AN iconic aircraft of the Second World War has travelled the length of the country to take pride of place at its new home on Portland.

If you thought you saw a Spitfire on a lorry making its way to Portland yesterday, you weren’t imagining it.

The replica Spitfire is the latest blast from the past being unveiled at the Castletown D-Day Centre.

After making the long journey from the GB Replicas workshops in Norfolk the Mk IX arrived at the D-Day Centre.

Derek Luckhurst, owner of Nemesis Properties, and the force behind the heritage centre project in Castletown at the Admiralty Buildings, said: “What a beauty. It’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to get it painted and suspended from the ceiling of the museum.

“We conceived the idea about nine months ago and thought it would be the pinnacle of the museum. We wanted something very symbolic of the British contribution to winning the Second World War, bearing in mind of course that the focus of the museum is the American 1st Infantry Division which embarked for D-Day from Castletown in June 1944.”

The arrival was a magical moment for curator Stephen George who has dedicated much of his life to the research and study of military history.

He said: “We were looking to buy one and I rang around and found a company who could build one for us.

“We have had to move everything out in order to get the Spitfire in.

“Unloading and manoeuvring the full size replica aircraft from the lorry into the centre was not easy but with the keen help of our volunteers we were able to get the job done.

“Thank you to all involved and especially Louis Saunders of David Watson Transport.

“Also, a huge thank you must be said to Stuart and Stefan Bailey of GB Replicas for their advice and hard work over the past months.”

Mr George said the formal opening of the heritage centre will be in March this year which is when the spitfire will be unveiled to the public.

He said: “There’s still a lot to do in terms of painting it and getting it raised. We’re very passionate about building something permanent to commemorate what went on here.”