The Small Kingdom of Lesotho Receives A Replica Spitfire To Honor WWII Contributions

The Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa, was presented with a life-size replica of a Spitfire airplane to honor the country for its role in World War II.

It took six years to make the plane which was unveiled at an Armistice Day commemoration ceremony.

The replica is made of fiberglass and was built in an industrial unit in Withiel, Cornwall before being shipped by land and sea to Lesotho, Africanews reported.

Lesotho, which was known as Basutoland at the time, delivered 24 Spitfire airplanes to the UK during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The move was regarded as “incredibly generous.”

Director of the Spitfire Heritage Trust, David Spencer Evans said: “We owe so much to the Basutoland, to Lesotho, to the people, that those of us who were not born even during the Second World War, feel that it’s a debt of honor that we have to pay.  We are the beneficiaries of their help, and they have given us our freedom and it is such an honor to be able to present this small tribute to this great nation.”

Lesotho was a British protectorate from 1860 to 1966 when it gained independence from Britain.  They sent around 20,000 troops to serve with the British in World War II.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE