Hitler decides to invade England; with Luftwaffe superiority in the air, resistance would be futilebut no one bothered to tell the British
The Secret Spitfires
The story of hundreds of women, girls and a handful of men who built Spitfires in secret during WW2
Spitfires were the nemesis of the Luftwaffe and the instrument which halted Hitler’s plans for invasion. After relentless bombing of the Spitfire factories in Southampton, the Germans were convinced they had halted the production of the Spitfires for good. However, the British had a secret plan…
In Salisbury, Wiltshire; sheds, workshops, garages, bus depots and a local hotel were used to manufacture and then assemble complete Spitfires.
90 year old Norman Parker was an engineer in the final assembly plant and today is a highly respected historian on the subject.
Mainly unqualified young girls and women worked in secret to build over 2000 Spitfires in Salisbury and more elsewhere around the southern counties, an achievement that was instrumental in winning the Battle of Britain.
Witnesses tell the story of this amazing achievement
In 1940, the Germans destroyed the Spitfire factories in Southampton and believed they had ended the threat from their nemesis. But unknown to them, the British were building Spitfires in secret. One small market town in the south of England become a major centre for manufacturing Spitfires, hidden in sheds, garages, back gardens, a bus depot and a hotel. With a workforce mainly made up of unskilled young girls, boys, women and a handful of engineers, over 2000 Spitfires were built, becoming instrumental in winning the war.
Witnesses tell the story of this amazing achievement, recounting times of terrible sadness as well as joyous times that included GI dances, a Glenn Miller concert and a Joe Louis boxing match. Set against a backdrop of picturesque English countryside, we talk to 90 year old veterans who as teenagers built the aircraft in their local villages and towns, and we hear from modern-day fighter pilots for whom the Spitfire holds a special place in history. This incredible story concludes with Dame Vera Lynn reciting a moving poem written by a Spitfire pilot.
Central character in the film is a 90 year old Norman Parker who as a young man was an engineer in the final assembly plant. He later became a respected historian, and a walking encyclopedia on the subject. Norman takes us from the original bombed sites of the Southampton factory to the numerous factory sites in the Salisbury area. We meet various workers, men and women who worked at the factories, describing how life was like working in secret without the faintest idea about the scope of the operation.
As part of extra footage in the ‘Special Edition DVD’, we are taken to a current day factory which builds, restores and maintains Spitfires in the traditional way. This factory is just like stepping back in history. Here we are shown the construction elements of the aircraft and taken through the building procedure. An important visitor comes to the factory, the famous ATA girl Mary Ellis, to be reunited with one of the Spitfires she delivered during the war. Mary and other famous ATA girl Joy Lofthouse tell us their stories.
RAF Coningsby supplies the perspective of the Typhoon pilots who are the Spitfire pilots of today. We are taken to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight centre where one of the largest collections of WW2 Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters is kept and maintained. We see them working on the Spitfires. We speak to today’s pilots who love flying the Spitfires. They demonstrate the capabilities of the Spitfires, display a Typhoon flying with a Spitfire as well as one of the last flights of the Vulcan with Spitfires in tow.
The stories within the story
A large part of the funding we need is for copyright clearance of the archive material used to illustrate how the Spitfires were secretly constructed and of life in the midst of WWII. Much of this material has never been seen before, without this the film won’t get...read more
She saw him every morning, always wanted to speak to him but dreaded seeing him. During the war Adele was a young teenager, with her dad away in the war, she helped her mum looking after her two little brothers. Gordon was the Telegram Boy doing his deliveries on his...read more
Ten year old Hannah, a student at Leehurst Swan School, contacted us trying to find inspiring women for her campaign. During her search she had come across our website and noticed that the main characters in our film were about young girls...read more
Last night a private charity screening of The Secret Spitfires took place at Coombe Bissett to help raise funds for the much needed improvements to the village hall. The event was completely full within days of announcing it and attended...read more
The Secret Spitfires documentary was requested by RAF Museum London to have a special screening to celebrate International Women's Day. RAF Museum has been a great supporter of the project and it was an honour to be asked to screen our documentary which celebrates the...read more
This incredible story started with the discovery of a 90 year old gentleman called Norman Parker. For many years, Norman had been giving various talks and writing articles on the manufacture of Spitfire aeroplanes in Salisbury during World War II. Having lived in...read more
Talking to many experts, veteran pilots and modern RAF pilots revealed that the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was in fact a superior warplane to the Spitfire. This revelation was a bit of a shock as well as a surprise, especially when the Spitfires...read more
Our Salisbury member of parliament John Glen MP has been a great supporter of our project from the outset. He has contributed with help, information and an interview to the film as well as put us in touch with his granny Hilda. She was a...read more
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Centre at RAF Coningsby is a special place for us as they were one of the very first to support our project of Secret Spitfires. We were pointed in their direction by Wing Commander Ryles who told us that...read more
We would love to hear from you if you have stories to tell or know of someone who was part of the Secret Spitfires in Salisbury and surrounding areas during WW2.