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. Salisbury, a 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, 10% of the total build, 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.
Let’s not let our heritage be lost!
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
Our very good friends and colleagues at the Nuffield Theatre (NTS) are putting on a play about the secret Spitfire factories in Southampton called The Shadow Factory, featuring Anita Dobson & Lorna Fitzgerald. There are various supporting events with Dan Snow, Paul...read more
Due to the continued support and demand, Odeon cinema have extended the showings at Salisbury and Trowbridge till 7th December! Thank you to everyone for supporting this film and letting this secret be told to honour those who never spoke.read more
Secret Spitfire film will be showing at Southampton and Reading Showcase Cinemas this Saturday 2nd December. These events have been driven by public support and demand to see the film in their own areas just as it happened in Trowbridge and Salisbury. Southampton was...read more
After running into its 3rd week in Salisbury with sell-out shows, Secret Spitfires is coming to Odeon Trowbridge. This has come about by a public campaign led by Wendy & Sally from Trowbridge who have been supporters of the project since the beginning. They both had...read more
Our film was recently picked up by the Odeon Cinemas as a feature documentary. It is rare for a documentary to make the big screen and you can imagine our excitement when we were asked, possibly one of the greatest compliments for this incredible story. It came about...read more
The only hope for halting the German bombardment, was the RAF. Pilots' log book files detail how British fighters intercepted huge numbers of German planes- the reason for this, the mighty Supermarine Spitfire Mk1. Built for high speed manoeuvres, the Spitfire was...read more
When we did our private screening for all the cast of our documentary, Joyce, one of our Trowbridge Secret Factory girls, was unable to make it due to her health. We were not going to let that get in the way so we took the film and gave her a special screening along...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
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.
If you want to screen The Secret Spitfires and you are a member of a media company (cinema owner, TV station, etc.) or a member of an organisation (charities, non-profit organisations, commercial companies, etc.) please use the form on this page.