The people behind the Spitfire
Evro Publishing’s first aviation book, Spitfire People, was launched at the RAF Club, Piccadilly, London, on Thursday 18 June.
The author, Paul Beaver, talked eloquently and with great passion about the subject of his first new book for over 20 years – the people who made the Spitfire a legend. Fifty individuals, including some unsung heroes, are covered in depth in Spitfire People, and the roles of many others are recognised. A particular theme has been to bring to greater prominence members of Supermarine’s design and development team whose legacy has been overshadowed by R.J. Mitchell’s renown – names such as Joe Smith, Alf Faddy and Beverley Shenstone.
Guests at the launch included people who are prominent in the Spitfire world today, such as Squadron Leader Andy Millikin, Spitfire pilot for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Typhoon pilot with the RAF, Matt Jones of the Boultbee Flying Academy at Goodwood, and John Romain, who runs the Aircraft Restoration Company, the leading restorer of Spitfires.
Two MPs attended: Sir Gerald Howarth (Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, 2010–12) and Dr Julian Lewis (Chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee). Iain Duncan Smith, whose father, Wilfred, was a Spitfire ace and features in the book, was due to come along but was overtaken by government commitments.
Other guests included Randolph Churchill (Sir Winston’s great grandson) and Sarah Quill (daughter of Supermarine Chief Test Pilot Jeffrey Quill).