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.
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.
Spitfire RW388 – more information
Other City Spitfires
Removing a Spitfire
History West Midlands
Inspiration through Restoration