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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 07:02 GMT 08:02 UK
Airport Spitfire rename supported
RJ Mitchell
R J Mitchell died only a year after the Spitfire made its maiden flight
A move to rename Southampton Airport in honour of the man who designed the Spitfire has received council support.

R J Mitchell was chief designer for Supermarine and designed the World War II fighter plane in 1935, dying two years later from cancer, aged 42.

At a meeting on Thursday, Eastleigh Borough Council members backed the idea to rename the airport R J Mitchell International Airport in his memory.

However, any final decision on a name change lies with airport owner 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, 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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