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, Trowbridge, Reading and return of Southampton become the new major manufacturing centres for Spitfires hidden in sheds, garages, bus depots, a hotel, even bedrooms. Secret workforce, mainly made up of unskilled young girls, boys, women, elderly men and a handful of engineers, built almost half of 22,000 Spitfires, other half built at the shadow factory in Castle Bromwich. An achievement that was instrumental in winning the Battle of Britain.
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, along with stories from famous ATA pilots Mary Ellis and Joy Lofthouse. Modern-day fighter pilots tell us their stories 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.
This documentary has been in Odeon and Showcase cinemas twice including a national screening chosen for the RAF100 celebrations. DVD of the film is available at the film’s website.
We have also designed a website to complement and expand our documentary. This website is not simply a publicity site for the documentary but a standalone hub for this era. It is designed as a service for the community, supplying information for educational, research and development. This site will be in constant expansion to turn it into a major interactive educational archive.