The Spitfire Mk. VIII was going to use the larger Merlin engines so the airframe of the earlier Mk. V had to be redesigned. This kept the new mark from entering service until June 1943. The Mk. VIII was produced in 3 versions; the standard fighter F.VIII with the 1,560 hp Merlin 61; the high altitude fighter HF.VIII with the 1,655hp Merlin 70 and the low altitude fighter LF.VIII with the 1,705 hp Merlin 66. The Mk. VIII was going to be the answer to the Fw-190.
Flt. Lt. Norm Smithell was known by two names, Smithell and Turnbull. His stepfather was Turnbull so he took the name Turnbull. The 79th Squadron of the RAAF had been flying the pitfire for a few years and in February 1945 was based out of Morotai. In September 1945 Smithell had the Disney character Dumbo painted in bright pink on a white cloud above the port wing. Under Dumbo were the words “Hava Go Jo” referring to the Japanese Commander Tojo as a taunt to Japanese gunners.