This book presents a fresh angle on the Spitfire by examining the contribution to its development and achievements by over 65 people – some famous, others not – ranging from politicians to pilots.
Published to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, this book presents a fresh angle on the Spitfire by examining the contribution to its development and achievements by over 65 people, some famous, others not. Without the courage and tenacity of some leading political and military figures and the hard work of lesser-known mortals, there would have been no Spitfire, no Battle of Britain and no ultimate victory in 1945. Many people in positions of power played their part in the ultimate success of the Spitfire, but a few staked their reputations on a radical design that brought together the best in British design, technology and ingenuity. This book tells many significant individual stories.
– Political people: Sir Winston Churchill (voice in the wilderness and wartime leader), Air Marshal Sir Wilfred Freeman (senior champion of the Spitfire in the Air Ministry), Lord Beaverbrook (Minister for Aircraft Production).
– Design and development people: Reginald Mitchell (chief designer 1934-36), Joe Smith (chief designer 1936-47), Jeffrey Quill (test pilot), Ernest Hives (Rolls-Royce experimental head and key player in the design of the Merlin engine), Sir Stanley Hooker (mathematician and Merlin engine developer), the ladies of Vickers Supermarine at Trowbridge (factory workers).
– Operational people: James ‘Johnny’ Johnson (highest-scoring Spitfire ace), Henry Cozens (first squadron commander), Geoffrey Wellum (youngest Battle of Britain pilot), Douglas Bader (Spitfire wing leader and inspirational disabled pilot).
– Experimental people: Tony Martindale (RAE Farnborough test pilot), Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown (chief naval test pilot and the first man to land a Seafire on an aircraft carrier).
– Heritage people: Ray Hanna (Old Flying Machine company), Carolyn Grace (the only female owner/pilot in the world), Phill O’Dell (chief test pilot at Rolls-Royce and Spitfire display pilot).
– Published to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.