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Gifts of War - Presentation Aircraft in Two World Wars

Gifts of War  - Presentation Aircraft in Two World Wars


Henry Boot and Ray Sturtivant

In the late summer of 1940, when Britain stood alone against the Nazi onslaught, ordinary people were desperate to play their part in beating the Luftwaffe. The idea of Spitfire Funds was born.

Funds sprang up across the country, to be quickly joined by counterparts around the world. Even small communities managed to scrape together £5,000 for a fighter, to have a local name painted on the cowling. Money poured in from all over the world for a variety of aircraft types, until around £14,000,000 had been contributed.

For the first time, Gifts of War tells the full story of this immense effort – how and where the money was collected, the full detailed service records of around 1,500 Spitfires and 1,000 other aircraft of 40 types. It also gives the most complete account yet of a similar scheme of World War One, with the most complete listing of 1,700 presentations.

Over 430 black and white photographs, many never before in print. Sixteen of the 464 pages are in colour, several with side views.

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