R.J. Mitchell was virtually self-taught and almost all his aircraft were slow-flying seaplanes. The story of how this man from the land-locked Midlands, apprenticed to a locomotive works, became responsible for the Spitfire is a great tale in itself.
This detailed book tells us how Mitchell learned his trade - contributing to the production of the cumbersome Nighthawk (designed to combat the German Zeppelin threat) and gradually coming to produce record-breaking racing floatplanes that won outright the prestigious international Schneider Trophy.
Mitchell was thus well placed to design a high-speed aircraft when war was imminent; however, as John K. Shelton reveals, the production of the famous fighter was by no means a certainty and its vital contribution to winning the Battle of Britain was `a very close run thing'.
John Sheltonwas head of humanities at Staffordshire University and taught courses which included industrial archeology. He produced display material on Mitchell and his aircraft for the Stoke-on-Trent Museum Spitfire Room and wrote "Schneider Trophy to Spitfire: the Design Career of R.J. Mitchell.""