Originally shared by Lord Anubis

The Phoenixes of Dunkirk- Spitfire P9374 and Hurricane P2902

The RAF played a crucial role during the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940, fighting the Luftwaffe and bombing German troops and tanks with often high losses.They also changed from a peacetime force that stuck to the rules into a force that was constantly evolving, improving tactics, formations and other things that would give them the edge over the Luftwaffe.

During the evacuation, the RAF lost 145 aircraft. The epitome of these aircraft can be found in Spitfire Mk. Ia P9374 and Hurricane P2902. Both were lost in May 1940 and were recovered, rebuilt and are now flying again over 7 decades after they were lost.

Spitfire P9374 was delivered to 92 Squadron in March 1940 and was assigned to Pilot Officer Peter Cazenove, though other pilots would fly it. After several training flights P9374 were in action over northern France and on May 23rd 1940 Pilot Officer Desmond Williams used her to destroy a Bf-110 and possibly two others during a dogfight off Boulogne. The next day Peter flew P9374 from Hornchurch, southern England and engaged Dornier Do-17s of KG77 of Calais. It seems that a gunner hit the engine and disabled P9374 and so Peter had to crash land on the beach at Calais, saying “Tell Mother I’m OK. I will be back in a few days.” however, he was captured and spent the rest of the war as a POW. In 1980, the aircraft was discovered and Peter was told it might have been his Spitfire. Unfortunately he died in December of that year, just before the identity was confirmed. It was rebuilt by Mark One Partners and in 2011, after a three year restoration, she flew again.

Hurricane P2902 joined 245 Squadron on 19th May 1940. With only 8 hours flying time, it took off on 31st of May 1940 with Kenneth McGlashan at the controls. As he prepared to attack a pair of Bf-109s, he was attacked by five more and Kenneth had to put P2902 on the beach at Dunkirk. After failing to set fire to it, he left the Hurricane and was soon evacuated on-board the paddle steamer Golden Eagle. In 1989, P2902 was discovered and was put in a museum in Dunkirk. However, in 1994,work was started on restoring her. Kenneth McGlashan said that if he “hadn’t put her down on the beach so gently there’d be nothing to restore!”. After being transferred Aircraft Restoration from Hawker Restorations in 2016, she flew again in 2017 and first appeared at IWM Duxford’s Flying Legends in July 2017.

This story was from an idea from Military Rollíns – thanks for the idea!

This story is dedicated to all who were involved with these two planes’ stories and to all who were affected by the Dunkirk evacuation as a whole.