RAF News

Air Commodore Marshall revealed as Secret Spitfire Patron

Air Commodore Suraya Marshall stands in-front of a Spitfire.
Air Commodore Suraya Marshall has been revealed as the new Co-Patron of the Secret Spitfire charity honouring thousands of women who built over 2500 Spitfires in Salisbury during the Second World War.

Air Commodore Suraya Marshall ADC MA LLB RA has been announced today as the new Co-Patron of the Secret Spitfire charity set up to honour the many who built the aircraft around Salisbury during the Second World War.

Black and white image of the Secret Spitfires lined up in the airfield.
New Spitfires lined up ready for the RAF. 

The Air Commodore, currently the Commandant of RAF College Cranwell, will use her role as Patron to tell the story of the Secret Spitfires to further her work as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) champion for the RAF; inspiring young people, in particular girls and young women, to pursue a career in engineering or piloting aircraft.

“I am delighted and immensely proud to be involved.  The collective endeavours of this group of people with no formal training or qualifications is breathtaking.  They exemplified courage, innovation, and determination and are an inspiration and example to us all."

Air Commodore Suraya Marshall
Secret Spitfire Patron

A black and white photo of female Secret Spitfire builders by a Spitfire.
Crew of the the secret factory girls, posing by a Spitfire wing they have just finished.

On 9 July the charity will unveil a new memorial consisting of a life-sized replica Spitfire commemorating the production of ‘Secret Spitfires’ and the thousands of workers who built them in or around Salisbury during the Second World War. These Spitfires were secretly constructed in response to the bombing of the main Supermarine factory in Southampton.

“The memorial reflects the incredible efforts made by those extraordinary secret workers and signifies our gratitude and respect. I want young people today to see their story as an example that proves anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”

Air Commodore Suraya Marshall
Secret Spitfire Patron

Black and white image of the women building the Secret Spitfires.
Riveter girls work in the secret factory. 

The modern-day STEM work of the RAF and the charity reflects that the thousands of workers largely comprised unqualified young girls and women who went on to build over 2500 Spitfires in Salisbury, Trowbridge and Reading in sheds, workshops, garages, bus depots and a hotel.  Costing over £85,000 the memorial will serve as a lasting tribute to them.

Below is a video trailer for the Secret Spitfires.

You can also read more about the Secret Spitfires at the Secret Spitfires Memorial charity website.

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