Help our charity raise £100,000 to fund the Spitfire Memorial for the Secret Workforce of Salisbury 

The Spitfire Memorial will be serving as a lasting tribute to the hundreds of women and men of Salisbury who contributed to an astonishing part of the city’s history by building over 2,000 Spitfires in total secrecy. Their story was brought to wide attention by the 2016 film The Secret Spitfires. The warm reception to the film led to the idea for a memorial and a charity has been established to manage it.

The finished memorial will be located adjacent to a wartime Spitfire factory site at Salisbury Rugby Club, Castle Road and stand over 20ft tall.

Help us raise the money for The Secret Spitfire Memorial to be built in time for the 80th anniversary celebrations of The Battle of Britain in 2020.

The Secret Workforce

Bette Blackwell was a teenage hair dresser in Salisbury who was called for medical examination and directed to Wessex Motors for War Work. She wondered why she was sent to a car garage as she had no idea how to fix cars, but soon discovered she was in fact going to be a riveter to build Spitfires in secret. Sadly Bette died in December 2018 R.I.P.

Bette Blackwell was a teenage hair dresser in Salisbury who was called for medical examination and directed to Wessex Motors for War Work. She wondered why she was sent to a car garage as she had no idea how to fix cars, but soon discovered she was in fact going to be a riveter to build Spitfires in secret. Sadly Bette died in December 2018 R.I.P.

Bette Blackwell was a teenage hair dresser in Salisbury who was called for medical examination and directed to Wessex Motors for War Work. She wondered why she was sent to a car garage as she had no idea how to fix cars, but soon discovered she was in fact going to be a riveter to build Spitfires in secret. Sadly Bette passed away in December 2018 R.I.P.

Unskilled and unqualified young girls, boys, women and a handful of engineers worked in secret to build over 2000 Spitfires in Salisbury (10% of the total built during WWII). With more built elsewhere around the southern counties, it was an achievement instrumental in winning the war. The workforce were sworn to secrecy and they kept it secret until now.

Joan Burroughs volunteered to work at Chattis Hill to help the war effort as her brothers were fighting in Europe. She had no idea what the work would entail and ended up fitting propellers to Spitfires. She fell in love with her husband to be at the factory and always found a way to be with him. The manager finally decided to put them together as he thought it might be better for the war effort! Sadly Joan died in January 2019 R.I.P.

Joan Burroughs volunteered to work at Chattis Hill to help the war effort as her brothers were fighting in Europe. She had no idea what the work would entail and ended up fitting propellers to Spitfires. She fell in love with her husband to be at the factory and always found a way to be with him. The manager finally decided to put them together as he thought it might be better for the war effort! Sadly Joan died in January 2019 R.I.P.

Joan Burroughs volunteered to work at Chattis Hill to help the war effort as her brothers were fighting in Europe. She had no idea what the work would entail and ended up fitting propellers to Spitfires. She fell in love with her husband to be at the factory and always found a way to be with him. The manager finally decided to put them together as he thought it might be better for the war effort! Sadly Joan passed away in January 2019 R.I.P.

The Secret Factories

In 1940, the Germans destroyed the Spitfire factories in Southampton and believed they had ended the threat from their nemesis. Unknown to them, the British were building Spitfires in secret, hidden in sheds, garages, back gardens, a bus depot and a hotel. Salisbury become a major centre for manufacturing Spitfires.

Navigate the map to see where the factories were located.

Click on a pin

Patron’s Message

Sir Christopher Benson

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly we can forget – or move on from – heroic acts of sacrifice in our nation’s history.

However, this is an amazing story. We never knew them, and only now, do we partially know of their heroism. Unflinchingly and in total secrecy, they helped to prevent our nation becoming enslaved.

Having demolished Southampton’s Spitfire factory, Hitler believed that his elite Luftwaffe could now rule the skies over our country. But, in the words of a song of the day “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?” Salisbury put up “two fingers” and got on with the job of defeating him and his unspeakable regime.

There are many tributes to the brave men and women who risked and lost their lives in that great conflict, the Second World War. But virtually no recognition of those who secretly helped make it possible for those young pilots to turn the tide of history, and preserve the free world. Bless them all…

Today, here in Salisbury, we have determined to eternally recognise the fortitude of those unsung heroes who, in garages, farm buildings and sheds produced together more than 2000 magnificent machines which knocked Herr Hitler’s socks off.

We now set out upon a new adventure by creating a Spitfire replica memorial on a former factory site to record the remarkable contribution of “secret and silent people” to what, until then, had seemed to be a hopeless war effort.

We Will Now Remember Them!

With thanks to

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