Spitfire 944 is a short documentary featured in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in which an 83-year-old World War II pilot views 16mm footage of his 1944 Spitfire crash-landing for the first time, sixty-one years after the event.

Lieutenant John S. Blyth was flying with the United States Army Air Corps' 14th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron based at Mount Farm, UK. He began the war flying a Lockheed P-38 Lightning variant modified for photo reconnaissance work (United States Army Air Corps designation "F-5") His unit soon switched to the British Supermarine Spitfire Mk XI, which was better suited to high-altitude, low-temperature flight conditions than the American planes.

In October 2005, filmmaker William Lorton inherited two suitcases of 16mm home movies which his great uncle, James R. Savage, MD., shot while serving as a Flight Surgeon for the US Army Air Corps during World War II . The most compelling shot in the three hours of war footage was the crash landing of a Spitfire Mk XI fighter plane at Mount Farm Airbase in Great Britain. Being the flight surgeon at the base, Captain Savage was alerted to the impending accident and had the presence of mind to bring his movie camera to the landing strip.

Watch the film in it’s entirety below, its well worth the 14 minute investment

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during and after the Second World War. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war. It was also flown by the U.S. Army Air Corps for reconnaissance (Photo and Caption Credit).


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