View Full Version : Is the guy who designed the Spitfire forgotten??

03-15-2006, 05:20 PM
Hi all,

R J Mitchell designed the Spitfire despite being diagnosed with cancer. He took a medical break in Germany and saw the development of the Nazi war machine.

Despite medical advice he returned to England and worked non-stop to perfect his design. He died in 1937 one year after the first Spitfire flew.

This guy has no official recognition in Britain. Maybe our top footballers today have more medals.

Just my thoughts....

Bst Regards,

03-15-2006, 05:23 PM
My question, does the design come from him? or maybe it has been influenced by foreign fighters like the AVG 30's series for example? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Good thread.

03-15-2006, 05:30 PM
Is the guy who designed the Spitfire forgotten??

Not by us!

03-15-2006, 05:41 PM
Indeed! And not by those who had fight his design, either....nor those who were priveledged enough to be able to fly it. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

03-15-2006, 05:53 PM
Not forgotten by anybody with brains.



03-15-2006, 06:22 PM
He didn't agree with wind tunnels...

Can you imagine? He drew all that by eye and instinct and got it so...right.

Awesome talent. Not forgotten round here.

03-15-2006, 07:46 PM

A guy in the Movie Maker's forum did a movie as a tribute. I forgot the name, but it was quite good.

* _54th_Speeder *

03-16-2006, 12:25 AM
Originally posted by SithSpeeder:

A guy in the Movie Maker's forum did a movie as a tribute. I forgot the name, but it was quite good.

* _54th_Speeder *

The name of the avi file was "Mitchell-Maximum Bob 09 Aug 2005".

03-16-2006, 12:53 AM
No, Mitchell's not forgotten. The film about his life, 'The First of the Few' (?) is quite often on the box. Leslie Howard, David Niven etc.

On the other hand Sidney Camm, who designed the Hurricane and a whole host of other Hawker aircraft, is. Only the aero-minded have heard of him.


03-16-2006, 01:23 AM
In every book I have seen, Mitchell is mentioned. At least here in Norway, anyone with an interest Spitfires will come across his name.

Then again, there‚‚ā¨ôre a lot of children today growing up not even knowing there was a big war. Worst example I have come across was a 30-something spoilt brat. On vacation in France he was sick and tired of being dragged around to se various historical and cultural sites. When the cemetery at Verdun was mentioned, he said:

"Look, we have already seen the bloody war cemetery."

Reply - "Not this one, this is the WWI cemetery."

What, you mean there was two World wars?

03-16-2006, 01:57 AM
I salute R J Mitchell but design of the complexity of the Spitfire invariably requires teamwork and we should not forget his assistant, Mr. Joseph Smith, who took control of the design office at Supermarine and continued to design all the future Spitfire marks.

ref: http://www.spitfiresociety.demon.co.uk/spitdev.htm

03-16-2006, 02:14 AM
There was an outstanding FB-video some guys did honoring R.Mitchell's work but I lost the link. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

03-16-2006, 02:20 AM
just found it


03-16-2006, 03:31 AM
I seem to remember he went to Austria for treatment, not Germany - I might be wrong.

There was a recent re-showing of the BBC South 1976(?) TV programme on Mitchell's achievements. Fascinating to watch and listen to Douglas Bader and Stanford-Tuck discuss fighter tactics etc. Great show, factual, accurate and fast-paced, not dumbed-down! TV companies don't make programmes like that now.

And Mitchell is acknowledged as 'The Greatest Midlander' and there is a statue of him in Stoke-on-Trent, his home town. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/local_heroes/g_m/mitchell.shtml .

And, there is another statue in the London's Science Museum - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4251182.stm .

But I do agree that there needs to be a national (UK) acknowledgement to Mitchell.

03-16-2006, 03:51 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/353.gif Mitch (http://www.rjmitchell-spitfire.co.uk/index.asp)...never heard of him.. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

03-16-2006, 09:01 AM
I hear ya Avro, sure WE in this community know who he is, but how about some actual, big time recognition? He's right up there with Churchill in my opinion, its time the British government showed some recognition.

03-16-2006, 09:44 AM
He is only recognised as a Hero of Great Britain and has movies and hundreds of books about him. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

But true, he should recieve an official award along with the Lancaster, MOssie and Hurricane makers.

I guess the feeling is, did he do any more than the average Joe who gave his life for his country in WW1 or WW2? And if Mitchell got a award shouldnt everyone who gave theur life for their country?

I dunno its a tough one, but I agree, a great man.

