April 2022

Posted on Facebook by Alan Matlock – 22nd April 2022

After two of my recent “Building Spitfires Without a Factory” talks we have had two very special items donated by members of the audience. If you can add anything about either of them please let us know.

Firstly, after my visit to the Royal Aeronautical Society in Newport, IOW, an original Spitfire Fund badge was passed on. From 1940 onwards, badges were given to donors who contributed to a Presentation Spitfire Fund. These were set up to allow the public – in Britain and around the world – to ‘buy’ a Spitfire for a nominal £5,000. (See: https://fyldebbmfund.wordpress.com/gifts-of-war…/)

Planes were funded by individuals, companies, towns and cities across the country and abroad and each bore a name suggested by the donor. The name was to be marked, “in four-inch yellow characters on the engine cowling”, but, as long as the camouflage was not compromised this ruling was not rigidly applied.

The naming of the Presentation Spitfires prompted some imaginative thinking: “Marksman” was sponsored by M&S, “The Nippy” by Joe Lyons Tea Houses and “Fun of the Fair” by The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain”. “Dogfighter” came from The Kennel Club and “Counter Attack” from the NAAFI! “Dorothy” and “James” were named for donors who were called Dorothy and James and, my personal favourite, “Unshackled Spirit” was funded with money collected via the Red Cross from Allied POWs in Germany!

“Southampton I” and “Southampton II” were followed by another named “RJ Mitchell”. “Vectis” from the Isle of White and “The New Forest” were other locally funded Spitfires.

The second item, the Supermarine sheet metal worker’s instructions, was passed on after I gave a talk in Romsey this week. As with the badge, they had belonged someone’s father – who in this case was a Spitfire Maker working at Woolston. I am hoping to be sent further information about him in due course.

If you have a group who would like to hear Spitfire Makers chair, Alan Matlock’s talk, or if you have an item or a story that would help Spitfire Makers tell the story of The Many who built the planes for The Few to fly please get in touch: spitfiremakers@btinternet.com

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