The last spitfires in Hong Kong | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

The last spitfires in Hong Kong

From the IWM:

Their notes:

Object description

Amateur film shot by Dick Labrum while serving with the Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (HKAAF) Film Unit, featuring the final flight of four Supermarine Spitfires of the HKAAF, including Spitfire F.24 VN485, now on display at the Imperial War Museum's Duxford site in Cambridgeshire.

Content description

"The Spitfire Mk1 first flew on 5 March 1936. Nineteen years later on the occasion of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1955, four Spitfires of the Hong Kong Auxilliary Air Force flew past His Excellency The Governor Sir Alexander Grantham G.C.M.G. marking the end of their service with British Forces." Preparations are made for the four Spitfires to display. The pilots dressing in the crew room. Fuelling Spitfires on the airfield apron. A list of the aircraft appearing in the flypast is displayed on a blackboard, including Austers, Harvards and the Spitfires. Pre-flight checks are performed and the four Spitfires prepare for take off. The Spitfires taxi out and take off one by one [Aircraft are: two PR.Mk.19 models PS852 and PS854, and two F.24 VN318 and VN485]. Aerial views of the Spitfires in the air and flying over land. Ground views of the Spitfires, Austers and Harvards appearing at the ceremony, witnessed by Sir Alexander. Air-to-air views of the Spitfires, during which one of the Spitfire lowers and then raises its undercarriage. Scenes inside Air Traffic Control. One by one the Spitfires return to the airfield. The film ends with VN485 being towed into a hangar and the hangar doors then closed, signifying the end of the Spitfire's flying career.

Physical description


Thanks to Bails for the link.


Video date: 21 April 1955. The march past and fly past took place at/over Gascoigne Road opposite the United Services Recreation Club (USRC). Geoff Cairns, Rufus Heard, Leo Strange and Adrian Rowe-Evans were the pilots of the last Spitfire flight. 


This is a wonderful piece of film but such a shame I couldn't get any sound with it.  Is it meant to have sound?  I tried everything but couldn't get it.  Not quite the same without the sound of those engines.

This 8mm was shot by Dick Labrum a member of HKAAF.The airborne bits were made from a Harvard flying with the spitfires.

Dick is in the film as the controller at Kai Tak for the take-off&landings.

This film was donated to Duxford by his son,Martin Labrum,who still resides in HK.


Looks like this photo was taken on the same day of the video.

Spitfires at RAF Kai Tak
Spitfires at RAF Kai Tak, by moddsey

There was one on "guard duty" at RAF Kai Tak as late as 1968 or,maybe,1969. Somewhere I have a photo of myself and my hosts, "of RAF Kai Tak" dressed up in mess kit

The gate guardian Spitfire, VN 485 at Kai Tak is on display at IWM Duxford.