The RAF Museum in Colindale is to host the auction of an airworthy World War Two era Spitfire aeroplane.

The plane, valued at around £1.5 million, will go to the highest bidder in April after its painstaking restoration by a succession of enthusiasts.

It is the firest two-seater Spitfire to be offered at public auction for more than 20 years and has been described by auction house Bonhams, which is running the sale, as an "historic warbird absolutely ready to fly".

The plane was built by the British Vickers-Armstrong company in 1944 and delivered to the RAF in Wiltshire.

It was later sold to the South African Air Force, in 1948, and in the 1970s it was rediscovered in a Capte Town scrap yard and rescued by the late aviation enthusiast Charles Church.

Over the following four decades it past hands two more times between enthusiasts, who completed the task of restoring it to its original condition, with the addition of a passenger seat.

James Knight, of Bonhams, said: “"We are greatly honoured to be entrusted with the sale of such a distinguished and historic aircraft.

"As Bonhams is the last of the great international fine art auction houses to remain under British management, the sale of an aircraft so linked to the history and very survival of our nation has enormous significance for us here.”