Hitler decides to invade England; with Luftwaffe superiority in the air, resistance would be futile

but 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…

Shadow Factories

In Salisbury, Wiltshire; sheds, workshops, garages, bus depots and a local hotel were used to manufacture and then assemble complete Spitfires.

Central Character

90 year old Norman Parker was an engineer in the final assembly plant and today is a highly respected historian on the subject.

The Workforce

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

At cinemas nationwide on July 1st

Secret Spitfires will be in cinemas nationwide on July 1st to celebrate RAF100. This will be a special showing of the new Director’s Cut with much new information gathered since the showing before Christmas, but we need your help to increase the number of venues the film will show.

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Our amazing ATA Girl Mary Ellis is 101 today!

Our amazing ATA Girl Mary Ellis is 101 today! She's such an important part of our history, the stories she told us about the war and her life are simply incredible and awe inspiring for every generation. We wish her a Happy Birthday and many more joyful years to come.

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A new play about secret factories coming to Southampton

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...

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Secret Spitfires coming to Odeon Trowbridge 24th November

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...

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Secret Spitfires hits the big screen!

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...

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The role of the Spitfire at Dunkirk

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...

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Special screening for Secret Factory Girl

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...

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Contact Us

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.


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