SEVENTY-FIVE years ago Britain was fighting for its future in the skies. The Battle of Britain was raging, the outcome still unknown.
To commemorate the sacrifice made during this time, a full-scale replica Spitfire will be on display on the grounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kingswear Parade, Crossgates today (Saturday November 7) from 10am until 5pm.
People will be able to have their pictures taken and even climb inside the cockpit.
Church member Ian Horsfall said: “We have been told that the replica is so much like the real thing that people won’t be able to tell the difference. They will be able to climb up inside the cockpit and have their pictures taken. It’s something different and we are hoping it will give a boost to this year’s Poppy Day collection.”
Members of the public are all welcome to enjoy sitting in the cockpit, having their photograph taken and reliving life as a Battle of Britain pilot. Donations will be taken in aid of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
As part of a weekend of remembrance, around 60 young people from the Church will be giving their time to collect for the Poppy Appeal.
A variety of activities will be undertaken including a number of the youth singing wartime songs such as ‘It’s a Long Way to Tiperary’ and ‘Pack up Your Troubles’ in the Crossgates Shopping Centre between 10am and 1pm.
There are around 3,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Leeds area, hundreds of whom take part in supporting the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal each year.
David Coulthard, former manager of Crossgates Shopping Centre, said: “What would make this event even more special is if we could find someone that flow or worked on Spitfires willing to come along and give an insight to the aircraft and what that time was like.”
Other events will include various groups encouraging people to join in a wartime sing-a-long in what is hoped may recreate some of the community sprit felt in those dark days on what turned out to be one of our nation’s finest hours.”
The single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during and after the Second World War. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts, with approximately 53 Spitfires being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world
On 5 February 1952, a Spitfire 19 of 81 Squadron based at Kai Tak in Hong Kong reached probably the highest altitude ever achieved by a Spitfire. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Ted Powles, was on a routine flight to survey outside-air temperature and report on other meteorological conditions at various altitudes in preparation for a proposed new air service through the area. He climbed to 50,000 ft (15,240 m) indicated altitude, with a true altitude of 51,550 ft (15,712 m). The cabin pressure fell below a safe level and the pilot only regained control at around 3,000ft, landing safely.