By August 1941 the Eagles started to receive the first of their famous Spitfires, the MkIIa, which bore the brunt of their early cross-Channel offensive sweeps over Northern France, or ‘Rhubarbs’ as they were known.
The more powerful MkV Spitfire, developed to combat its arch-rival, the MeBf109F, began service with the Eagles in October 1941,and was the most numerous Spitfire variant produced during the war.
The Eagles continued to fly the MkV until their transfer to the U.S.A.A.F. in September 1942 when 133 Squadron was receiving its first MkIX. With a top speed over 400 mph, the MkIX. was more than a match for the Luftwaffe’s Fw190. For many Eagle pilots the famous ‘Spit’ remained forever their best loved fighter.