Hunter Fighter Collection Incorporated, an Australian Not-for-profit was awarded $150,000 in funding under the Government’s ‘Saluting Their Service’ Commemorative Grants Program in January 2021 which enabled work to commence on the fuselage assembly of Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia X4009.

The grant will help restore the original aircraft of one of Australia’s leading fighter pilots from World War II, Clarence Paterson ‘Pat’ Hughes. The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire was flown during the Battle of Britain by Pat Hughes, who was among the top three Australian fighter aces during the war. During his last battle, 22-year-old Pat bailed from his damaged Spitfire and was killed when his parachute failed to open.

Nearly 80 years later, Pats’ recovered aircraft was acquired by Ross and Ann-Maree Pay, of the Scone-based Pay’s Group, vintage aircraft restoration specialists. Pay’s Group has since donated the aircraft to the Hunter Fighter Collection, a not-for-profit based in Scone and the aircraft will be made airworthy as a Flying Memorial to Pat Hughes. The fully restored Spitfire will form the centrepiece of the Hunter Warbirds aviation attraction at Scone Regional Airport and the Spitfire will be made airworthy

Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said that the Spitfire is an incredibly important part of Australia’s wartime aviation history.

“To have the restoration based here in Scone is a tremendous win for the New England and Upper Hunter,” Mr Joyce said.

“The project will honour one of our nation’s most distinguished wartime pilots and aviation heritage for current and future generations, ensuring fellow Australians have an awareness of the strong connection to our country’s military history.”

Pay’s Air Service Managing Director, Ross Pay, said the grant will assist in the rebuilding of the aircraft’s original fuselage which has been a great acquisition for the region.

“To have this aircraft end up here in Scone, it’s an amazing find really,” Mr Pay said.

The Saluting Their Service Commemorative Grants Program is designed to preserve Australia’s wartime heritage and involve people around the nation in a wide range of projects and activities that honour the service and sacrifice of Australia’s service personnel and promotes an appreciation and understanding of the role that those who served have played in shaping the nation.

The aircraft will be known as The Pat Hughes Flying Memorial. Hunter Fighter Collection Incorporated is located at Scone NSW and is a registered Charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and has ATO deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.

Content Credit, news report:- 23 January 2021.

Image Courtesy ‘The Hunter News’ : Hunter Fighter Collection awarded $150,000 grant to restore Spitfire X4009, Barnaby Joyce MP & Ross Pay Chairman of Hunter Fighter Collection.

A Donation of $2 or more to Hunter Fighter Collection Incorporated is Tax Deductible in Australia.