The Lost and Found Saga of Spitfire 944 – & its WWII US Pilot

Watch as a U. S. WWII Photo Reconnaissance pilot reacts to a film’s display of himself that was taken 70 years earlier – in Great Britain.  Footage he didn’t even know existed,  and that he’d obviously never seen before.  The drama of this short documentary as it unfolds is unforgettable.

For our readers, this may come as a surprise:  That any U.S. pilots flew one of the two British fighter planes, the famous Supermarine Spitfire in particular, that waged the heroic and successful air defense of GB during the Battle of Britain; a battle, had it been lost, that would have made the defeat of the English Empire by the NAZI war machine a certainty, forever changing the path of world history as we know it.

This period was near the end of an era known as Great Britain’s “DARKEST HOUR,” named as such because it appeared that Britain was precipitously close to being crushed by Adolf Hitler’s NAZI Third Reich.

NOTE: Go to the bottom of this page to see the official trailer for the “DARKEST HOUR,” a currently popular film (numerous Academy Award Nomination already) about that crucial period in GB and primarily about its uniquely unorthodox leader, Winston Churchill, a man with glaring personal defects, who nevertheless proved he was more than able to lead his nation to victory over the massive juggernaut of Nazi Germany’s war machine.  While this feature film, “DARKEST HOUR” will not show you the fabled Spitfires in action, it will show you the actual dynamics of what went on behind the closed doors of Number 10 Downing Street and in its labyrinth of secret underground chambers during those crucial days and hours of England’s darkest times.

Without further ado, here below is the unique, Sundance Film Festival Award-Winning story about the young American Pilot – – – and his compatriot Army Air Forces Flight Surgeon, who liked to use his 16mm movie camera to record events around him at his airfield in GB.  He shot his footage in order to show his family back in the U.S. what his life was like during the great war.  It is a specific segment of all this amateur 16mm footage around which the documentary revolves.

The people behind the Sundance Film Festival decided to dig up a short honorable mention winner from 2007 and put it up on YouTube. Called Spitfire 944, the film shows WWII Photo Reconnaissance pilot, now retired USAF Lt Col. John S. Blyth, telling his personal story and then reacting to footage of a crash landing he made all the way back in 1944, a film that he had never seen before.

Director and Producer William Lorton and Jason Savage decided to create the documentary when they accidentally found WWII Flight Surgeon Jim Savage’s (Lorton’s great-uncle and Savage’s great-grandfather) vintage stash of 16mm footage taken during the war and long forgotten in Dr. Savage’s California attic.

The below Video includes that long “lost” footage, and it is included in the following short video documentary that won an award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 – it is 14:38 in length.

Below is the official Trailer for the new movie, DARKEST HOUR.

The above Spitfire story is thanks to FASF Aviation Scout, Virg Hemphill.

Another Spitfire story from Virg Hemphill:

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