Secret Spitfires

A tribute to a generation who gave their all for our freedoms. Let’s not let our heritage be lost!

We did it!

On 18th Aug 2017 we successfully raised £6,390 of £5,700 target with 159 supporters in 42 days

New stretch target

Thank you! We have achieved our initial target and can now move forward with producing the DVD and talking to broadcasters about getting this documentary seen on TV.

It will enable us to keep and extend the website as the archive hub for research and education as well as make it possible for us to take the story free of charge to schools and education centres. It is so important to educate the young to know their own history and what their ancestors achieved for our freedoms.

With the new stretch target we will set about taking this story into the realms of a TV drama series and possibly a feature movie. Doing this will ensure everyone gets to know about an amazing piece of WWII history for which no one has received any reward or recognition. The story ingredients are all there for a riveting and engaging dramatic series about how seemingly ordinary young people rose to a challenge, about the hardships they endured, the lighter moments of adventures with GI's, and the ever present dangers of espionage, bombings and losing loved ones.

In the course of researching the documentary we gathered many hours of first hand testimonies. As is so often the case, truth is stranger than fiction. You couldn’t make it up.  We now need to take time out to write the story and screenplay and to meet the initial costs of taking the concept to production companies.

An amazing secret from WW2 being told for the first time.

How hundreds of women, girls and a handful of men built Spitfires in secret, hidden in sheds, garages, even a disused hotel. So hidden, Hitler's bombers couldn’t find them! 75 years later, you can play a part in revealing this significant moment in WWII history.

“Secret Spitfires” – a 52 minute finished documentary made for TV - unveils this remarkable story for the first time. We are seeking the final part of funding to make this important documentary available for broadcast and DVD.

“I cut up my military issue dungarees so they would fit me. They were made for men.”

This is a documentary that demanded to be made. It took two and a half years to research and film. Entirely self-funded, we set out to tell the story first-hand from survivors of that period and how this small band of people played an important part in defeating Hitler.

We talk to 90 year old veterans who as teenagers built the aircraft in their local villages and towns, and we hear from modern-day fighter pilots for whom the Spitfire holds a special place in history. Among the many people who assisted us are Dame Vera Lynn, John Glen MP,  the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Centre at RAF Coningsby, and the RAF Museum.

The film received a standing ovation when screened at the RAF Museum in London to mark International Womens’ Day. Now we want to make this documentary available for broadcast and as a DVD and to develop the web site as a communal archive. Of course, this takes money

How you can help bring this amazing story to everyone.

A large part of the funding we need is for copyright clearance of the archive material used to illustrate how the Spitfires were secretly constructed, and of life in the midst of WWII. Much of this material has never been seen before, without this the film won’t get made into a DVD.

We also need funds for the final mastering, DVD authoring and duplication. This is a fairly costly process that is essential if the film is to be broadcast and to make it available on DVD to the many people who have expressed interest.

Beyond the help for the DVD, we have a stretch-fund here to raise further support for other activities to help this project. We want to develop the supporting website and keep it going as an historical archive and as a source for research. We have a pledge to do free screenings for schools and educational centres to keep the next generation aware of what their ancestors achieved and sacrificed for all our freedoms. Since making the film, people have come forward with more stories, some of whom we have interviewed and filmed. We want to make all this material available via the web site as an enduring memorial. Your generous pledge will help to bring all this to fruition and beyond.

The supporting website is already live. With your help we can develop this into an important archive for future generations to learn about the Secret Spitfires

Why this is an important story

Spitfires were the nemesis of the Luftwaffe and foiled Hitler’s plans for invasion. After bombing and destroying the main Spitfire factories in Southampton, the Germans were convinced they had halted production of the iconic fighter aircraft. Once air superiority was handed to the Luftwaffe, Hitler reckoned Britain could be conquered. But unknown to the Germans, Spitfires were secretly being built in villages and towns around the southern counties and in the most unlikely of places: sheds, garages, back gardens, bus depots, even a hotel – the sort of places Hitler wouldn’t think of looking and far too numerous to be put out of action.

These amazing pictures of the Secret Factories were Top Secret in their day, most of which have never been seen before. 
These amazing pictures of the Secret Factories were Top Secret in their day, most of which have never been seen before

Until now, this remarkable story has gone mostly unnoticed and forgotten. Making parts for Spitfires and complete aircraft assembly was carried out in top secrecy at Aldermarston, Chattis Hill, Eastleigh, Henley, High Post, Hursley, Newbury, Reading, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Winchester, Worthy Down, and at dispersed locations around the spiritual home of the Spitfire, Southampton. This documentary particularly looks at Salisbury, which became a major centre of Spitfire production, and talks to surviving members of the workforce and female ATA pilots who delivered the finished aircraft. It is a story that will resonate with everyone living in or connected to the southern counties.

Our rewards for your kind help

Amongst our rewards is the Special Edition DVD with over 30 minutes of extra footage which has not been seen anywhere else and includes how a Spitfire is contructed, a modern day factory building Spitfires, the forgotten test pilot, and how an ATA girl was reunited with a Spitfire that she originally delivered back in 1944, and more. We also have a beautiful pewter lapel pin of a Spitfire which you could wear to celebrate this icon on any occasion, it always creates a talking point.

It was not always just hard work and worry. Very large numbers of GI's were based in the South and aspecially around Salisbury and brought some famous faces to entertain the troops and civilians.

For those who stayed behind, the war wasn’t all hard work and worry. A large number of American GIs were based in the southern counties and especially around Salisbury. They were looking for fun and some famous names were based there or brought in to entertain them. In the film there are reminiscences about “the boys” and the sad occasions when they didn’t return.

Premiere screenings in Salisbury and Southampton

Two cities have been selected for special screenings of the film: Southampton, the spiritual home of the Spitfire, and Salisbury where a large number of the aircraft were secretly built. After the screening there will be a Q&A session with the film’s directors and people featured in the film.

We anticipate the screenings will be in November 2017. As a £50 or £100 pledger we will notify you of the date of the screenings and provide a secret web link and phone number where you can purchase tickets before they are made available to the public. We expect that once tickets go on sale these screening will quickly sell out.

Salisbury, one of the most productive secret factory sites and Southampton, the spiritual home of the Spitfires will host the special premieres of the Secret Spitfires.

Thank you for reading about our film and if you have made a donation or pledge, doubly thank you! If you would like to be kept informed about the Secret Spirfires project please visit our web site and subscribe to our news updates. You may also wish to follow us on Facebook as another way to learn about latest events and developments.

The filmmakers behind the project

Co-Directors Karl Howman & Ethem Cetintas have worked together on many film projects, both factual and drama. For Ethem, a long time resident of Salisbury, Secret Spitfires was a labour of love.

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