Bahraini businessman and former pilot Yousuf Salahuddin is researching for his book on the Bahrain Spitfire...bought by the country's leadership and people to help Britain to take on Hitler in Second World War.Mr Salahuddin
graduated as a pilot in 1971 from Cyprus and has never lost his
boyhood interest in aircraft, despite opting instead for a career in business.He
has long been fascinated by the Bahrain Spitfire and has been digging into its history.
"My initial research has revealed that Bahrain contributed to a Spitfire in 1941," he
told the GDN.
"The Royal Air Force
commissioned the Spitfire with registration no. W3632 and the name of Bahrain was written in Arabic and English languages on the aircraft."Britain looked to its own people and friends abroad to help raise money for aircraft to fight the air war against Germany.
The Buy a Spitfire campaign urged people to help raise £5,000 (BD3,190) for each plane.The real cost was nearer £12,000 (BD7,656), but the declared price was reduced to encourage people to contribute, said Mr Salahuddin
When newspaper giant Lord Beaverbrook was appointed by Winston Churchill in 1940 to run the newly formed Ministry of Aircraft Production, he
was able to generate mass appeal for the idea.
Donations also poured in from various parts of the world, including Bahrain, said Mr Salahuddin
"Government employees and the general public did their bit.A meeting was organised in tent erected at Baksha Park (Hadikat Al Baksha - near Shaikh Abdulla Avenue)," he
"I have managed to collect some special pictures of the Bahrain Spitfire which are not available in Bahrain and I keep them in my collection as a token of Bahrain's relationship with Britain," said Mr Salahuddin
was probably the first Bahraini to graduate as a pilot.
"I have a good collection of model aeroplanes and tanks, which I have been collecting since my childhood.
"My father, who was the first architect in Bahrain used to travel frequently to England during the 50s.Every time he
came back from his
used to present me models and pictures of aircraft."
As a boy, Mr Salahuddin
often visited the RAF
base in Muharraq, as his
family leased property to the RAF
"During the 60s my brother Mohammed, who was studying in England presented me a Spitfire model," he
added."When my grandfather saw it, he
told me the story of contributions made for Spitfires during the Second World War in England and all over the world, including Bahrain."As I grew up, my curiosity increased, but it was very difficult to get more information."A few months ago, Mr Salahuddin
saw a picture of the Bahrain Spitfire at the Bahrain Historical Archaeological Society
" It made me recollect the stories my grandfather had told me. Society president Dr Isa Amin said they had only one picture and as per his
advice I contacted the then British Ambassador Peter Ford, who gave me some contact details in the UK," he
managed to collect some information on the Bahrain Spitfire from the UK.
"Even though a clear operational history of the Bahrain Spitfire is not available, it is learnt that it first flew from Eastleigh on July 15, 1941."
A member of the British aristocracy, Lady Cox, attended the naming ceremony for the Bahrain Spitfire, said Mr Salahuddin
People able to help Mr Salahuddin
research should email him at :email@example.com, or call him on 9668277.
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