Spitfire RW388

Spitfire RW388 was donated to the City of Stoke-on-Trent in 1972. It honours Reginald J. Mitchell, the designer of the Spitfire, who was born and educated in North Staffordshire before becoming one of the greatest aeronautical engineers of his generation.

The aeroplane is housed in our Spitfire Gallery, where visitors can discover the story of Reginald Mitchell’s career. We hope our younger visitors follow in Mitchell’s footsteps as the engineers and designers of the future.

Summary

This Spitfire was built in Castle Bromwich in May 1945. It is a Spitfire Mark XVI (16) with shortened, ‘clipped’ wings and an engine tuned for lower altitudes. Fighter planes had to adapt to different roles during the war and there were many Spitfire variants.

This version could be armed with both machine guns and cannons, as well as bombs under the wings and fuselage. Our Spitfire may never have been fitted with weapons due to entering service so late in the war. It was in Germany just after the Second World War ended and later towed targets for Naval ships to aim their guns.

The aeroplane last flew in 1952 when it was damaged during take-off at RAF Middle Wallop, Hampshire. It spent time as a ‘gate guardian’ outside RAF bases before being donated to Stoke-on-Trent in 1972 in honour of Reginald Mitchell.

Spitfire LF Mk XVIE

Type: Single-seat fighter-bomber
Serial Number: RW388
Call-sign: U-U4 (No. 667 sqdn)
Mark: XVI (16)
Designation: LF (Low altitude fighter)
Wing Type: ‘E’ type with clipped wing tips
Engine: Merlin 266 (1,670 hp)
Airscrew: 4 blade constant speed Rotol airscrew
Top Speed: 406 mph
Range: 430 miles (without extra tanks)
Climb Rate: 20,000 ft in 6 minutes 42 seconds
Service Ceiling: 41,500 ft.

Online Exhibition

Online Exhibition

The Spitfire Gallery exhibition - online version
Spitfire RW388 – more information

Spitfire RW388 – more information

A detailed history of the City's Spitfire (PDF)
Other City Spitfires

Other City Spitfires

Other Spitfires with a connection to The Potteries (PDF)
Restoration

Restoration

News and progress reports on the restoration of Spitfire RW388
Spitfire Blogs

Spitfire Blogs

Spitfire-posts from the Museum blog.
Wider Collections

Wider Collections

Explore generally in our collections for objects relating to the Spitfire or the Second World War
Removing a Spitfire

Removing a Spitfire

Time lapse video of the removal of RW388 in 2018 (YouTube)
History West Midlands

History West Midlands

Mini-series by History West Midlands exploring the connections between the Spitfire and the West Midlands (YouTube)
RJ Mitchell

RJ Mitchell

The life and career of Reginald Joseph Mitchell CBE (PDF)
Operation Spitfire

Operation Spitfire

Inspiration through Restoration