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Hendy Foundation and Spitfire Makers have unveiled two blue plaques in Southampton which commemorate sites of Spitfire production and the people who became Spitfire Makers in Hampshire.

The foundation funded plaques on the site of the old Hendy garage in Vincent’s Walk and on the site of the Cunliffe Owen Aircraft (COA) factory opposite JLR Southampton, remembered by many as the Ford Transit factory.

The Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust aims to install more than 30 blue plaques in and around Southampton to remember all the locations that were commissioned during WW2 to build the Spitfire.

At Vincent’s Walk, the Hendy garage was requisitioned by Supermarine after the bombing of its main factories in Woolston. Production of fuselages continued there throughout WWII.

One of the original Spitfire Makers, Reg Saffin, a skilled sheet metal worker, had worked in the Hendy Garage and he only survived the bombing of the factory by going back to collect his coat which was hanging on the front of the aircraft he had been working on. By this time, the shelters he was heading for had been hit and many of his colleagues killed.

In Wide Lane the Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft factory opened in February 1939 and workers assembled and repaired aircraft and made parts for other manufacturers – including Supermarine. The factory was bombed in 1940, killing 52 workers.

Hendy Foundation is pleased to support this project which will help educate people about the importance roles that local people undertook during the war and trustees Rebecca Hendy and Mike Weatherston joined the unveilings.

You can find out more about the work Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust does here at