May 2020

1st May 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook

Spitfire Makers salutes Captain Tom

Spitfire flypast, with a guest appearance from a Hurricane. A stirring sight… and sound!…/captain-tom-raf-flypast-in…

7th May 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook

VE 75: A Nation Remembers – what can you do?

It’s more than a lifetime since Mr Churchill broadcast the news that the war in Europe was over and tomorrow, May 8th, in the midst of a national crisis the like of which we’ve not seen since those far off days, there will be events to mark this significant anniversary starting with a two minute silence at 11am. These events will be of a very different nature to those that were planned but for all that, perhaps with added poignancy. The Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust was set up and launched here in Southampton, home of the Spitfire, back in February to commemorate the MANY women and girls, men and boys who worked through the war years to build the iconic fighter plane flown by the famous FEW. Our progress has undoubtedly been hampered by the current restrictions but today we are proud to announce the amazing design for our Trust logo. It has been produced by local graphic designer, Dave Stephens, and we look forward to seeing it on all our publicity material, posters etc and eventually on the memorial plaques we want to place at the sites of Spitfire production across Southampton and beyond. Lots of local and national gatherings will be available on TV, on radio and online. We’ll be joining with our neighbours in a Stay at Home VE Day Street Party tomorrow. We’ll be having a socially-distanced picnic on the pavements outside, on our front doorsteps, in our front gardens etc. We’ll have a selection of wartime music and you can access and play it too via this link (if you have Spotify):…

Ideas for VE Day costume can be found here: and there are lots of online recipe suggestions for Street Party cakes, biscuits, sandwiches etc. There are also many ideas for bunting but we’ve made some which celebrate our Southampton Spitfire Makers. You can download them, print off and staple or tape them to string or ribbon to create something very meaningful alongside your other festive decorations. (Many thanks to those who have contributed this info and photos – please get in touch if you think you have more to share.) At 3pm we will join in The Nation’s Toast: “TO THOSE WHO GAVE SO MUCH, WE THANK YOU!” VE Day was not just the end of war but the start of peace and you may also like to share the “Cry for Peace”…/Cry-for-peace-around-the… It’s being scheduled for Town Criers to ‘cry’ this at 6.55pm but it could be shared at any time. Tomorrow, along with the rest of the country, we will look back on that day with celebration but also reflect as we look forward, as Winston Churchill said, 75 years ago, to “the task of rebuilding our hearth and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance…”

9th May 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook

Lovely post from the Southampton Cops, mentioning the Spitfire Makers Thank you Southampton Cops!

“While travelling through Shirley, the team were pleased to see lots of the streets getting into the VE Day community spirit and that many houses were decorated in preparation and that there was an abundance of bunting strewn across the streets which warmed my heart. Today I met this gentleman that is from ‘The Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust.’ Southampton is home to the Spitfires and this group are determined to make sure that the locations that they were built, the people behind them and their legacy is not forgotten. From this gentleman I found out that all the Spitfires that helped to win the war, were made in Southampton. And that when the bombings were happening, The Daily Echo building and a Police station was destroyed, so they were both temporarily housed in a Hotel ballroom together. I am not sure that would be possible now!” PCSO Simi

Image by Southampton Cops Facebook page

9th May 2020 – Michaela Lawler-Levene on Facebook

When the lockdown prevented the VE Day 9th May history exhibition, the Spitfire Makers team took the exhibition and celebrations to their front gardens. Pictured as an ARP warden, Chair of Spitfire Makers Alan Matlock, with his front garden display on Radway Road, Upoer Shirley. Spitfire Makers bunting was also displayed on Gurney Road Shirley and Hillary Close Lyndhurst. If a member of your family was a Spitfire Maker in the Southampton / Hampshire area, we would love to add their faces to our bunting display for future events.

Images by Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust

9th May 2020 – Michaela Lawler-Levene on Facebook

Spitfire Makers are very impressed with this ingenious Spitfire. Made out of a trampoline delivery cardboard box. Spotted on Reynold Road, Shirley on 8th May 2020.

Image by Liz Webb

10th May 2020 – Michaela Lawler-Levene on Facebook

If you enjoyed the ‘Out of the Shadows’ play at the Nuffield Theatre then you might also enjoy this BBC World service radio series. It’s part drama, a play, but also part documentary, telling the Spitfire Makers’ stories, starting in Southampton. The first episode can be found by following the link. It’s about 20 mins with excellent audio and a compelling storyline. The programme features Southampton people and was made with help from many local individuals and organisations, including the team at Spitfire Makers.

11th May 2020 – Michaela Lawler-Levene on Facebook

Spitfire Maker, Don Smith, receives a VE Day afternoon tea and gift pack from Shirley Local History Group and FoSJP. During WW2 Don made Jettison Fuel Tanks at Auto Metalcraft, in Emsworth Road, Shirley. The site of the Spitfire Makers factory is now home to the Masker’s Theatre. Before lockdown Don was invited to go and speak to the members of the theatre about their building during WW2. All on hold for now. We all send our best wishes to Don.

Images by Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust and FoSJP

12th May 2020 – Michaela Lawler-Levene on Facebook

Clarence ‘Ben’ Bennett was also nominated as a recipient of a special VE Day cream tea. Ben was just 14 when he mended Spitfire wings during WW2. He would cycle everyday between Woolston and Hamble. At the launch of Spitfire Makers Ben viewed a jar of WW2 rivets and explained what each was used for in the manufacture of the iconic plane. Our best wishes and thanks go to Ben during this lockdown.

Images by Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust and FoSJP

16th May 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook

During WW2 £5000 would buy a Spitfire!

Many communities across the UK set about raising money to fund a Spitfire named after their town or city. What a fascinating piece of social history, to hear how they went about this. There were so many different contributions to the war effort happening at home, which we hear very little about. The link posted below, to the BBC entitled ‘Crowdfunding’, is not an appeal to raise money now, but the name of the second episode in the radio series about the Spitfire. It refers to this WW2 public fundraising of the Spitfire. If you missed the first episode, which focused on the factory at Woolston, it is also available via the BBC Website.

28th May 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook

What stopped the late afternoon traffic in St James’ Road, Shirley on 13th June, 1942?

After last week’s “Makeshift Factories”, this week’s programme, entitled “Makeshift Wedding” will include more fascinating detail about the wartime lives of Southampton’s Spitfire Makers. It’s available from Friday by following the link below.…/w13xtv79/broadcasts/upcoming

You are invited to a wedding… A double wedding… A ‘Spitfire Sweethearts’ wedding…

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