The Secret Spitfires Memorial has been unveiled in Salisbury. The life-sized replica MK-9 Spitfire honours civilians that built the plane in World War Two. It’s been sited near a former factory on the site of the current rugby club.
The event was marked by a flypast by a Spitfire and the ribbon was officially cut by Norman Parker – an aircraft engineer during the war who was also involved with bringing the memorial to life.
A bespoke bench is next to the memorial, paying tribute to Ethem Cetintas, co-director and producer of the film Secret Spitfires.
Over 2,000 Spitfires were built at secret sites in garages, sheds, a bus depot and a hotel in Salisbury after Southampton’s Spitfire production facilities were bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940.
The work was carried out by unqualified civilians and a handful of engineers.
Plaques will be placed at the sites of all the spitfire factories in the city:
Anna Valley Motors Garage, now McCarthy and Stone retirement homes
Chattis Hill Aerodrome
Final Assembly Area, now Highpost Business Park
Wilts and Dorset Bus Garage, 141 Castle St
Wilts and Dorset Bus Depot, now Salisbury Reds, 152 Castle St
Wessex Motors Garage, now Old George Mall Car Park
Factory No. 1, now the Car Park, Salisbury RFC, Castle Rd
Factory No. 2, now Janspeed, Castle Rd
Watt & Vincent, now A.J. Waters Garage, Devizes Rd
Highpost Hotel, now The Stones Hotel, Highpost, Old Sarum
Wiltshire Flying Club, now Chemring, Highpost
Although Salisbury was the main Spitfire manufacture site in the county, they were also made in Trowbridge.
The Secret Spitfires charity has been instrumental in bringing the story of this iconic fighter plane and it’s secret workers to life.