During his last years, Mitchell was involved in the design
of the Supermarine b12/36 bomber, the r1/36 fast flying boat
and the .37/35 four-cannon fighter. In 1942 a film was made
of Mitchell’s life called The First of the Few, starring Leslie
Howard as the designer.
Mitchell had one son, Dr Gordon Mitchell, now in
his eighties, who has written two books about his father:
RJ Mitchell – world-famous aircraft designer (ISBN 0 947750 053,
Nelson and Saunders) and RJ Mitchell – schooldays to Spitfire,
(ISBN 0 7524 2323, Tempus Publishing).
One is left simply to speculate what this extraordinary
genius could have gone on to achieve had the Great Architect
granted him longer life. Freemasonry in general has reason
to be proud indeed of its association with such a Brother.
The Science Museum in London is currently running
an exhibition on the Spitfire which will run until
January 2007. Called Inside the Spitfire, Personal
stories of Britain’s most famous plane, it comprises
a ‘deconstructed’ Spitfire displayed in pieces.
The ‘giant Airfix kit’ shows the complexity inside
the apparently simple elegant Spitfire shape,
revealing the celebrated Rolls-Royce Merlin and
Griffon engines alongside enlargements of
original blueprints and cutaway drawings.
There are also personal stories on display
from people who built, maintained and flew the
aircraft. Letters, mementoes, papers, security
passes, medals, models and rare photographs
from the Castle Bromwich Spitfire factory will
also be exhibited.
The Aircraft Restoration Company, Duxford,
has restored the aircraft, a Spitfire Mark 22, and
the exhibition and RJ Mitchell statue has been
funded by the Sidney E. Frank Foundation of the
A view of the RJ Mitchell
exhibition at the Science
Web site created by Mark Griffin