LESOTHO TRIBUTE SPITFIRE
International aid is not a one way street!
A story almost forgotten...
The presentation of our replica Spitfire in 2016 to the Kingdom of Lesotho on their 50th Anniversary of Independence from Britain was received in person by His Majesty King Letsie III. Television & media coverage throughout Southern Africa and at home in Europe promoted Spitfire Heritage and British culture throughout the Commonwealth.
The Trust’s engagement at senior level with government organisations and business leaders consolidated ties with Lesotho and helped initiate new business connections.
Lesotho is one of the heroes of the second world war.
When Britain faced invasion at the height of the “Battle of Britain”, Basutoland raised the funds to purchase two Squadrons of Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft for the defence of Britain: a disproportionately generous contribution involving considerable sacrifice.
This little known period in our shared history deserves to be more widely celebrated by the public of both our nations. The story is inspirational for the young people of both countries and makes the important point that:
International Aid is not a “one-way-street”.
We, at the Spitfire Heritage Trust, wanted to pay a fitting and timely tribute to Lesotho – we are the beneficiaries of the people of Basutoland’s generosity.
The initial proposal for the Tribute was presented to HRH Prince Seeiso in 2010, then serving as High Commissioner in London. It was decided that the form that the Tribute would take would be a full scale replica of a Spitfire, as a monument to promote understanding of our shared history.
Eighty years on it becomes increasingly difficult for the succeeding generations to appreciate the enormity and lasting effects of the events of the 1930s and 40s as they affect the greater part of the world today.
In January 2016 Spitfire Heritage Trust received an invitation from the Government of Lesotho to take part in the
50th Anniversary Celebrations of Lesotho’s Independence from Britain.
Our presentation of the Spitfire Tribute formed part of the official programme and was received by His Majesty King Letsie III on behalf of the people of Lesotho.