Pat Murphy works on one of his Spitfire models at the museum.
Story and photos
BY MERV UNGER
The wild blue yonder has been a lifelong passion for Pat Murphy.
He’s had his head in the clouds since he was a four-year-old living on a wartime military base in Nova Scotia – if he was in the house and heard an aircraft, he’d drop everything and rush outside to watch planes take off and land.
It began there and sparked an interest that led to a hobby building models and creating one of the largest Spitfire dioramas in Canada, at the Vancouver Island Military Museum in Nanaimo.
He never forgot those
early years – the Y2-K Spitfire restoration project at the Comox Air Base in 2000 re-ignited his passion after he had settled in Nanaimo.
He’s been building model aircraft for more than 68 years, and in that time you
can run out of space, particularly when it’s in your home. As his display grew Murphy needed more room, so he contacted Roger Bird, president of the Vancouver Island Military Museum in 2009 and offered to donate the 30 or so Spitfire models to the museum.
That offer was warmly accepted by the museum which gave his models a spacious, attractive landing strip to display the model Spitfires. When you have a hobby like this, and there are more stories to tell, it continues to grow. Murphy
devoted himself to the museum and has added another 38 Spitfire models.
The display has room for two more models and he’s working of one now. Given that Canada operated 14 Spitfire Squadrons during World War II the subject
list of Spitfires that honours these young Canadian heroes is virtually endless. Murphy takes great pride, as does the museum, in honouring these great men.
The display at the military museum is considered to be the largest
in Canada that honours Canadian Spitfire pilots. The museum has developed a large reference file on Squadron activity and pilots’ logbooks. On numerous occasions Pat has helped families with information about a family member, where he fought or died.
VIMM shares information with other museums and model builders around the world.