Finlay Gordon-McCusker, Student Voices writer
One-hundred and twenty-one years ago today, Reginald Mitchell was born in Butt Lane, Kidsgrove. Many may remember his name from their history lessons; he was the man who invented the Spitfire!
What was the Spitfire?
The Spitfire was a plane, used a lot in World War II which helped us to win the war. It made its maiden flight in March 1936, and entered service in 1938.
In July 1940, it seemed as if we hadn’t a chance of winning the war. The Nazis had conquered much of Europe, and we were dramatically outnumbered. The Luftwaffe had more than 2,600 aircraft, and we had only 640. But our advantage was with the Spitfire, one of the most agile planes to grace the skies, and this helped us fight against heavier, slower German planes.
The Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain was one of the deciding moments in the war, we had to fight for our very existence. Hundreds of Luftwaffe aircraft were commanded to come to Britain. Their mission: to take out the RAF. However, they didn’t anticipate what was coming for them. We had a trick up our sleeve, which was of course the magnificent aircraft that is the Spitfire. This meant that the British had a huge challenge, but one in which we eventually succeeded. Churchill said ‘we shall fight with growing confidence and strength in the air’, and he was right, that is what we did. We did fight the Germans in the sky, and we fought them with our beloved Spitfire.
|R. J. Mitchell died in 1937 and never saw his invention in action|
During the war, the German strategy of trying to destroy our RAF proved unsuccessful, so they had to think differently.
In their quest to conquer Europe, they had used the strategy of ‘Blitzkrieg’, which translates to lightening war. It involved heavily bombing big cities in the hope that the governments would collapse at Hitler’s knees and surrender. They tried this on us, they dropped bombs on our capital, almost 30,000 of them, but we refused to give in. The fight went on!
One particularly well known place that was bombed, was parliament – the home of democracy. They destroyed the Commons, but that wasn’t a huge setback, MPs instead sat in the Lords.
In answer to my original question:
The Spitfire was one of the reasons we won the war, without it, we could’ve fallen victim to genocide and Nazism, but we weren’t. Instead, we have a pleasant present, and a bright future. Whilst the fact that we won wasn’t all thanks to Mitchell, without his Spitfire, it would have been far harder.
That is why I believe it is hugely important to remember Mitchell’s legacy, especially in my own area, for his invention helped to save us from a disastrous future.
Why it’s important to remember Reginald. J. Mitchell Reviewed by Student Voices on 14:50 Rating: