Gary Roberts, who is Associate Producer for the Secret Spitfire Project, has contacted Solent Aviatrix with the incredible story of how he came to initiate the making of this film.
Gary, from Salisbury, met 90 year old Norman Parker who assembled Spitfires in secret, small, locations around Salisbury, Wiltshire, during WW2 after the Southampton Spitfire factories was bombed by the Luftwaffe.
Gary then teamed up with Ethem Cetintas, a BAFTA member filmmaker, to explore Norman’s story. Hundreds of women, girls and a small number of men built Spitfires in secret in sheds, workshops and garages, in and around Salisbury. Etham and his production partner Karl Howman, (“Buster” of BBC TV Eastenders) have made a film that has already been shown, in its short format, this year at Cannes.
Karl started his career acting in feature films, including “That’ll Be The Day” partly filmed on the Isle of Wight at Warner St. Clare holiday camp in Ryde.
Gary has told me the team from Etham Media have been to the Island to film a Spitfire undergoing repair at Airframe Assemblies at Sandown Airport. This company also featured in the TV program “Guy Mitchell’s Spitfire”. Airframe Assemblies invited Mary Wilkins Ellis former ATA pilot and airport commandant at Sandown, to be reunited with the Spitfire, one of hundreds she ferried during the war. Etham Media filmed the moment, which now forms part of the amazing story of the Secret Spitfire Factories.
Also featuring in the film is ATA pilot Joy Loftus and Supermarine draughtswoman Stella Rutter.
The filming is still ongoing, as more secret locations are uncovered. My thanks to Gary Roberts for passing on the project website details and for this image which is from the short promo video.
You can view the video by using the link below. If you know of any other secret wartime locations Gary, Etham and Karl would be pleased to hear from you.
Contact them and learn more about the project by clicking to this link: Secret Spitfires website.