A special Second World War Spitfire is winging its way back to Hendon for the first time in almost 20 years.

The fighter plane is being returned for a special exhibition at the Hendon RAF Museum after being on display in Manchester since 1995.

Having seen action during the Second World War, the plane was specially modified with clipped wings to be used for photographic reconnaissance missions from 1946 to 1948. 

Experts spent four days painstakingly dismantling the wings, nose and tail of the historic aircraft before it was transported to the Aerodrome Road museum on Sunday.

The delicate operation to remove the plane from the ‘Air and Space Hall’ at the Museum of Science and Industry blocked a main road in Manchester as it was hoisted out of the museum and onto the back of a lorry.

The Spitfire will form part of an exhibition on aerial photography at the Hendon RAF Museum later this month before being sent back to the Manchester museum.

Ian Thirsk, head of collections at the Hendon RAF Museum, said: “It has been an honour for us to share this iconic aircraft with the people of Manchester.

“We now look forward to its return to the RAF museum where it will be part of a joint exhibition with English Heritage - Britain from Above – which highlights its capabilities within the role of aerial reconnaissance.”