The legendary Spitfire entered service with the Royal Air Force in June 1938 with 19 Squadron at Duxford. It proved capable of remarkable development, and was the only allied fighter in full production throughout the Second World War. The Mark I had a maximum speed of 355 mph at 19,000 feet with a 1050 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. The final Spitfire, the F.24, had a maximum speed of 450 mph with a 2350 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. More than 22,000 Spitfires (including Seafires) were built.
The Spitfire replica at the Museum commemorates 609 (West Riding) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, and represents Spitfire Mk Ia ‘R6690’ flown in the Battle of Britain by the Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldr H S ‘George’ Darley. The Squadron shot down 85 enemy aircraft during the Battle and went on to become the first Spitfire Squadron to be credited with 100 victories. The original R6690 was shot down over South London on 15 September 1940 by a Messerschmitt Bf110 and the pilot, P/O Daunt, was sadly killed.