Sunday, September 12, 2010

Development of the Spitfire

My father worked in WW2 at the Royal Air Force in England and worked with Spitfires (among other planes).
So when I heard a movie was starting at the BBC about the development of the Spitfires I sat down and watched it, together with one of the girls.

It appeared to be a movie from 1942, directed by Leslie Howard, with Lesie Howard himself, David Niven, Rosamund John, Roland Culver and many others.

Knowing that a whole country has been saved by Spitfires gives a special aspect to watching this movie.

But now we know that in fact it was the utter dedication of Reginald J. Mitchell that really saved Great Britain.
He was motivated by his wife to keep on brging his ideas to the attention of those people who could enable him to built the plane.
Ofcourse they didn't want to get involved at first.
Like with so many great ideas that are pushed aside because people can't think outside their frame of mind.

But someone was convinced and wanted to take the risk, and so the whole development was set in motion.
Witnessing the Germans boasting about destroying England, already before WW2 Mitchell felt a strong inner urge to create a plane that was even better than the one he already had developed. One which could land on land.

When he heard that he either had to stop working altogether or would die in about 8 months time, he decided for the last option, because he was convinced his country needed the Spitfire to be strong enough against the Germans.
He was able to see it fly before he died.

Southampton Airport is one of the places where Spitfires were based.
They want to rename the airport into: R J Mitchell International Airport in his honor.
It's unknown of it will ever happen, but fact is that Great Britain should be more aware of the men who saved the country at the cost of their own lives.


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