A memorial is being unveiled to pay tribute to the Salisbury citizens who built spitfires in their kitchens and bedrooms during the Second World War.

It will recognise the people of Salisbury who engineered and constructed the fast fighter/interceptor MK-9 Spitfire aircraft in their homes, sheds, a bus depot and a hotel to help defend Britain.

In 1940, the German Luftwaffe destroyed the Spitfire factories in Southampton and believed they had ended the threat from their nemesis.

Instead, manufacturing moved underground.

With little engineering experience between them, a secret workforce made up of children, women, elderly men and a handful of engineers built approximately 2,500 Spitfires.

Now, after three years of planning and £100,000 raised for the task, the Secret Spitfire Charity can reveal the memorial.

An unveiling ceremony with a flypast will take place on Friday next week (July 9) at Salisbury Rugby Club, on the pitches adjoining Castle Road.

The public are welcome to attend, and the event will be supported by many members of the Royal Air Force.

This official ceremony will be witnessed by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton, and Mayor of Salisbury Caroline Corbin.

Attendees and are advised to arrive for 5:30pm and bring seating and refreshments.

The ceremony will start at 5:45pm followed by a Spitfire flypast at 6:30pm.

Parking will be available on Hudson’s Field, but there will be no welfare facilities or refreshments available on site at the Rugby Club.

Organisers say it is with regret that, due to Covid restrictions, the reception following the ceremony at the Clubhouse will be invitation-only.

The charity's Chairman, Chris Whalley, said: “Whilst we are delighted that the Spitfire will finally be unveiled, and with great fanfare, we are bitterly disappointed that we are unable to welcome the wider public, who have been so generous in their support, to join us for celebrations at the Clubhouse following the Ceremony.

"The immovable date of July 9 has long been confirmed, and we are inviting our biggest supporters to join us alongside those who served in the secret factories and their families."

He says they plan to hold a fundraiser with live music every summer when restrictions allow to celebrate.

The charity recently appointed the most senior currently-serving female aviator in the Royal Air Force, Air Commodore Suraya Marshall, as its co-patron.

She said: “I am delighted and immensely proud to be involved. The memorial reflects the incredible efforts made by those extraordinary secret workers and exemplifies our gratitude and respect.

"They exemplified courage, innovation and determination and are an inspiration and example to us all.

"I want young people today to see their story as an example that proves that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”

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