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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Airport rename to honour Spitfire
RJ Mitchell
R J Mitchell died only a year after the Spitfire made its maiden flight
Southampton Airport could be renamed in honour of the man who designed the famous Spitfire.

R J Mitchell was chief designer for Supermarine and designed the warplane in 1935, dying only two years later from cancer, aged 42.

On Thursday, Eastleigh Borough Council will be asking its members to support a move to rename the airport R J Mitchell International Airport in his memory.

However, any final decision on a name change lies with airport owners BAA.

The Spitfire first took to the skies from the airport, then Eastleigh airfield, 70 years ago.

Mr Mitchell, originally from Staffordshire, died in 1937, only a year after seeing the prototype of his design make its maiden flight.

More than 20,000 Spitfires - which played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain - were built in the city's Supermarine factory in Woolston.

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