Wednesday, 9 September 2009

R. J Mitchel And The Spitfire

Shown below is a Machin pane showing R J Mitchell and the Spitfire. Issued 16 May 1995, Printed by Walsall Security Printers Ltd. in Lithography on OFNP(C)/PVAl paper

This is a Machin post with a difference. If you follow this blog, you will notice on a link inside the post "A Great Day Out"( below), that there is a reference to a Rolls Royce Merlin 724C engine.

This was one of a list of projects of the late Francis Machin, son of Arnold. The engine was kept at Francis’ home, Garmelow Manor, Staffs, but since his early death in 2007 the property and contents of the estate were put up for sale.

BTW, Garmelow was reported to have been been sold to an undisclosed buyer for £1.75 million. Nice to have the odd few quid tucked away! :-)

The Engine:

The Merlin is a liquid cooled 27 litre V12 piston aircraft engine with supercharger, designed and developed as a private venture by Rolls Royce (PV-12), first flown in 1935 and fitted to the Spitfires of Battle of Britain fame (designed by Joseph Mitchell) which were pivotal in the victory of World War II. The Merlin enabled aircraft to fly at least 100mph faster than before, reaching speeds of 450mph and greatly improving performance at high altitude.

It was reported that the Machin Merlin engine fetched £25.000 at auction, but since this report I have come upon some information which suggests that it possible that it did not meet its auction reserve.

The report informs us that "Francis cousin, on his mothers side, (Patricia Machin), Tom Newton has been appointed ‘Guardian of the Merlin’ until Francis’ children Alice, Henry and Louis can accommodate it. It is hoped to keep the engine in the family".

Some recent news and a little history of the engine:

This engine was one of four fitted to a Canadair McDonald Douglas DC4 Argonaut civilian plane of the 1950s, each 1800hp (this one is labelled ‘Right Wing Outer’). To great applause, the engine was fired up successfully for the first time since its arrival at , Cotesbach on 8th March 2009.

To keep the Merlin in tip top condition it needs to be fired up at regular intervals, and people were invited to join in the experience at the Stable Yard, Cotesbach Hall. Recent dates given for fireups in 2009 were on 4th April, 2nd May, 6th June, and 11th July. It gets a run at about midday on the first Saturday of each month at Cotesbach Hall, near Lutterworth (M1/M6/A14 junction) - entry is free!

Widely considered to be among the most successful engines produced during World War II, Merlin engines were also used in Hurricanes, Wellingtons, Defiants, Lancasters, Halifaxes, Mustangs and Mosquitos.

Another bit of Machin trivia.

Its a small world. To quote a news item from 1945.

“ A new type of voltage regulator invented by Mr Frederick Newton, and manufactured by Messrs Newton Brothers (Derby) Ltd, has, during the past four years formed an essential and integral part of almost every aeroplane, (including the Spitfire)warship, radar and gun sight installation.”

Fred Newton (managing director) was Tom’s grandfather and Francis Machins’s great uncle. Some 40,000 regulators were being produced monthly in the later months of the war, and Mr Newton was flown to the U.S.A. in 1941 for the purpose of assisting the production of the regulators there.

“The magnitude of the application of this one patent, and the essential quality for nearly all of the electrical equipment, afford striking tribute to the brilliant skill of Mr Frederick Newton” commented Colonel Cooper-Parry, Chairman of Newton Brothers.

Although his invention never attracted national recognition, rest assured that in Cotesbach the Machin Merlin will continue to celebrate his achievements, as it does every pilot and technical hand involved with this colossus of British engineering.

Do you still think Machins are boring?

More images of the fire up can be found here


Anonymous said...

Never boring, I could read about this stuff everyday.

Jim C

nnnnnn said...

excellent writing.. really enjoyed it.. will of course have to copy :-) to my aviation blog.. with full references of course

well done, abd best wishes.. Michael

Anonymous said...


More Plezeeeeeeee!