IWM Duxford brings display of Spitfires back to their original Cambridgeshire ex-RAF base

Twelve Spitfires are assembled during a photo call for IWM Duxford's Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon exhibition. 
Copyright: PA
The Spitfires have been collected together for IWM Duxford's Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon exhibition. Credit: PA

A dozen Spitfires will go on display at the former airbase from which the first operational squadron of the planes flew.

The 12 aircraft, of varying marks, will go on show at IWM Duxford in Cambridgeshire as part of the museum's exhibition Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon.

Organisers say the new exhibition, to be held in Duxford's AirSpace hall, will be the "largest exhibition of these historic aircraft".

The Spitfire, with its elliptical wings and powerful Rolls Royce engine, is famous for its role in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The first Spitfire was flown into RAF Duxford in 1938, where it was received by the base's number 19 Squadron.

Private owners have loaned their planes to the exhibition, the museum said Credit: PA

Curators said they were able to bring the 12 planes together thanks to a number of private owners who loaned their Spitfires to the museum for the duration of the exhibition.

The museum says it still has the largest range of different Spitfire marks anywhere in the world.

Alongside IWM's own Mk Ia Spitfire, which is one of few remaining airworthy Spitfires to have seen conflict in the Second World War, there will also be Mk V, Mk IX and Mk XIV Spitfires among others.

IWM curator Adrian Kerrison said: "The Spitfire became synonymous with hope and protection as the threat of German invasion loomed heavy over Britain.

"The aircraft captured the hearts of the home front to such an extent that members of the public from across Britain and the Commonwealth would dig deep into their own pockets to fund their production, and the love for them has not subsided since they were first produced.

"It's a great honour for us at IWM Duxford to know that we were not only the location from which the first operational Spitfire squadron flew, but that now we can bring together so many of them in one place for the first time and enable visitors to get up close and learn more about this icon of victory."

Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon will be open to visitors to IWM Duxford from December 27.

The exhibition will include a Mk Ia Spitfire, as well as Mk V, Mk IX and Mk XIV aircraft. Credit: PA