The plane was flown by legendary German ace Adolf Galland and its was on this aircraft that he made his last flight on the Me 109
A rare Hispano Buchon, the Spanish copy of the Me 109G has been put up for sale by Platinum Fighters. The warbird is extremely rare as it is the only surviving two-seater in the world.
The plane was flown by legendary German ace Adolf Galland and its was on this aircraft that he made his last flight on the Me 109.
As explained by The Register Buchon HA-1112-M4L, registered G-AWHC, differs from a standard Me 109 in having a British-designed Rolls Royce Merlin engine fitted instead of the German fighter’s V12 Daimler-Benz powerplant. The aircraft itself was flown in the famous 1969 film Battle of Britain, the production of which directly led to the preservation of many historic WWII aircraft enjoyed by crowds at airshows today.
Of the full production run of 233 Buchons, just two were ever built as two-seaters. The first was powered by a Spanish Hispano-Suiza 12Z engine and was designated HA-1112-K1L but was later converted to -M4L specification, making G-AWHC “one of the rarest warbirds available in the market place today,” according to auction house Platinum Fighter Sales.
The Buchon was saved from scrap by retired Royal Air Force (RAF) Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie, who, after a wartime career that included service with the famous Pathfinders of RAF Bomber Command, became a well-known finder of Second World War aircraft for films of the 1950s and 1960s – to the point where he became aviation consultant for James Bond filmmakers EON Productions.
Noteworthy Buchon M4L was among the 115 warbirds that Mahaddie scrounged from sources including the Spanish Air Force. After the war, the Spanish had continued to use Buchons and even Heinkel 111 bombers, which were just what the makers of Battle of Britain needed for their aerial dogfight scenes.
Galland – a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and squadron commander who once sarcastically told Hermann Goering, when the Nazi air force chief asked if there was anything he wanted: “Give me a squadron of Spitfires!” – was recruited as a technical expert for Battle of Britain to advise on Luftwaffe flying tactics of the period. On the “opposite” side was retired RAF wing commander Robert Stanford-Tuck, who commanded 257 Squadron RAF during the latter part of the battle itself.
During filming, Galland, who was acting as a German technical advisor, took exception to a scene where Kesselring is shown giving the Nazi salute, rather than the standard military salute. Journalist Leonard Mosley witnessed Galland spoiling the shooting and having to be escorted off the set.
Galland subsequently threatened to withdraw from the production, warning “dire consequences for the film if the scene stayed in.” However, when the finished scene was screened before Galland and his lawyer, he was persuaded to accept the scene after all.
Towards the end of filming, one source recounts, Galland and Stanford-Tuck took G-AWHC up for a flight together, foes turned friends in the same aeroplane. Galland eventually named Stanford-Tuck godfather of his son.
According The Register Buchon M4L spent the next 45 years languishing in a barn in Texas once filming was finished, having been accepted as payment in lieu of cash by one Wilson “Connie” Edwards, who flew in the film as chief stunt pilot. Once Edwards eventually sold it on in 2014, the aircraft was restored to airworthy condition by UK-based Air Leasing.
The Buchon is up for auction starting at $6m plus VAT. More information is available on Platinum Fighter Sales’ website.
Photo credit: Platinum Fighters