03-16-2006, 09:55 AM
In Weymouth we have a Weather vane with a small replica of the S6B floatplane pictured above.. it was a memorial to Wing Commander George Stainforth who was educated in weymouth who set a world air speed record in the S6B.

I will take a photo of it if anyone is interested at all

Black Sheep
03-16-2006, 10:19 AM
To be honest, I think you could make a similar argument for many others; how many outside of aviation circles in the UK could name Sir Hugh Dowding or his accomplishments, for example ? - yet one could argue that without his foresight and vision, Britain may have fallen during the summer of 1940.

Unfortunately, such people tend to be forgotten and are only remembered by those with an active interest in the fields they moved in.

03-16-2006, 10:28 AM
Of course, without Joe Smith the Spitfire would have been obsolete by 1940; but nobody remembers him.

But then that's history for you.

The list of unsung heros is so long as to defy description.

03-16-2006, 10:36 AM
Best docu quote about him: "Mitchell's 'pretty little toy' was about to teach the Luftwaffe a new game."


03-16-2006, 02:48 PM
No more heroes anymore.

Unless you think you should include celebrities, footballers, chefs etc

03-16-2006, 04:24 PM
very valid point grue... and i think this is cause for concern, our politicians are at best spineless and at worst corrupt, we have no major role models to look up to, everyone thinks the pursuit of money is what life is all about, it doesnt take inventing something or heroism or even any real talent or craftmanship to become famous or in the position to be a role model these days... just talk in rhyme over an electronic drum beat or alas some other act of total inconsequence...

...ah well as long as there are the white cliffs and green fields of England I can dream of a better era

03-16-2006, 04:37 PM
What did Mitchell receive in recognition of his efforts? His son stated recently that he was too modest to seek recognition. That generation has gone forever perhaps. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

Best Regards,

03-16-2006, 04:57 PM
I live in a small village/town called Werrington in Stoke-on-Trent (UK) about 5 miles from R.J. Mitchell's birthplace in Butt Lane, Talke, Stoke-on-Trent.

Here he is remembered in various ways. This statue is located outside the Potteries Museum in Hanley. It was unveiled in 1995. I took my eldest son, then 5 years old, with me to see it unveiled and to watch the Spitfire flypast.


His house still exists and is remembered by a commerative plaque:



It is darker house of the two.

This plaque adorns its exterior:


There is also a road in Tunstall named "Reginald Mitchell Way" that has profiles made of concrete, set in its sides, of the Spitfire and also of his other famous design, the Supermarine Walrus air-sea rescue aircraft. Unfortunately the road is not exactly in a picturesque area of the City and is not ,IMHO, a fitting memorial at all.

In 2003 Mitchell was also voted the "Greatest Midlander" (the "Midlands" being the UK term for the part of central England which includes Stoke-on-Trent) thankfully beating off competition from the likes of Ozzy Osbourne!!!

On the whole I think its safe to say that the great man is not forgotten here in his birthplace.

03-17-2006, 05:24 AM
I didnt know that, its good to know.

There are some very valid and worrying points made here, by Grue, Olav and others, something to think about for sure

03-17-2006, 06:43 AM
It's getting to the stage where I can't stand watching TV, listening to the radio or reading a newspaper because I get angry.

Everything is backwards, the people I think should be highly regarded and are a benefit to their society get no recognition and the people I think are no benefit to their society get worshipped and paid vast sums of money.

03-18-2006, 03:07 AM
I have been following this thread with interest (and a little consternation). The more well read of our community will realize that the credit given to "Mitchell" is misplaced media hype. People who seem to want to live in the era of yesteryear fail to understand that the the true account of events is that "Mitchell" was the code name for a French born German spy who was later executed for his treacherous acts.

If one researches properly then one will discover that his true name is in fact Reginau de Mitchelin and was at one point the heir to the famous tyre company until family disowned him. In a fit of pique he then designed the Spifire whilst he was travelling the resorts of southern France running a series of brothels.In fact my records show that he was at one stage wanted by the French Police in connection with these crimes His French roots are betrayed in the fact that there are several pointers to support and validate this correct historical account. For example the wing control surfaces of the aeroplane (or should I say 'avion') are called ailerons, the engine cowling is called a 'nacelle' and the body of the avion is called a fuselage. Furthermore when the Spitfire was taken out on a mission this was called a 'sortie'.

I would like to that MB Avro for initiating this thread and raising this important aspect of our history (or should I say 'histoire')

MB Bennett

03-18-2006, 08:16 AM
Exactly MB... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif...any relation...noo...anyway, i think they should electrify that statue of Reg...those ruddy pigeons...i love the smell of burning pigeons in the morning... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif