A photo-reconnaissance blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’, which toured the country last year in tribute to the NHS. Credit Aircraft Restoration Company

WWII

Spitfire: In The Skies For 85 Years

The aircraft is celebrating the 85th anniversary of its first flight

A photo-reconnaissance blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’, which toured the country last year in tribute to the NHS. Credit Aircraft Restoration Company

On March 5th, 85 years ago, the Spitfire took to the skies for its maiden flight.

The first flight took off from Eastleigh Airfield in Hampshire, and now, famous for the dog fights in the skies with German aircraft during World War Two, the aircraft has become iconic.

While coronavirus restrictions are still in place around the UK, the anniversary is being marked with virtual events from the Imperial War Museum and Army Flying Museum.

Above image: Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia P9368 'QV-K' of No. 19 Squadron being rearmed between sorties at Fowlmere, September 1940. Credit Imperial War Museum.

IWM Duxford 

Imperial War Museum Duxford is home to the biggest range of Spitfires in the world and on Saturday, March 6, will be taking audiences on a virtual tour to discover more about the designs and inner workings of the Spitfire.  

The first Spitfire was flown to, what was then, RAF Duxford in 1938, and the No.19 Squadron were the first to be equipped with the new Spitfire. 

Liam Shaw, Events and Experiences Co-ordinator at the Imperial War Museum spoke to BFBS Radio presenters Richard Hatch and Verity Geere about what people can expect in the virtual tour. Liam also spoke about the importance of the spitfire, he said:

“It’s a hugely important aeroplane, certainly to the British and Allied war effort.”

The 60 minute talk will allow audiences to delve into how the Spitfire was developed, with information on everything from how the aircraft began, to the design, which Liam briefly touched on. He said:

"It has beautiful curved wings that can't help but stir a bit of emotion and catch the sunlight." 

Tickets are available to book through the Imperial War Museum website. 

Army Flying Museum

Spitfires served at Middle Wallop for 17 years from 1940 until the station was handed over to the Army Air Corps in 1957. With that in mind the Army Flying Museum, which is based in Middle Wallop will be paying tribute to the iconic fighter plane. 

As part of the museum's Lockdown Lecture series, which have covered a range of topics relating to the museum, there will be a special lecture all about the Spitfire.

Paul Beaver is the Vice President of the Spitfire Society and will be leading the lecture followed by a chance to ask questions about the legendary aircraft. 

The lecture is happening 5th March at 7pm and is free for anyone to view on the museum website.