Delayed for a year due to the pandemic, the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, accompanied by Lady Wigston, attended the inauguration of a life-sized replica Spitfire honouring the civilians who secretly built the plane during World War Two which has been unveiled at the site a former factory in Salisbury.
During his speech, the Chief of the Air Staff talked about the: “courage, determination and commitment to the cause during the darkest days of the War...” by the people who built the Spitfires in secret and said they deserved our “deep respect and eternal gratitude.”
More than 2,000 Spitfires were built in requisitioned garages and sheds in Salisbury after Southampton's Spitfire production facilities were bombed.
Unqualified girls, boys, women, elderly men and a handful of engineers worked on the top-secret operation.
The replica has gone on permanent display next to the A345 in Wiltshire at the Salisbury Rugby Club which was the location of Spitfire Factory Number 1 during the War.
Invited guests and several hundred members of the public enjoyed a stunning display by the Queens Colour Squadron, the music of the Band of the RAF Regiment and a flypast by a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire.
Members of the Salisbury Air Training Corps attended the ceremony and the Chief of the Air Staff chatted with them about their aspirations for the future and wished them luck with the exams which they are currently taking.