November 2020

8th November 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook

Amanda Strand writes on Facebook – “Thanks to Dave Key , Alan Matlock and the Spitfire Charitable Trust this is the first Remembrance Sunday I have been able to visit and put flowers on my grandads grave. Totally hidden and overgrown under some trees they managed to find it and tidy it all up.

We will never forget them”

So pleased to have been able to help several families in this way…

John Hughes, 54, died in the second bombing attack on the Supermarine factory in Woolston, 80 years ago on September 26th. His son, Ivor, Amanda’s father, survived.

The headstone which we found totally overgrown with trees, brambles and ivy also mentions John’s “faithful wife, Esther” Amanda’s grandmother, who died in 1979.

Thanks to one of the Spitfire Makers team, Robert Stidworthy, who this week has returned to all the victims’ burial sites and left remembrance poppy crosses.

We too will remember them.

Images by Amanda Strand

11th November 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook


Leave lockdown behind for a 40 – 50 minute self-guided trail of discovery taking in locations in Shirley where the ’secret’ Spitfire factories were located during WW2. The route starts and finishes at St. James’ Park.

If you would like a shorter route – or are walking with younger children – you may wish to miss out stops 4 and 5, returning along Winchester Road to stop 7.

There is also a Quiz/Investigation Sheet to challenge younger walkers, (or curious adults!)

Spitfire Makers and The Supermariners contributed details about the various stops along the route.

If you have any additional information about the places mentioned please let us know.

The Shirley Spitfire Trail is sponsored by the Shirley Local History Group, thanks to a grant from the National Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund.

Happy walking!

Images by The Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust and the Shirley Local History Group

A bit of SPIT ‘n POLISH!

Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold

Three of the Spitfire Makers team, (L – R Vicki, Sarah and Robert) got up close to Supermarine Spitfire F.24 – PK683 at Southampton’s SOLENT SKY museum this week.

It is fitting that the Spitfire, designed, tested and many thousands made in Southampton, has pride of place in the Museum and Vicki, Sarah and Robert were helping prepare the late model Spitfire for the museum’s reopening next Monday – just in time for the Christmas holidays!

During the November lockdown, staff and volunteers at Solent Sky have been busy re-organising for a major new exhibition opening next year. This is part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project to show how Southampton’s residents endured the bombing of the city in 1940 while continuing to produce Spitfires in secret locations like bus depots and garages.

Spitfire Makers are always keen to find ways to support the Museum and this exhibition, set to open in March 2021, fits perfectly with our aims: to commemorate all those who helped to design and build the iconic fighter in Southampton and beyond.

We have already agreed to loan our Spitfire Makers pennants to the Museum and look forward to further collaboration in the New Year.

For full details of opening times go to Albert Road South, Southampton, SO14 3FR or call on 02380 635830

28th November 2020 – Alan Matlock on Facebook


Spitfire Makers is delighted to announce that planning for the first of our commemorative plaques is now moving ahead.

Shirley Local History Group, part of the FRIENDS OF ST. JAMES’ PARK charity, are raising money for a commemorative plaque to be placed at Shirley Parish Hall in St. James Road, Southampton (where we held the launch event for Spitfire Makers back in February).

You can donate here through GoFundMe

(Please be aware: GoFundMe invite donors to add a “tip” of 5, 10 or 15% but this is discretionary. By clicking on the ‘Other’ option you can enter any amount, or none, which then means the whole donation goes to the charity.)

Donations by cheques need to be made out to the Friends of St. James’ Park and can be sent to: Shirley Parish Hall Commemorative Plaque Fund, Friends of St. James’ Park, c/o 133 Church Street, Southampton. SO15 5LWPlease drop a line or email if you would like to turn your donation into a ‘gift’ for a friend or relative this festive season as we are planning to print a small number of gift certificates.

The plaque will commemorate the women and men who worked in the Hall during WW2 when it became a ‘hidden’ factory making Spitfire jettison fuel tanks and air filters. This was one of several buildings included on the recently posted “Shirley Spitfire Trail” that were requisitioned or taken over for production of plane parts following the bombing of the Supermarine factories in the town in September 1940.

Members of the Shirley Local History Group are working with other volunteers from the Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust, The Supermariners and Solent Sky Museum and the team at St-James-by-the-Park to install the plaque.

Your kind donation will be used to cover the costs of design, manufacture and installation of the plaque at Shirley Parish Hall, the first of many planned plaques to honour the thousands of Spitfire Makers both in Southampton and beyond.

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