Pilots standing by their Spitfires, c 1940s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Spitfire was designed by Reginald Mitchell (1895-1937) and developed from a racing seaplane, the Supermarine S6B, which won the Schneider trophy in 1931. The first prototype flew in 1936 and the first aeroplanes were delivered to the RAF in June, 1938. Several improved versions of the Spitfire were produced during the Second World War and by 1947 over 20,000 had been built. This photograph has been selected from the Daily Herald Archive, a collection of over three million photographs.