Supporters of the Kent Spitfires will be reminded of the legendary aircraft behind the team’s name when the county’s cricketers take on Gloucestershire on Sunday 31 July.
The Royal London One-Day Cup 50-over game, which also marks the start of Canterbury Cricket Week, will be dedicated to the heroes of the Battle of Britain and feature a number of added attractions.
This will be the fourth time Kent County Cricket Club and brewers Shepherd Neame have dedicated one of the side’s games to the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.
While the Trust hosts supporters to a lunch in the boardroom at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, volunteers at the ground will be manning a small shop and talking about the Trust’s aims, as well as collecting donations from spectators.
Historical consultant Geoff Simpson will also be invited to talk to the crowd briefly during the tea interval and explaining how important the Battle of Britain was to the survival of this country when it took place in 1940.
The club has also arranged to display a ground-running engine which was manufactured in May 1945 as a Rolls Royce Merlin 102, designed to be used in a Mosquito, Spitfire or Avro Lincoln bomber, but later converted to a Merlin 621 for use in an Avro Tudor, the first *pressurised passenger aircraft.
Capable of producing 1770bhp, the 27-litre engine was decommissioned in the 1960s and stored in a garage until 2013, when it was restored to its former glory. It is mounted on a trailer and can be run at up to 3,000 RPM for 15 minutes at a time. It is fitted with a four-blade propeller from a Hercules aircraft.
The game starts at 11am and tickets are available from www.kentcricket.co.uk
*Note – while the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust was supplied with this information by the cricket club and took it at face value, subsequent research has confirmed that the Tudor was the first British pressurised passenger aircraft. Note added 28 November 2016.