The hidden Spitfire makers
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The factory workers who kept Britain's fighter planes in the sky

Everyone knows the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies. What's much less well known is that it was fought in the back streets of Southampton as well.

When the Luftwaffe destroyed the factory making Spitfires in the city in 1940, Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister of Aircraft Production, decided to commandeer small industrial sites around the city to continue making the planes.

The story is told in The Shadow Factory, a new play by Howard Brenton which opens at the NST City theatre in Southampton next month.

Don Smith, now 91, worked in one of them. He told us how, at the age of 14, he went from working on car repairs to making jettison tanks for Spitfires.

  • 24 Jan 2018