Supermarine Spitfire Mk.9 flying at the Shuttleworth Trust 060518 CREDIT NIALL FERGUSON, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Aircraft

'Secret Spitfires' Memorial To Be Unveiled In July

The memorial will be a life-sized replica of a MK-9 Spitfire built during the Second World War by the 'Secret Workforce'.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.9 flying at the Shuttleworth Trust 060518 CREDIT NIALL FERGUSON, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

A memorial for the production of 'Secret Spitfires' and the thousands of workers who built them will be unveiled in Salisbury next month. 

The monument is a life-sized replica of an MK-9 Spitfire, built in the Wiltshire city during the Second World War by the 'Secret Workforce'.

It arrived in Salisbury on 7 August 2020, with the unveiling delayed until 9 July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until then, the replica is being kept at the nearby Boscombe Down Aviation Collection at Old Sarum Airfield.

The unveiling of the memorial coincides with the placing of 11 plaques marking the locations where Spitfires were secretly constructed in response to the German bombing of the main Supermarine Spitfire aircraft factory in Southampton in 1940. 

Unknown to the Germans, the British were building Spitfires in secret, working from within sheds, workshops, garages, bus depots and even a hotel.

Thousands of workers, largely unqualified young girls and women, built more than 2,500 Spitfires in Salisbury, Trowbridge and Reading. 

The local population was also unaware of the work being carried out. 

The Spitfire is the most famous British fighter aircraft in history. 

They were critical in defeating the German Luftwaffe air attacks during the Battle of Britain in 1940, soon becoming a symbol of freedom. 

More Spitfires were built than any other British combat aircraft before or since the Second World War and by July 1940, RAF Fighter Command had 19 Spitfire MkI squadrons available.

Cover image: File photo of a MK-9 Spitfire flying at the Shuttleworth Trust (Picture: MOD).