The Festival of Transport, organised by ASET (Audlem Special Events Team) is one of the highlights of the year in Audlem. Already, over 150 vehicles have signed up for this year's Festival.
The big news is that ASET, after protracted negotiations, can now reveal that the RAF has agreed to participate in this year's event and will be providing a Spitfire to give an aerial display. What a coup for Audlem!
Whilst the Spitfire's finest hours were over the fields of Kent and South East England in September 1940, as the Battle of Britain raged, the legendary plane that can truly be said to have changed the course of history has many roots in this area.
Reginald Mitchell, the aeronautical engineer who developed the Spitfire, was born in the village of Talke, near Newcastle-under-Lyme. He was educated at Hanley High School and then, between 1920 and 1936, designed 24 aircraft including light aircraft, fighters, bombers, several sea-planes and flying boats. He is, however best remembered for the Spitfire.
In 1933, he designed an all-metal monoplane that would become the Supermarine Spitfire. Despite his death from cancer in 1937, the plane's development continued and the design was so sound that the Spitfire was continually improved throughout the Second World War. A staggering 22,000 Spitfires and derivatives were built.
And where were many of the engines for the Spitfire built. In Crewe, of course. Henry Royce's last design was the Merlin aero engine, which came out in 1935, although he had died in 1933. The Merlin was a powerful V12 engine and was fitted into many World War II aircraft – not only the Spitfire, but the Hurricane, the Mosquito, the Lancaster and Wellington bombers and the American Mustang fighters. Over 160,000 Merlin engines were produced.
ASET does not actively seek sponsorship from local businesses, but with the inevitable increase in costs for the Transport Festival (the Spitfire display itself will cost over £500), any financial support would be very welcome.
It certainly promises to be a great event in July. Make a note of 29th July now.
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