The Most Famous Aircraft Ever Built:
the RAF Supermarine Spitfire
And you Can Help Buy One for the Royal Air Force!
A typical poster urging people to contribute to the local Spitfire Fund.
(Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum)
The Supermarine Spitfire became a symbol in its time for resistance against the Nazis. So greatly did the Spitfire capture the heart and minds of the English speaking peoples that fundraising campaigns to buy Spitfires were commonplace in Great Britain, the British Empire, Commonwealth and even the United States during World War Two. Local governments, companies, newspapers, unions, fire and police units, youth groups et al, sponsored campaigns to raise money to buy Spitfires for the RAF.
Supermarine, the company which designed and built the Spitfire, had specialized in building amphibious planes prior to World War Two, hence the word ‘marine’ in the name of the company.
Just any fundraising campaign today, items were on exhibit to draw a crowd. In this instance it was a crashed German JU 88 dive bomber.
(Photo courtesy of http://s14.photobucket.com/user/GLASGOWMAN/media/07090063.jpg.html)
This is what the crowd came to see, although the one on exhibit had crashed. Here is photo of JU 88 dive bomber over France in 1942. ‘JU’ indicates the plane was built by the Junkers Aircraft Company which produced a number of planes for the Luftwaffe.
(Photo courtesy of the German National Archive)
Since Spitfires only cost approximately £5,000, not a huge sum for the era, hundreds of Spitfires were “bought” for the RAF through these campaigns. The money you gave was a contribution, not a war savings bond or stamp which paid interest until redeemed.
The Belfast Telegraph’s Spitfire Fund captured the public’s imagination like no other campaign and raised £88,633 — the equivalent to £2,886,800 in today’s money — for fighter planes to take on the Nazis during World War II.
(photo courtesy of Belfast Telegraph)
The Belfast Telegraph, a major newspaper in Belfast, Northern Ireland then and now, raised enough through its Spitfire Fund to purchase 17 Spitfires for the RAF all of which were given names of towns and cities in the vicinity of Belfast.
A fascinating article from the Telegraph on their Spitfire Fund in World War Two was coincidentally published on 1 February 2014 and you can read it here:
Spitfires at work. Six aircraft of 65 Squadron in starboard echelon formation somewhere over England circa 1941.