Reginald Mitchell - Son of Stoke-on-Trent
Mitchell, Reginald Joseph was born in 1895 at Talke in Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

He was famous as a British aircraft designer and the developer of the Spitfire, one of the best-known fighters in World War II.

After secondary schooling Mitchell was an apprentice at a locomotive works and attended night classes at technical colleges.

The prototype Spitfire, photographed, most appropriately, at Duxford during the recent 60th Anniversary celebrations.

In 1916, before the age of 22, he went to work at Supermarine Aviation Works in Southampton, where he remained the rest of his life, serving as the company's director for his last 10 years. He designed seaplanes (used largely for racing) between 1922 and 1931 and by 1936 had designed and developed the Spitfire, more than two dozen versions of which were eventually created before and after his death and which was known for its aerodynamic sleekness and maneuverability. Most of the genuine innovation in military aircraft construction between the wars came about as a result of unsolicited work in private companies. The legendary Spitfire, developed independently by the Supermarine company, and only later sold to Britain's Air Ministry, is only one example. With its smooth lines, load-bearing metal skin, and heavy eight-machine gun armament, the Spitfire was revolutionary

The Spitfire was a low-wing monoplane that was first flown in 1936 and was first put into service with the Royal Air Force in 1938. It was modified continuously throughout the war to serve in a variety of roles: fighter (with notable success at high altitudes), fighter-bomber, and photo-reconnaissance plane. The version that entered active service in 1938 had a top speed of about 360 miles (580 km) per hour and an armament of eight .303-inch machine guns. The Spitfire XIV, one of the last models of the war, had a ceiling of 40,000 feet (12,200 m) and a top speed of 440 miles (710 km) per hour; that version shot down more than 300 German V-1 missiles in 1944. During the war the Spitfire's armament was increased to two 20-millimetre cannons along with two .50- inch machine guns or four .303- inch machine guns. Some Spitfire versions could also carry a 250- or 500-pound (115- or 230-kilogram) bomb under the fuselage and a 250-pound bomb under each wing. The last Spitfires in active service (as photo-reconnaissance planes) with the Royal Air Force were retired in 1954.


In Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Mitchell is honoured by a theatre and education center, built from public subscription, and known as "The Mitchell Memorial Theatre".

Opposite the theatre is the City Museum which houses an actual Spitfire plane and outside the museum is a bronze stature of Mitchell.

The City Shopping Center "The Potteries" in Hanley has a mural depicting the life of the City which includes Mitchell and his famous plane. A local secondary school is named "Mitchell High."


Joseph Smith, who had been heavily engaged in the Spitfire project from the very beginning along side Reginald J. Mitchell, was appointed Chief Designer at Supermarine, after Mitchell's death on June 11, 1937.

It was Smith who carried on Mitchell's legacy and it was he who led the continuing redesign of the Spitfire throughout its career. No fewer than 20,351 Spitfires, in approximately 40 versions were produced, making the Spitfire the most produced British aircraft of the war.