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East Lothian- The True
Spiritual Home of the Spitfire

Spitfires - In the News

April 2014
Pilot who downed first Second World War plane to be honoured

A MEMORIAL commemorating the first German aeroplane to be shot down over British soil has been given the go-ahead for the Greenhills, between Prestonpans and Cockenzie/Port Seton. - Full article


Tribute to forgotten war hero at Prestonpans dentist

Pat Gifford A NEW Prestonpans dental surgery is expected to be named after a hero of the Second World War who brought down the first enemy aircraft over British soil in a battle in the skies above the town.
The new home for the Price and Crummey Dental Practice, under construction next to Lidl on High Street, is set to be named after Pat Gifford, the pilot credited with bringing down the first enemy aircraft of the war over British soil, a Junkers 88 sent to bomb warships in the Firth of Forth.

David Ostler, from Longniddry, has been campaigning for a memorial of the battle. "Pat was killed in 1940 during the Battle of France and his remains were never found," he said. "This is a fitting memorial for a man with no known grave.

"This event hasn't received much coverage and it is clearly overdue for a prominent place in history. Hopefully this will raise awareness of it.

"I'm delighted with the co-operation from the dental practice and from Prestonpans Community Council and East Lothian Council."

Mr Gifford, who led Red Section of the 603 Auxiliary Squadron in their attack on the bomber, was later given the Distinguished Flying Cross. The only other known memorial to him is at the public library of Castle Douglas, his home town.

Mr Ostler said that both the local authority and Prestonpans Community Council had voiced approval for the building being named after Gifford, while research is ongoing to find a suitable name for the affordable housing, being built as part of the same development as the dental practice.

The dental practice is expected to move into its new premises on September 2 and to begin accepting new patients in August.

List of Surviving Spitfires
Own one, not on the list?
Some 22,500 Spitfires and Seafires were built between 1938 and 1946 and almost 300 of them survive in museums and private collections around the world today. Approximately 50 Spitfires and Seafires are airworthy with another 20 currently undergoing restoration to flying condition. See the full list

Sky News 17th Feb 2013:
Burma Spitfire Mystery Solved
The hunt for up to 36 planes which many believed had been buried in Burma at the end of World War Two ends in disappointment. A group of archaeologists, historians and scientists have admitted defeat in a mystery which has spanned decades. Read more: Full Story

Daily Mail 18th Jan 2013:
Spitfire search questions
British dig team divided as they draw a blank in quest for lost fighters in Burma Read more: Full Story

The Guardian 17 Oct 2012:
Dozens of Spitfire planes to be excavated in Burma.
Agreement to dig up historic aircraft was signed by the Burmese government and an aviation enthusiast from Lincolnshire. Full Story

BBC Scotland 16 Oct 2009
The lawyer who shot down bombers
By day, Patrick Gifford worked as a lawyer with the family firm in a quiet south of Scotland town. But at evenings and weekends he was flying a fighter plane as an auxiliary with the Royal Air Force.
Full Story