A RESTORED Second World War Spitfire that was salvaged from the bottom of Loch Doon in Ayrshire is to go on display in Dumfries.

The recovery of the warplane that fought in the Battle of Britain was salvaged by divers in 1982 after a four-year search.

It will now go on show to the public at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, the commissioners of the salvage operation, which is 35 years in the making.

The aircraft and pilot of 312 (Czech) Squadron was on a training flight from RAF Ayr. While flying low over the water the pilot banked the aircraft after a wing came into contact with the loch.

The plane crashed into the loch, killing the Czech pilot.

A search and recovery operation at the time failed to find either the aircraft or the pilot.

Salvaging the plane resumed in 1977, commissioned by the museum — a registered charity and run entirely by volunteers.

They were aided by the Dumfries Sub-Aqua Club amongst others and the restoration exercise took several attempts to get right once it had been recovered, and the aircraft’s wings were replaced with replicas given how badly damaged they were.

Museum chairman and curator David Reid welcomed the addition to their gallery.

“When we first started, most of the bits and pieces we were recovering then were coming from wartime crash sites and this one looked a peach,” he told the BBC.

“We contacted the local diving club in 1977, just after the museum opened in the July, and they agreed to take on the task of looking for this.

“We were expecting them to find it the first weekend — they found a syrup tin.”

Four years later, the search was still ongoing after “countless hours of diving”.

“They finally found it in 1982, probably just by feel, because the silt at the bottom of Loch Doon is several feet deep,” added Reid.

“They actually bumped into it, I think the engine was the first part they found.”

That was just the start of another long journey towards its restoration.

The fuselage was then finished by a Yorkshire-based aviation expert but he was unable to restore the wings when poor health got the better of him.

Extra funding was eventually secured by the museum, however, and now that the aircraft sports a new set of wings, it is now able to go on show.

“If you ask anybody in the UK or probably worldwide to name the most famous World War II aircraft — depending on which side you were on, it is almost certainly going to be a Spitfire,” said Reid.

“It was the greatest World War II fighter, really.”

“Hopefully within the next couple of years we will be able to let people actually sit in a genuine Battle of Britain survivor,” he added.

Even though the exterior is almost fully restored, allowing visitors to sit in the aircraft is being hampered due to its interior still requiring a significant amount of repair work.