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Monday, May 23, 2022

Iconic Spitfire to visit Telford and Shrewsbury as part of tour

A Spitfire from the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands will go on tour this summer, visiting Telford and Shrewsbury as part of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Spitfire PR. XIX will be visiting Telford and Shrewsbury as part of a tour of the Midlands
Spitfire PR. XIX will be visiting Telford and Shrewsbury as part of a tour of the Midlands

The iconic aircraft will visit four locations across the Midlands in May, June and July, touring some of the region’s popular landmarks, highlighting and celebrating the area’s rich RAF heritage.

A tour of the rare blue reconnaissance Spitfire PR. XIX will be stopping off in Telford, Coventry, Shrewsbury and Leicester for a weekend of engagement with families, shoppers, commuters, and festival goers in the heart of each location.

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Families are invited to get up close to the aircraft and hands-on with the interactive activities on the ground. Don a battledress uniform, wartime flying jacket, pilot helmet and goggles before taking a seat inside a replica cockpit for an authentic Spitfire experience, perfect for a Spitfire selfie!

Museum ground crew will showcase a collection of wartime props, while sharing local RAF stories and details of the exciting aircraft displays, experiences and events visitors can enjoy at the Museum.

Look out for the Spitfire in Telford’s Southwater on 14–15 May and at Shrewsbury Food Festival on 25–26 June.

Barry Smith, RAF Museum Director of Visitor and Commercial Development said:

“‘This year the RAF Museum Midlands is celebrating 50 years of sharing RAF stories, and what better way to celebrate this than to take one of our most iconic aircraft out on tour. The RAF has a long history in the Midlands, and we’re excited to share these stories within the community, and with new audiences who may not have visited the Museum before.”

History

The Midlands is steeped in RAF history, during the Second World War it was home to the largest Spitfire factory in the UK.

RAF Castle Bromwich in Birmingham produced 11,939 Spitfires by 1945, more than half of the 20,000 produced across the UK.

Thousands of people from across the Midlands have a connection with the RAF story, from the many men and women who served in the RAF, to members of the public who came together and supported the war efforts through Spitfire Funds.

The Shrewsbury Spitfire Fund raised £6,500 towards the purchase of Spitfire Mk. Vb BL863.  BL863 served with Nos. 54, 167, 610 and 341 Squadrons on convoy patrol and anti-shipping operations.

The Clifton cinema in Wellington was part of the fundraising effort of the overall Clifton Cinemas chain, which purchased a Spitfire as part of the Spitfire Funds campaign. Spitfire Vb BM540 was named Clifton Cinemas, and served until 17 January 1943, when it was shot down into the sea after attacking shipping near Le Havre. The pilot Flying Officer Michael Glover, was killed.

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