(Pictured: Artist Cedric de la Nougerede and ex Spitfire pilot Joe Leigh admiring Cedric’s painting of The Horsham Spitfire. 1994)
Did you know we had our very own Spitfire in World War 2?
Whilst there isn’t an abundance of photographs of our Spitfire, other than than that of a thumbnail image of a pilot in the cockpit buried in the depths of Google and a few fantastic paintings by artist Cedric De La Nougerede, it most certainly existed and was paid for primarily by the efforts of one Stan Parsons.
During World War Two many towns and cities raised money to buy planes for the Air Force.
The money raised would then be given to the Minister for Aircraft Production for the building of new planes.
Managed by Stan, Horsham & District began it’s Spitfire Fund.
He organised events, dances and whist drives to raise money for the fund.
He even persuaded the Air Force to lend Horsham two German aircraft. The Heinkel III plane at Springfield Road then a Messerschmitt 109 plane in the King’s Head car park East Street (now behind The Giggling Squid & Izmir restaurants) were put on display and the public were charged to view them, 6d for an adult and 3d for a child.
The fund raised over £5000 which was used to buy a Spitfire Mark VB.
It is thought that Stan still displayed at his home an engraved
tablet from the Ministry of Aircraft Production, given as a thank you for his efforts, up until his death.
The Horsham’s Spitfire started flying with the 611 Squadron in the June of 1941.
On the 22nd of October 1941, the 611 Squadron was attacked over the English Channel during an Air Sea Rescue Escort.
Sadly The Horsham Spitfire along with Pilot John Frederick Reeves from Bexhill, never returned to base.
Reeves and the Spitfire were listed as missing.