Our cherished historian for Secret Spitfires film, Norman Parker, had a wish for so many years. Norman was an aircraft engineer who originally worked on Wellingtons and later he was transferred over to work on Spitfires. He was in a mobile team who repaired crashed planes and later he worked in the experimental units where they developed new modifications for the Spitfire. He helped build hundreds of Spitfires but never got to fly in one.
His nickname is ParkerPedia as there’s not much he doesn’t know about warplanes and most importantly, unlike many, he was there building them. After a special fund raising screening of Secret Spitfires film for the Salisbury Rugby Club, we held the usual Q&A with Norman. As always, the audience were amazed at his knowledge of aircraft and of the war itself. During the talk, it came out that even though he built so many Spitfires, he had never flown in one, which was now just a dream. Hearing this, a group of supporters got together in secret and raised funds to get a flight in a Spitfire.
A party was held ‘supposedly’ to thank him for his contribution and to celebrate his birthday. Norman had no idea of the ‘real’ plan. When he tuned up, completely humbled by this gesture of thanks, he offered to give a talk to the supporters. This talk was cut short when he was presented a little card, which he thought was a birthday card, until he opened it and realised it was his dream ride. It’s the first time we’ve seen him speechless! The ride would be held at the famous Biggen Hill Heritage Hanger who were simply brilliant, their engineers were very happy to meet our Norman and wanted to keep him.
We made a little film of the whole adventure to share this special moment and for Norman to keep 🙂 We are so proud to know him.