The pub where Spitfire pilots drank

Key.Aero meets two Spitfire experts at The Eagle in Cambridge, a place with a poignant tribute to the pilots who gave their lives

Nestled in the centre of Cambridge is a small public house that opened its doors in the 15th century. The Eagle is a Grade II listed building that proudly continues to serve punters today – and over its extensive history, it has gained more than one impressive claim to fame. In 1953, when Crick and Watson made their groundbreaking discovery of the structure of DNA, it was here that they burst through the doors to announce their achievement.

Yet unbeknownst to them, when The Eagle had been renovated in 1950 a whole host of historic etchings had been covered over and were now hidden above their heads in the ceiling. Those historic etchings had been there for over a decade, when hundreds of RAF pilots would frequent the pub during their time off-duty in World War II.

In the 1990s, the ceiling was restored and the etchings were uncovered again. Words written by candle wax and lipstick depict the squadron numbers and names of the brave men who chose to drink there. Many would return to socialise there again; others, sadly, would not. Around the walls, pictures commemorate the countless individuals who gave their lives for the benefit of British people. Cambridge University engineering lecturer Hugh Hunt, and Spitfire restoration engineer Tony Hoskins, recently visited The Eagle with Key.Aero to marvel at this epic tribute to such a key part of history. Watch it in the video above…