Norfolk man’s Spitfire document to be donated to RAF
13:27 13 November 2010
An amateur historian will donate a document to the RAF which details his father’s contribution to the war effort by helping to buy a commercially-sponsored Spitfire in 1941.
The leaflet was given to Jim Beeson who, along with all his workmates at the Brooke Bond company, had chipped in to help build one of the iconic fighter planes – which was named Edglets after one of the firm’s tea brands.
It includes a letter of thanks from Lord Beaverbrook at the Ministry of Aircraft Production to the company chairman Gerald Brooke, and a letter from Mr Brooke thanking all his employees for their generosity.
The document is currently on loan to the RAF Museum in London, but Mr Beeson’s son Bill, who lives near Fakenham, will make the offer of a permanent donation when he visits the museum next week.
Bill Beeson, 71, from Colkirk Road in Whissonsett, said his father had been exempt from military service due to ill health, but had still “done his bit” to help the RAF fight off the Nazi threat.
Now he hopes the museum can preserve his late father’s keepsake.
Mr Beeson said: “As an amateur historian I see this as information for future generations. Life is made up of trivia and if you bundle enough groups of trivia together they become facts. They become knowledge.”
The letter from Lord Beaverbrook asks Mr Brooke to convey “most grateful thanks” to his employees for “a most splendid contribution for a Spitfire.”
It says: “Their gift is a symbol, not only of the unselfish patriotism of our people, but of the certainty of our victory over the forces of evil that attack us.”
Mr Brooke’s letter to his staff says: “Edglets the Spitfire is going to live up to the Edglets’ reputation. It is a good, clean fighter, will stay the course, and will bring honour and renown to those who have built it.
“So let’s wish Edglets a successful career that will help bring the war to a speedy, victorious conclusion.”
Unfortunately, Edglets’ time in service came to an abrupt end in December 1941, after it crashed into a French hillside in heavy mist.