As the Royal Air Force celebrates its Centenary a series of tributes have appeared, saluting the planes which made the service great– the Lancaster, the Hurricane and the renowned Spitfire which was named the single greatest weapon of the Second World War, claimed by those who flew her to be the perfect flying machine

The Spitfire captured the imagination of the public and all over Britain villages, towns and businesses would set up a “ Spitfire Fund” to raise the nominal £5,000 to buy a plane in their name. One such village was our local Michaelston-le-Pit. Norman Merrett, a Spitfire pilot from the village, had gone down with his plane in 1940. His father wrote these words to Lord Beaverbrook, Minister for Aircraft Production, “These tragic circumstances have served only to strengthen the resolve of this small community. I want you to accept the enclosed cheque for £5,000 from the village of Michaelston-le-Pit”.