Earmarked for Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, in which it never participated, a Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vc lies disconsolately on the seabed off the coast of Qala, Gozo.

Designed as a single-seat short-range, high-performance interceptor by R. J. Mitchell at Supermarine Aviation Works in 1936, the Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft, with over 20,000 units built. The aircraft incorporated all the most advanced features – variable pitch propeller, all-metal semi-monocoque construction, retractable undercarriage, and enclosed cockpit; however, it achieved uniqueness through its elliptical wing, which solved the problem of housing eight machine guns and a retracted undercarriage, while still providing enough strength to withstand the stress of high-speed manoeuvres.

On 30 June 1943, the first Spitfires, tasked with providing coverage of the invasion fleet during Operation Husky, landed on the newly constructed aerodrome site at Xewkija/Ta Lambert in Gozo. This marked the first occasion where an aircraft safely landed on the island. On that same day, a Spitfire from the 308th fighter squadron of the 31st Group and Twelfth Air Force, having departed from Korba, Tunisia, was en route to Pantelleria and Gozo. The aircraft was last contacted by radio, and a missing aircraft report lists it as having been lost as a result of crashing into the sea. The pilot remains missing.

The wreck site of the Spitfire was discovered during a side-scan sonar survey in April 2021. The aircraft is located upright on a sandy seabed at a depth of 72 metres.

Virtual tour – https://underwatermalta.org/discover/spitfire/


War Grave

Open to Divers through Registered Dive Centres and Clubs

Maximum Depth: 72 metres


Virtual Experience

Skip to content