Photo opportunity: Spitfire and Hurricane to fly over Salisbury on Monday, 15 September 2014.
Shoppers and visitors to Salisbury can expect a spectacular flypast over the city by a Spitfire and Hurricane on Monday 15 September 2014 to herald the countdown to the Salisbury Wings Week in 2015.
These iconic fighters are expected to overfly the Market Place and The Close at 1230 on Monday to herald both ‘Battle of Britain Day’ and the launch of next year’s Salisbury Wings Week, from 14-20 September 2015.
Next year marks the 75th Anniversary of one of the greatest battles in the Second World War, fought mainly over southern England, which denied the German Luftwaffe air supremacy of the Channel and caused Hitler to postpone an invasion.
To mark both the Battle of Britain and Wiltshire’s contribution to Spitfire production, local historian and vintage aeroplane pilot Paul Beaver is organising a week of high-profile commemoration, education and participatory events in Salisbury.
“Salisbury’s contribution to the Second World War has been overlooked by historian,” commented Paul Beaver. “I hope we can help to set the record straight by highlighting the efforts of local people to do their bit.”
“Wiltshire had a number of production facilities in Devizes, Swindon and Trowbridge, as well as Salisbury which, with the help of the Wiltshire Museum Service and Visit Wiltshire, we will also highlight,” he added.
During 1941, eight factories in Salisbury built and developed Spitfires which were test flown at High Post and Chattis Hill. They were then delivered to the front line by the Air Transport Auxiliary, whose female pilots became known as ‘the Spitfire Girls’.
Working with local organisations, the organising committee has the stated objectives to remember the contribution of Salisbury and the wider county of Wiltshire.
During the week there will be lectures, schools projects, a concert, a retro-market and end with a major event in the Market Square and Guildhall.
“One project will be for schoolchildren to visit the elderly and record their remembrances of the Second World War in general and Salisbury’s part in particular,” explained Clare Tunnicliffe, who runs the Salisbury Wings Week education sub-committee.
Salisbury was one of the first towns or cities to hold a Wings Week to raise money to ‘buy’ a Spitfire for the Nation. Lord Beaverbook, given the role of Minister for Aircraft Production in May 1940, set up the Spitfire Funds and the people of Wiltshire answered with funds for three aircraft. Over 2000 ‘Presentational Spitfires’ were ‘bought’ by local people in 1941-42.