“My name is Matt Jones”

I’m a Spitfire pilot”. Almost a chat up line from the 1940′s, uttered by a youthful ‘ex public school boy’ pilot with a life expectancy of just fourteen days. Except Matt Jones uttered those words just a few days ago, as he took on the challenge of racing a Super Marine Spitfire against a Range Rover Sport, as part of the promotion for the  Goodwood Festival of Speed. Given the chance, I know which seat I would rather be strapped in.Spitfire Rangerover 

I am a good ‘Sport’ when it comes to challenges, but I am also an ex-’Marine’ and there sits my loyalty! The Battle of British engineering! Which  icon of design came first in a race between a Spitfire and a Range Rover? Besides, I can ride in a Range Rover Sport any day of the week, my childhood dream would be ticked off with a flight in a Spitfire. ‘Bandits six-o-clock, tally-ho chaps’!    Yours Aye.

15 thoughts on ““My name is Matt Jones”

  1. Outstanding. I seem to recall some years ago PopSci or one of the stateside engineering mags (PopMech or one of the flight periodicals) had a Corvette ZR-1 racing a fighter/attack jet. I am thinking it was a Rhino, but may be an Eagle. I forget. The Festival of Speed sounds like my kind of fun.

    • VikingS3er, a great petrol (and diesel) heads day out, where there’s some thing for every one. The whole event is really well planned, and each year they seem to better themselves.

      Aye.

    • Old AF Sarge, my Dad was just a kid when the war started, though two of his older brothers volunteered and fought through it. He would often tell me that as a child he and his friends would sit outside on a grassy knoll and watch the vapour trails of the Spits fighting the ME109′s, as well as watch them attack the Heinekel bombers.

      There were several active Spitfire & Hurricane airfields around where he lived as a kid, which are still there today, over grown and forgotten. I have an old chocolate tin of shrapnel, as well as a few brass casings that he collected after each bombing raid, that was predominantly aimed at a place called Billingham, where the ICI factory stood. They also targeted ‘steel river’ (the River Tees) as this is where the heavy engineering yards were that supported the war effort.

      The affection that we have for the ‘Spit’ here in the UK, is one that comes from what could have been, had those youngsters not stepped up and took on the might of the Luftwaffe all those years ago.

      http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=sound%20of%20spitfires&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDUQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DY5rGyP6SSYM&ei=bZLcUYreCKzw0gWcwYFw&usg=AFQjCNERLphAYOMbxC_U2EXOVu1OAm331w&bvm=bv.48705608,d.d2k

      Makes the hairs on my neck stand up…

      Aye.

        • Old AF Sarge, I am using the back of my hand to cover my mouth as I whisper this, but I do peruse your blog :-0 I caught the tribute to the Battle of Britain, a very good post indeed.

          Many years back I visited Eden Camp Museum (I often pop in now), which is only a thirty minute drive away. It is a hidden gem of a place, which is visited often by those who fought through, as well as endured, the hardships of WWII Britain.
          http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=eden%20camp%20museum%20yorkshire&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CC8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.edencamp.co.uk%2F&ei=TLHdUbOUIoOV0AWzuIH4Cg&usg=AFQjCNHuhBCWWMdri-YK0AXAIQP9AG8cuA&bvm=bv.48705608,d.d2k

          On my visit I had a pot of tea sat close by to a (youthful) elderly couple. I noticed an RAF Badge on the blokes blazer, as well as a beautiful brass Spitfire pin badge. I commented on his badge, and he spoke of the Cdo dagger pin I was wearing. After idle chit chat about the museum I asked what his role was during the war, “Pilot, but I worked for a living, I was a Flight Sgt”! We both laughed at the friendly dig at officers. It turned out he was one of a small handful of Spit pilots that opted to fly Hurricane’s.

          His favourite was the Spit for flying and style, but he said the Hurricane was a floating gun platform that could take double the amount of battle damage that a Spit could, and still do the job it was intended for. An hour went by like a minute as I was absorbed in his conversation. The following link does his comment great justice.
          http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/spitfireandhurricane.cfm

          Incidentally, his Spitfire pin was unique, as it was a leaving gift from his old aircrew (prior to transferring to the beast, as he called it). The brass was from an empty shell casing that had jammed in one of his Spit’s cannon, it was cut and ball pein hammered, then crafted into shape by a panel beater. A true unique work of art, which I hope has now found itself a good home.

          Those outside of Europe have little, or no comprehension, of the suffering of the people who endured the early part of the war. Without the power and support of the US and Canada throughout the Nazi blockade, many people of this little Island would have starved to death. As many did in Europe.

          Aye.

  2. Yeah, but that Range Rover couldn’t go vertical and fly into the clouds, dive down and do a loop and strafe the crowed (if need be). I’ll take the Spitfire any day.

    • Coffeypot, the new Range Rover Vogue is a head turner, now vastly reduced in weight as its body is aluminium (aluminum), which greatly improves the MPG. I have room on my drive for one, but not the take off room required for a Spitfire.

      One day, hopefully soon, I will achieve my dream.

      Aye.

  3. The growl of a RR Merlin engine! Love it in a Mustang and sounds just a sweet in a Spit!

    • Mark, a mate of mine managed to blag us both a visit to the Rolls Royce factory in Goodwood, which is just across from the Goodwood festival of speed in West Sussex. The place was cleaner than a hospitals operating theatre.

      As we walked from the car park we heard the incredible whine of a Spitfire, which is the one I mentioned racing the Range Rover. To see and hear it fly past is truly awesome.

      A cracking day out, made all the more better for witnessing the ‘Spit’.

      Aye.

  4. I just looked it up, more than 20,000 of these brave little fighters were built. It has a beautiful balance and look to it. And it came at the right time for the Allies…

    • NavyOne, as old AF Sarge mentioned in his comment, the Hurricane was equal to the task, if not slightly better. The Spit was recognised easier and more appealing to the eye.

      There were quite a few eighteen year olds who turned into men during the Battle of Britain, sadly there were quite a few turned into posthumous heroes. Some thing we will never forget.

      Aye.

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