TF-51D “Contrary Mary”, G-TFSI
Established in 1942 the 83rd Fighter Squadron was initially equipped with P-38 Lightning’s and assigned to RAF Goxhill before moving to its permanent home at RAF Duxford. The primary mission was the long range escort of B-17 and B-24 bombers over occupied Europe. In mid- 1943 the squadron along with the rest of the 78FG replaced their P-38’s with P-47 Thunderbolts, then again in 1944 transitioned to P-51D Mustangs. The transition to the Mustangs gave the squadron the range needed to escort the heavy bombers all the way to Berlin, as well as engage in fighter sweeps and attack airfields, bridges, railroads and other targets of opportunity.
Originally G-TFSI flew in the colour scheme 55th Fighter Group. Capt. Frank Birciel’s “Miss Velma”
44-84847 was one of the last Mustangs constructed at North American’s Dallas Plant. Photographic evidence exists of 44-84847 serving with the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Sqn. At Kimpo, South Korea in 1951. At that time 44-84847 was shipped back to the U.S to serve with the Air National Guard. In 1999 44-84847 was under restoration in North Dakota. The following year she joined The Fighter Collection and subsequently moved to a new owner Anglia Aircraft Restorations Ltd and now wears the colour of the RAF Duxford based ‘Contrary Mary’.
Built too late to see combat service in World War Two, P-51D 44-84847 was one of the last Mustangs constructed at North American Aviation’s Dallas, Texas, plant. Details of her post war service career are limited, but there is photographic evidence, from September 1951, of her serving with the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Kimpo, South Korea, during the Korean War.
By late 1951 the 45th TRS were replacing their aging Mustangs with RF- 80 Shooting Star jets, and so 44-84847 was shipped back the US to serve with the Air National Guard until around 1956. Around this time she slips off the radar until January 1999 when she re-appears in North Dakota as a restoration project. The airframe moved to Chino, California for a full restoration with the decision made to modify her to two-seat TF-51D configuration.
Operator: Ultimate Warbirds Manufacturing date: 1945 Serial number: USAAF Serial n°: 44-84847 Livery: USAAF, 84th Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group USAAF Station 357 (Duxford, GB). 1945. Pilote: Lt Col Roy B Caviness.