RJ Mitchell - Designer of the Spitfire

Spitfire SM845
RJ Mitchell Reginald Joseph Mitchell CBE, FRAeS, (1895 - 1937) was an aeronautical engineer, best known for his design of the Spitfire.

In 1917, Mitchell joined the Supermarine Aviation Works at Southampton. He quickly rose through the ranks to become Chief Designer in 1919.
The firm was bought out by Vickers in 1928 - partly to get Mitchell, regarded by some as the brightest aircraft designer of his generation. Between 1920 and 1936, Mitchell designed 24 aircraft including light aircraft, fighters and bombers. Many of them seaplanes as that was Supermarine's primary business.
RJ Mitchell
RJ Mitchell and the Schneider Trophy Jacques Schneider - a French industrialist believed the development of Seaplanes was lagging behind other aircraft development and so in December 1912, at the Aero-Club de France, he offered a trophy for a seaplane race and proposed a course of at least 150 nautical miles.
The contest ran from 1913 to 1931, the year when Britain won the contest for the third consecutive time and hence retained the trophy. This was a huge achievement for Mitchell and his groundbreaking S series planes.

1913 - Monaco, FranceThe first Schneider Trophy contest, held in Monaco in April 1913, was won by a Frenchman, Maurice Prevost, in a monoplane flying at a speed of 45.75mph.
1914 - Monaco. Howard Pixton won for Britain at an average speed of 86 mph.
1919 - Bournemouth. Mitchell's first plane - the sealion competed but the race was cancelled due to fog.
1920 & 1921 - Venice. No British entries. Won by Italy.
1922 - Naples. Mitchell's Sea Lion II won with an average spped of 145 mph.
1923 - Portsmouth. Won by America with an average speed of 177 mph.
1925 - Baltimore. Won by the American team.
1926 - Norfolk, Virginia. No British entry. Won by Italy with an average speed of 246 mph.
1927 - Venice. Mitchell's S5 won with an average speed of 281 mph.
1929 - Portsmouth. Mitchell's Supermarine S6 with a new Rolls Royce engine won with an average speed of 284 mph.
1932 - Portsmouth. Government money was short but Lady Lucy Houston, the widow of a millionaire ship owner, saved the day by making an unsolicited gift of £100,000.
Mitchell's improved S6 won the day with an average speed of 340 mph and Britain took the Schneider trophy for keeps.
The Schneider Trophy

RJ Mitchell died in 1937. He saw the development of the Spitfire and the start of its use by the RAF but he didn't live to see his airplane's decisive role in defending Britain and particularly at the Battle of Britain fought in the skies in 1940.
The Role of the Spitfire in World War II