A World War I fighter aircraft belonging to The Shuttleworth Collection did see action in France the day before the Armistice it has been revealed.
Following recent research at the National Archives, it was discovered pilot Major Charles Pickthorn MC, destroyed a German fighter to the east of Chimay in Belgium, his fifth victory of the war.
It was believed for many years that the single-seater SE5a had not been in action.
However, evidence was recently discovered by Andy Preslent, deputy chief engineer of The Collection, which indicated that the plane had been issued to 84 Squadron in November 1918.
The National Archive holds 84 Squadron’s records including the Squadron Record Book and Major Pickthorn’s Combat Report.
These confirmed he was flying the aircraft on November 10, 1918, when he successfully destroyed a Fokker DVII.
Of the estimated 55,000 planes that were manufactured by the British aircraft industry and the Royal Aircraft Factory during the First World War, only around 10 remain in airworthy condition.
A substantial proportion of these belong to The Shuttleworth Collection, making it the world’s most complete collection of original airworthy World War I aircraft.