Built at Castle Bromwich as a single seat low level LF Mark IX fighter, The Grace Spitfire served in the front line of battle throughout the last twelve months of WWII. ML407 is currently in the colour scheme as she was when delivered on 29 April 1944 by a famous lady A.T.A. pilot, Jackie Moggridge, to 485 New Zealand Squadron at ALG Selsey to Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton DFC, with Squadron letters OU and Johnnie’s personal insignia letter V (for Vicki his wife to be).
In 2014 the Grace Spitfire celebrated the 70th Anniversary of being taken on charge (into action) on 29 April 1944, in addition to the 70th Anniversary of D-Day when on 6 June 1944 (D-Day) Johnnie Houlton flying his Spitfire OU-V (ML407) was accredited with shooting down the first enemy aircraft (a Junkers 88) over the Normandy beach head just south of Omaha Beach. ML407 did a total of 176 operational sorties, predominantly ground attack, amassing over 320 combat hours whilst in the 2nd Tactical Air Force (TAF) going from 485 New Zealand Squadron in December 1944 to 341 Free French, 308 Polish, 349 Belgian, 345 Free French, 332 Norwegian Squadrons, returning to 485 New Zealand Squadron at the end of the War. Miraculously, ML407 did not suffer any major structural damage during this time.