About the author: Dave Key is the voluntary archivist and historian at Hursley Park. He is trying to locate as many ex-Supermariners, or their relatives, as possible in order to record their stories. Could you help?
In September 1940 the Vickers Armstrongs (Supermarine) Woolston & Itchen workshops were bombed, forcing the complete dispersal of Spitfire production around the south of England (principally Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire).
By December the Design & Production departments had relocated to Hursley Park and many small business premises, including some in Chandler’s Ford, were requisition to enable Spitfire production to continue.
To allow the relocated Supermariners to continue to work there was a pressing need for accommodation and by December 1941 prefabricated huts, the Hutments, were under construction, some already having workers living in them by this time.
For the next sixteen years, until Vickers finally relinquished Hursley Park and moved the design team to Weybridge, Supermarine was an integral part of the local area.
This photograph below by Vickers-Armstrongs Collection, Cambridge University Library, was taken in 1943 of the design and production team outside Hursley House (it excluded the drawing office and experimental hangar workers, so is not the whole ‘team’).
75th Anniversary of the Supermarine Dispersal
Later this year will mark the 75th Anniversary of the Supermarine Dispersal.
To help commemorate this event I am trying to collect as many memories and pictures of those who worked for Supermarine as possible. From reading some of the posts already made on the Chandler’s Ford Today website I know there are still those who were themselves, or whose relatives were, Supermariners. I would very much like to hear your stories.
If you are able and willing to help I would love to hear from you, either via the site or contact me via my research email.