Birth of a Legend: The Spitfire by Jeffrey Quill with Sebastian Cox

Birth of a Legend: The Spitfire by Jeffrey Quill with Sebastian Cox newly listed for sale on the fantastic BookLovers of Bath web site!

Published: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1986, Hardback in dust wrapper.

2nd impression. [First Edition: 1986] Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Charts; Graphs; Colour Plates; Colour Drawings; Diagrams;

From the cover: The achievements of the fighter pilots ensured that the Spitfire became a legend in its own time. No other aircraft has ever enjoyed quite the same charisma nor engendered the same sense of excitement that the Spitfire still evokes in both young and old.

It was, of course, in 1940 that the people of Britain took the Spitfire so easily recognisable in the air by sight and sound very much to their hearts. Then, together with its comrade in arms, the Hurricane, it brought the sweet taste of victory into their homes after a series of military set-backs and disasters.

Victory in the Battle of Britain was a great feat of arms achieved both by Royal Air Force Fighter Command and (it is important to realise) by British engineering and industrial organisation. It was a victory to which the British people could rightly feel they had contributed.

Jeffrey Quill in this book does not recount the history of the Spitfire nor does he detail the operations in which it took part -although as its chief test pilot few could be more qualified to do so. Rather, as the title suggests, he tells of the events leading up to its dramatic and triumphant birth, and of the precarious first years of survival and growth.

For, despite the almost miraculous timing of its conception and of its first flight on 5th March 1936, there were many obstacles which had to be surmounted before R. T. Mitchells masterpiece could achieve full potential as a fighter. There was the gearing up of the quite exceptionally successful production lines enabling 22,759 Spitfires and Seafires to be built and kept in the air; there was the remarkable programme of technical development which kept the Spitfire in the front line of the battle from the first to the last day of the 1939-45 War; and there was the massive and vital contribution of the hitherto largely unsung heroes in Supermarine, Vickers, Rolls-Royce and countless small sub-contractors that enabled it all to happen.

It is high time this extraordinary story was told, and the 50th Anniversary of the Spitfires first flight is the ideal opportunity.

Introduction by: J. E. ‘Johnnie’ Johnson

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper otherwise a very well presented copy.

Blue boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 160 pages. Index. 10″ x 7¼”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I tempt with you something from here?


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