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80th Anniversary of the Spitfire’s first taste of battle

Forth Bridge Raid


Conceived by visionary engineer R.J. Mitchell, the Supermarine Spitfire represented state of the art aviation technology. Fast, manoeuvrable and deadly, Mitchell’s design was heralded as the next generation in aerial warfare. However for all its attributes, the Spitfire remained untested in battle as its production run commenced in 1938.

By 1939, war had once again engulfed Europe. Realising that Great Britain would not capitulate; Adolph Hitler ordered a series of air incursions on the British Isles. All that was standing between Britain and invasion was the gallantry of the Royal Air Force pilots and their secret weapon: the Spitfire.

The fear of an aerial attack first came to reality on the 16th October 1939 when the Battle of the River Forth, also known as the Forth Bridge Raid took place. It was an air battle between the Supermarine Spitfires from No. 602 and No. 603 Squadrons of the Royal Air Force, and German Junkers Ju 88 bombers.

This dramatic Luftwaffe bombing mission saw a fleet of 12 Junker 88 German bombers venture up the River Forth, from their original base on the island of Sylt in Northern Germany, to the Firth of Forth. All the time with the mission of destroying the Royal Navy’s battlecruiser HMS Hood, although later reports gave the distinctive impression that the rail bridge was the main target – hence why the incident came to be known as the ‘Forth Bridge Raid’.

Upon the swift scrambling of the Spitfire squadrons an air skirmish saw two of the German bombers being shot down, with a third crippled bomber limping back as far as Holland, where it crashed killing all on board.

This successful engagement of the enemy over Scotland just six weeks after war was declared sent a clear message to the Fuhrer: Britain would not be moved. From that first battle the legend of the Spitfire grew. Today, it is as revered as the pilots who flew it.

The Bradford Mint is commemorated this first official Spitfire engagement with the enemy in a new $10 Proof coin, with stunning 24 carat gold accenting. Brimming with the drama over the Firth of Forth, this coin also includes an actual piece of a Spitfire plane encapsulated within the coin making this piece a true legend in its own right, whilst honouring the ingenuity, bravery and courageous achievements of the “first of a few” who would ultimately become the heroes of the Battle of Britain.


  • Reverse depicting Forth Bridge Raid

  • 5oz of Pure 99.9% Silver

  • 24ct Gold accents

  • Worldwide mintage limited to 199

  • Official Niue $10 legal tender issue

Spitfire – First of the Few

80th Anniversary

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