25 June 2021



A poem of speed and precision

Spitfire Mk 1 head on
© IWM HU 104755

A poem of speed and precision

So said H.F. King of Flight Magazine after attending a press day at RAF Duxford in 1939, where he saw the Spitfire in action. 

The Spitfire was the iconic aircraft of the Battle of Britain and became the symbol of British defiance in the air. It had an advanced all-metal airframe, making it light and strong. It had a speed and responsiveness which impressed the pilots tasked with defending Britain from Nazi air raids.  

Crucially, the Spitfire was a match for the Luftwaffe’s Messerschmitt Bf 109, proving itself to be superior at lower altitudes. Spitfires shot down a total of 529 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain, for a loss of 230 of their own. 

IWM Duxford and the Supermarine Spitfire have a shared history. RAF Duxford's No. 19 Squadron was the first RAF squadron to re-equip with the new Supermarine Spitfire, and the first Spitfire was flown into RAF Duxford in August 1938. 

In commemoration of the 85th anniversary of the first ever Spitfire flight, join our live online tour to uncover the special relationship between IWM Duxford and this legend of British aviation.  

With a chance to ask our expert guides your questions, the tour dives deep into our collections for the full picture on the design, development and flights of one of the most famous fighter aircraft in history.  

Your IWM guide will tell the story live on Crowdcast, with tours lasting approximately 60 minutes plus 30 minutes of Q&A. 


Our online tours can also be booked on request for private groups of up to 30 people. To find out how to book and for more information on pricing, please email [email protected] with your preferred date.



25 June 2021

Please book by 10pm on day before the tour

6pm BST / 1pm EST

IWM Duxford is part of Imperial War Museums, the largest museum of war and conflict in the world.  

The museums tell the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.  

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events.  

Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force.  

We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives. 

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