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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Scrapyard Spitfire taking shape
Martin Phillips
Spitfire engines require a 65,000 rebuild after every 500 flying hours
The spirit of the Battle of Britain is being kept alive in Devon.

Only about 12 of the original Spitfires from World War II are still flying in this country.

Now businessman Martin Phillips, 45, is in the middle of a five-year 700,000 project to get another one off the ground.

The Spitfire - to be called City of Exeter - will hopefully be heading into the skies in two years' time and Mr Phillips is seeking sponsorship.

The mission began when friends challenged him to fulfil a dream.

Thousands of spare parts, cannibalised from other Spitfires around the world, now line the walls of Mr Phillips' workshop in Langford, east Devon.

In a huge shed is the fuselage of 1944-built Spitfire RR232 which he found in Worthing.

It is a detailed restoration, a time capsule
Martin Phillips
It saw service with the South African Air Force, before being scrapped.

One of the wings came from a Spitfire which crashed near Exeter Airport - a fighter base during World War II - and lay for decades in a hedge near a pub.

Mr Phillips, whose restoration project is being helped by craftsmen Ian Johnston and Andy Elliott, reckons the finished aircraft will be 70% genuine Spitfire parts.

"It is a detailed restoration, a time capsule," he said.

He has three Merlin engines and has paid 70,000 for a new four-bladed wooden propeller.

The father of three is looking for backing to help with the restoration, and to keep the Spitfire flying.

"The engines have to have a 65,000 rebuild every 500 hours, and it will cost 54,000 to insure it to fly," said Mr Phillips.

Search for WWll Spitfire launched
13 Aug 04 |  Wiltshire
Spitfire landing remembers D-Day
06 Aug 04 |  England



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