Lonely Planet Writer

Scottish museum honours 80th anniversary of Spitfire

A Spitfire takes pride of place on the 80th anniversary of its first flight as final preparations are made to reopen Scotland’s National Museum of Flight.

National Museums Scotland employee Alice Wyllie poses in front of a Spitfire at the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the first Spitfire flight which took place on March 5, 1936. Image by: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
National Museums Scotland employee Alice Wyllie poses in front of a Spitfire at the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the first Spitfire flight which took place on March 5, 1936. Image by: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

The first Spitfire test flight took to the air on March 5 1936 from Eastleigh Aerodrome in Southampton and went on to play a critical role in the Second World War.

The Mk II suspended in the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian was built in June 1945 and remains one of the biggest draws for visitors.

Children play during a photo call with a Spitfire at the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the first Spitfire flight which took place on March 5, 1936.  Image by Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
Children play during a photo call with a Spitfire at the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the first Spitfire flight which took place on March 5, 1936. Image by Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Assistant curator Ian Brown said: “It was a gift from the RAF in 1971 and is actually the whole reason we have the museum.

“A hangar was found to home the Spitfire in East Lothian and the collection just grew from there.

“After Concorde, it’s the aircraft everyone wants to see because it remains iconic.

“The Spitfire shot down the first German aircraft in Britain over the Firth of Forth and they remained in service up to the 50s. They were used all around the world defending countries.”

The museum’s hangars will reopen on March 25 at the end of a £3.6 million restoration.

Mr Brown said: “It’s really exciting now, the last minute touches are being applied and with new technology we hope to bring the stories of all the aircraft to life for visitors.”

(Press Association)