Salisbury (Sarum) Probus Club

Sarum Probus Club is an organisation for retired men living in the Salisbury Area.


  • Bombweed - Memories from the Home Front

    The club was delighted to welcome Maureen Armstrong for a talk about her mother’s as well as her own war time memories. The talk was based on her mother’s papers and novel. The latter was amended and published by Maureen’s sister Gillian in 2018.

    It was the story of a young woman with a baby being evacuated three times during the course of the war. Living in Hastings, married to a policeman, she was given half a day’s notice in 1942 to be moved to Weston-super-Mare. Arriving there late in the evening the only place where she could feed her eight months old baby turned out to be the mayor’s parlour.

    Their assigned hosts were two very severe and pious sisters who were not very pleased with their new guests. While mother and daughter were in W ston-super-Mare the father had become a bomber pilot with accordingly very restricted ability to communicate.

    When the bombing reached Bristol mother and baby were moved again, this time to Portsmouth.

    From there they would be evacuated a third time, now to a farm inn north Wiltshire. This proved a welcoming and cheerful abode. Their new refuge also gave them a front seat in witnessing the troop and aircraft movements towards D-day.

    Eventually they also had contact again with Maureen’s father. His last flight skirted disaster when hit by German anti-aircraft fire. However, he managed to get the stricken plane over the Swiss border.

    The crew, with the exception of one unfortunate, managed to bail out before the plane exploded. They were interned and eventually reached Britain via occupied France, Spain and Gibraltar.

    Maureen concluded her talk by encouraging her audience to tell the young an about their war time experiences. This encouragement was taken up enthusiastically on the spot!

  • Secret SpitfiresAlan Frener treated us to a fascinating and moving story of Salisbury fame. As a longstanding coach of Salisbury Rugby Club he and his team of youngsters were able to welcome Richard Hill, member of the 2003 World Champion team, to their Salisbury clubhouse. Hilly hails from Salisbury and is still a frequent visitor to the club.

    The second claim to fame is the, until recently, untold story of the secret Spitfire factories in the City and its surroundings.

    EN-GB">The Club was specially delighted to welcome as a guest Norman Parker, author of “Secret Spitfires Memorial”

    The original home of Spitfire development and manufacture was Southampton. However, after the first devastating air attacks in September 1940 it was decided to disperse Spitfire production. Salisbury became the biggest of several places of secret, dispersed production.

    Factory number one was next to Salisbury Rugby Ground. It is now marked out by the Spitfire Memorial just next to Castle Road.

    There were factory sites all over town hidden in innocuous buildings . Each factory worked autonomously producing complete planes. In total about 2500 Spitfires were produced by Salisbury factories. Alan’s presentation included a wealth of video interviews of those who had played a part in this highly secretive operation. Husband and wife would not know for years that each worked in different branches of this secret operation.

  • Here are details of some earlier talks given to the Club.