Pupils’ Spitfire replica to honour brave pilot

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College students are building a full-sized replica Spitfire in honour of a former pupil who flew the plane during the Second World War.

Ratcliffe College has been gifted the remains of Spitfire P9503 which were dug up on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, in September 2013.

The last pilot to fly the plane was former pupil, Paul Baillon, who was shot down by enemy aircraft on October 27, 1940. Pilot Officer Baillon successfully bailed out of the Spitfire, over Andover, before it crashed near Upavon.

Just weeks later Plt Off Baillon, who attended Ratcliffe College from 1923-32, was killed after he was shot down over the Solent.

Last month the college was presented with the dug up remains of Plt Off Baillon’s Spitfire and have since been working on a project to build a full-size replica, using any parts from the remains in the build, as part of a permanent display. Several companies and individuals have given tools, materials and cash to help with the build.

Dominic Berry, the college’s head of art and design, said: “The Ratcliffe Spitfire project has been very enthusiastically taken up by the students but it’s a long process. It’s my sincere hope to have something substantial to roll out for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain later this year.”