A Spitfire that was shot down in a battle during World War Two is set to fly again after undergoing a 30-month, £3million restoration.
The NH341 was revealed at the Imperial War Museum’s Duxford Aerodrome at an event attended by war veterans and aircraft fans this weekend.
The aeroplane, which flew 27 combat missions between June and July 1944, was shot down over an area near Caen in France.
Its pilot, warrant Officer James “Jimmy” Jeffrey, survived the crash and managed to evade capture with help from the French.
Gerry Abrahams, 94, a former Lancaster pilot who served in the 75 squadron between 1944 and 1945, and was at the showcase, said “hearing the engine start made my heart flutter.”
“We can’t forget what happened in the war. So many soldiers lost their lives and young people don’t realise that, but they should,” he added.
Ron Dearman, 93, who flew a DC3 Dakota with the 267 Pegasus squadron during the war, added: “The Spitfire looks smashing. Everybody should know about these planes which helped us fight in the war.”
The plane, which had remained France, was bought three years ago by Keith Perkins, the owner of Aero Legends, a firm which offers the public the chance to fly in vintage.
The badly damaged body required 30 months and millions of pounds to restore it again.
Historic flying project manager Martin Overall said: “The plane came to us in July 2014. It was in a very poor state because it had been shot down and crashed quite hard.
“I have both enjoyed and cursed these challenges throughout the 30 month restoration.
“It is fantastic that individuals now have the opportunity to experience this awesome machine.”
The plane was due to take off from the Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire on Saturday but a carburettor issue meant its first voyage will be pushed back.