The General, the Cat and some Spitfire mysteries

After over a month of absence, I’m back with a couple of Spitfire profiles, and some questions ! Several years ago , I created a profile of the Spitfire Mk V “Général de Gaulle”, which I believed to be EN908.

The "Général de Gaulle" Spitfire, flown by Cne Emile Fayolle.
The “Général de Gaulle” Spitfire, flown by Cne Emile Fayolle.

A few days ago, I began working on the “Cat”, flown by Free French pilot François de Labouchere [NB: this is the proper spelling. Contrarily to what is often seen, Labouchere does not take an accent on the E], which is also reported to be EN908.

The "Cat" Spitfire, flown by Cne François de Labouchere.
The “Cat” Spitfire, flown by Cne François de Labouchere.

Although available photos of the “General” and the “Cat” do not show serial numbers, they are not the same aircraft. The “General” has the early-style external armoured windscreen whereas the “Cat” has the later, internal type. To the best of my knowledge, no aircraft was ever converted from one type of armoured windscreen to the other, so these two aircraft are necessarily different.

I discussed the topic with a friend who is quite knowledgeable on French Spitfires. He believes that the “Cat” is EN908, and doesn’t know the serial for the “General”.

The serial EN908 is certainly a possibility for the “Cat”. This aircraft was built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory and received by 37 MU on 13 May 1942. That puts its production right within the timeframe when production at CBAF was transitioning from external to internal armoured windscreens. This transition seems to have occured in May-June 1942 and was not clear-cut. For example, EP400 was equipped with external armour, whereas EP257 sported the later internal armour.

As a result, I’ve modified my earlier profile of the “General” and removed the serial number, as shown in this post.

If anyone has more information on any of these two aircraft, I’d be very interested in hearing from them.

I’d also be interested in any extra information regarding the transition from external to internal armoured windscreen at the different Spitfire plants.

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