Spitfire: 85 years since maiden flight of aircraft which changed course of Second World War

  • Watch a report from ITV Anglia's Matthew Hudson

On Thursday, 5 March 1936 a revolutionary new fighter jet took to the skies above Britain for the first time: the Spitfire.

The plane would go on to play a decisive role in World War II, and is credited with turning the tide in favour of the allies during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire features heavily in the history of the Spitfire; the first squadron equipped with the fighter were based there and as a museum it is now home to the largest range of Spitfires in the world.

Adrian Kerrison, the museum's curator, said: "The Spitfire really becomes a fighter aircraft at Duxford, flown by fighter pilots and it is improvements that are suggested by 19 Squadron's pilots which make sure the Spitfire is ready for combat when war breaks out."

Such was the impact it had on the world in 1940, that the aircraft remains an icon of the United Kingdom.

Because of lockdown most are grounded at the moment, but when a Spitfire's Merlin engines are once more roaring over the countryside, it will be a sign once more that a foe is in retreat.