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The Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries before, during and after World War II.
The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell.
During the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940, the Spitfire was perceived by the public to be the main RAF fighter, and after the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command.
As World War II approached, a new factory was to be built between Fort Dunlop and the then Castle Bromwich Airfield. Construction commenced on 14 July 1938 and an initial order for 1,000 Spitfires was placed on 12 April 1939. Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory was then the largest of its kind in Britain; it covered 345 acres and employed 12,000 people.
The airfield closed in 1958, and in 1960 the site plus nearby farmland, was sold for housing. The runway was broken up, the buildings were demolished, and construction of a Birmingham overspill estate (Castle Vale) started in 1964, and completed in 1969.
All that remains today are, a stained glass window in the estate's church, streets with aviation names, a row of ex-RAF houses along the Chester Road, and a Spitfire Memorial. This is a large steel sculpture called Sentinel designed by Tim Tolkien which was erected in 2000 on the roundabout where the road to the estate joins the Chester Road. The roundabout was subsequently renamed "Spitfire Island".
The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts, with approximately 54 Spitfires being airworthy