It is the iconic aeroplane of World War II. Now a planned memorial to the Spitfire in the city where it was developed has secured funding.
Having been awarded £3m by the British government, the charity behind the memorial, the National Spitfire Project, has said it hopes to unveil the monument by 2022.
The Spitfire was designed by Reginald Mitchell at the Supermarine factory in Southampton in the mid-1930s. A prototype flew from Eastleigh Aerodrome, now Southampton Airport, in March 1936.
Although Mitchell died the following year, his successor Joe Smith developed the fighter further, making it faster and more powerful.
At the height of the Blitz, the production facility at Southampton was bombed. However, aircraft manufacturing continued at Castle Bromwich near Birmingham.
Even before the end of the war, the aircraft’s prowess became legendary. It quickly secured its place as an emblem of the country’s defensive might during the Battle of Britain.
The winning design for the statue was announced in 2010, but the scheme failed to attract funding, until now.
The 40m-high monument will depict a Spitfire in flight, on top of a steel mast designed to look like a vapour trail. The memorial will be at the heart of ongoing development of the city’s waterfront.
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