Originally printed on July 27, 2009 in the Family Announcements.
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Gordon Mitchell, a community stalwart and son of Spitfire designer RJ Mitchell, died aged 88 on 24 July, 2009.He lived in Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds and passed away after falling at his home a fortnight ago.Dr Mitchell was best known for trying to raise the profile of his father – the designer of the iconic Second World War fighter plane - whom he said was an unsung hero.His son David described Dr Mitchell as a loving, family man who could never do enough for his community.He said: "I suppose most people will remember him most for all the work he did in memory of the Spitfire, but there were so many other sides to him."He was a warm and loving father for whom his family were very important."His wife, my mother, died four years ago and I know he was devastated by that."We have always been a very close-knit family and his grand- children were at his bedside when he passed away."Dr Mitchell, who lost his father to cancer in 1942, joined the RAF himself during the war. He worked in the Air Sea Rescue division – alongside the search and rescue flying boats which had launched his father's career in 1918, and which played their own role in saving airmen who had bailed out of their aircraft.He later became a weather forecaster at the Met Office during the second half of the war.As a staunch member of the Lower Slaughter community, Dr Mitchell was involved with the parish council and also regularly attended a retired people's discussion group.He gave regular talks about the work of his father and wrote a book, RJ Mitchell – Schooldays to Spitfire, chronicling the creation of the legendary aircraft.Dr Mitchell leaves behind three children – David, Adrian and Penny – and grandchildren Nick and Emma.The single-seated Spitfire achieved legendary status during the Battle of Britain against the Luftwaffe. David said his father's contributions to preserving the heritage of the Spitfire would be the abiding memory of his life."It was his lifelong ambition to see his father recognised properly for the work he did," he said.