Twelve Spitfires are assembled during a photo call for IWM Duxford's Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon exhibition 221221 CREDIT PA IMAGES, ALAMY
Twelve Spitfires make up the display, a number of which have been loaned out by private owners (Picture: PA/Alamy).
Aircraft

Collection of Spitfires to go on display at former base

The Imperial War Museum Duxford said the new display will be "largest exhibition of these historic aircraft".

Twelve Spitfires are assembled during a photo call for IWM Duxford's Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon exhibition 221221 CREDIT PA IMAGES, ALAMY
Twelve Spitfires make up the display, a number of which have been loaned out by private owners (Picture: PA/Alamy).

A dozen Spitfires are to go on display at the place where the first operational squadron of the planes flew from.

The Spitfire, with its elliptical wings and powerful Rolls-Royce engine, is famous for its role in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The 12 aircraft, of varying marks, will go on show at IWM Duxford in Cambridgeshire as part of the museum's exhibition – Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon.

Curators said they were able to bring the 12 planes together thanks to a number of private owners who loaned their Spitfires to the museum for the duration of the exhibition.

The first Spitfire was flown into RAF Duxford in 1938, where it was received by the base's number 19 Squadron.

The museum says it still has the largest range of different Spitfire marks anywhere in the world.

It said the new exhibition, in its AirSpace hall, will be the "largest exhibition of these historic aircraft".

Watch: A naval Spitfire was gifted to military charity Navy Wings last week.

Alongside IWM's own Mk Ia Spitfire, which is one of few remaining airworthy Spitfires to have seen conflict in the Second World War, there will also be Mk V, Mk IX and Mk XIV Spitfires among others.

IWM curator Adrian Kerrison said: "The Spitfire became synonymous with hope and protection as the threat of German invasion loomed heavy over Britain.

"The aircraft captured the hearts of the home front to such an extent that members of the public from across Britain and the Commonwealth would dig deep into their own pockets to fund their production, and the love for them has not subsided since they were first produced.

"It's a great honour for us at IWM Duxford to know that we were not only the location from which the first operational Spitfire squadron flew, but that now we can bring together so many of them in one place for the first time and enable visitors to get up close and learn more about this icon of victory."

Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon will be open to visitors to IWM Duxford from 27 December.