short film commissioned by the NT government about the crash of Spitfire A58-2.