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Nor can it be denied that the Spitfire, with its intrinsic elegance, had greater aesthetic appeal than the more solid Hurricane, which had much thicker wings.

Moreover, the Spitfire was a faster plane, enjoying a superiority of 30mph in level flight and 70mph in a dive.

For the RAF aircraft which actually won the Battle of Britain was an older, larger, slower but still deadly fighter, the Hawker Hurricane.

Without the Hurricane, the RAF would have probably lost the Battle of Britain, because there were simply not enough Spitfires emerging from the aircraft factories and into the squadrons.

The Spitfire snobbery even extended to German airmen, some of whom seemed to regard the idea of being shot down by a Hurricane as an insult to their honour.A graphic indicator of this indifference could be seen in the mass flypast over London in September 1945, held to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain.Astonishingly, not a single Hurricane was included in the RAF's formation.This was partly a result of wartime propaganda, as the Government exploited the image of the Spitfire to boost morale.Tellingly, the official campaign of 1940 to raise money for aircraft production was called 'the Spitfire Fund'.

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