Iconic Roseland Spitfire was on display at CH2A Museum

Updated: Jul 27, 2018

by Sylene Argent

Coming from a family of aviation enthusiasts, Pilot David Hadfield has been air-bound since the age of 17. He’s had a career that has spanned over 40-years. With being the brother of astronaut Chris Hadfield and the son of the pilot who was the first to work out of the Sarnia airport in 1958, there are certainly many interesting stories shared around the dinner table.

  Hadfield is currently experiencing flying a plane few others have. Last Friday, Hadfield proudly displayed a rebuilt WWII Spitfire at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in Windsor, which was a great way for the local museum to not only show off an interesting piece of history, but to also raise awareness about what the Museum has to offer.

  The Spitfire was rebuilt in Canada, which makes it the first one to be built in this nation. It was painted to commemorate Pilot Arnold Roseland, who flew with the 442 Squadron. He was shot down in Normandy in July of 1944, Hadfield explained. Roseland is buried in France.

  The Spitfire, Hadfield continued, was recovered from a South African scrap heap in 1981. “It went through a long path to restoration,” Hadfield said.

  Michael Potter of Gatineau, Quebec obtained the aircraft in 2008. After extensive restorations, the plane took its first flight around a year ago.

  The Canadian Historical Aircraft Association contacted Hadfield about making a stop in Windsor as its President John Robinson learned the Spitfire and its pilot would be traveling to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the annual Fly-In Convention.

  Hadfield noted the Spitfire is a plane that is quite maneuverable and looks after him while traveling up and above. He said it is an honour to fly it.

  On Saturday, Hadfield visited the Essex Memorial Spitfire. He said it was great to have the memorial plane established in memory of local WWII Spitfire Pilot, Jerry Billing, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 93.

  The Canadian Historical Aircraft Association was a fitting place for the iconic Spitfire to be displayed. Museum Curator Nicole Hutchinson said the hangar is a portion of what was originally a flying training school in 1940.

  The program in Windsor was 12-weeks in duration, she said. Those who made the cut, would be sent to a service school before being sent to England for yet more training. Those who did not make the cut as a pilot became navigators or filled other aviation-related roles, she said.

  There are currently seven planes on display at the Museum.

  For more information about the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association, log onto

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