The Spitfire Fund

One of the most extraordinary financial efforts made on the Home Front was the Spitfire Fund. This came about mainly thanks to Lord Beaverbrook who pushed the idea of public appeals to support the aircraft’s manufacture at a time when raw materials – and money – were both in short supply.

The Fund took off in May 1940 with the idea being that small badges or pins were sold with the proceeds going towards building Spitfires, the nominal cost of which was set at a (purely theoretical) £5,000. The response from the British public, councils and businesses was magnificent. In total, some £13m pounds was raised – somewhere in the region of £650m in today’s terms. By the war’s end, almost every big British town had their name on a Spitfire.

In fact, it’s the badges with the names of smaller towns which often fetch the best prices today. However, some of the most popular with collectors are the hand made brooches of copper, brass or even Perspex (from which the cockpit windows were made).