R. J. Mitchell

R.J. Mitchell was born in Stoke-on -Trent in 1895. In 1913 Noel Pemberton Billing set up Pemberton-Billing Ltd to produce sea going planes. Its telegraphic address was Supermarine Southampton and this was used for sending telegrams and cables to the firm. The company was located in Woolston and Mitchell joined in 1916, becoming Chief Engineer in 1920.

Supermarine aircraft won the coveted Schneider Trophy for sea planes in 1927, 1929 and 1931. The expertise gained from this was incorporated into the design of the new Spitfire plane with the first one flying on 5th March 1936.

Mitchell died in 1937 before the first plane was delivered to the Air Ministry. Spitfires played a critical role in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

A prime target, the Supermarine works were destroyed by bombing in WW2. Over 22,000 spitfires were built, it is estimated that only 179 remain.

Mitchell and his wife are buried in a simple grave in South Stoneham Cemetery.