Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Plaque unveiled to commemorate Spitfire

A PLAQUE commemorating Henley residents who raised £5,000 to pay for a Spitfire during the Second World has been unveiled at the town hall

A PLAQUE commemorating Henley residents who raised £5,000 to pay for a Spitfire during the Second World has been unveiled at the town hall.

The plaque was originally installed in the Forties but Mayor Martin Akehurst paid £150 to have it restored after it fell into disrepair.

Councillor Akehurst unveiled the plaque at a ceremony on Friday along with historian Mike Willoughby, from Woodcote.

Also in attendance were John Green, chairman of the Henley and Peppard branch of the Royal British Legion, and Darren Pitcher, the author of The Henley-on-Thames and District Spitfire Fund, 1940-1941, which was published in 2008.

The plaque reads: ?In the hour of peril, people of Henley-on-Thames and district earned the gratitude of the British nations, sustaining the valour of the Royal Air Force and fortifying the cause of freedom by the gift of Spitfire aircraft.?

Cllr Akehurst said: ?In those days there were only about 7,000 people in Henley so to raise so much was very good.

?I used to walk past this plaque and thought it looked scruffy so about 18 months ago I decided it deserved to be put right.

?It?s an amazing tribute to the people of Henley, who have always been generous with their money and their time. A thank-you like this deserves to be seen.?

The money was raised by residents between August 1940 and March 1941. In those days, Spitfires were built at a factory in Maidenhead and many were flown over to a factory in Wargrave Road to be fitted with precision equipment.

The Spitfire was destroyed in an accident in 1942. Mr Pitcher supplied the Mayor one of the few pictures taken of the plane, which is framed and mounted underneath the plaque.

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