There have been three models of Kittiwake aircraft – all of them rather short-lived. The first, the Saunders Kittiwake, was an amphibian flying-boat built by SE Saunders at East Cowes, Isle of Wight. It was designed to compete for the 1920 Air Ministry Commercial Amphibian Competition although it was too late to enter. Only one was ever built and it was scrapped when it had to make a forced water landing shortly after take-off. The second, the Shapley Kittiwake, a two-seat gull wing monoplane designed and built by Errol Spencer Shapley at Torquay, Devon came in the 1930s. It was dismantled during the Second World War and crash landed when it reassembled in 1946. Only two were built. The Mitchell Kittiwake was a single engine sporting aircraft designed as a kit plane for amateurs. Plans were available for both single-seat and two-seat versions, but only four were constructed. This road and others in the vicinity are named after aviators and aircraft in a nod to the nearby RAF Northholt. In fact the airfield predates the establishment of the Royal Air Force by almost three years, having opened as an aerodrome in May 1915, making it the oldest RAF base. Originally established for the Royal Flying Corps, it has the longest history of continuous use of any RAF airfield. The station played a key role during the Battle of Britain, when fighters from several of its units, including No 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, engaged enemy aircraft as part of the defence of London.
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