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Trustee from the Toolroom

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Alan Smith
    Two of my three all time heroes mentioned above, Nevil Shute and Sir Barnes Wallace. My third was a man of similar metal, Colin Chapman.
    Chapman's death seemed a bit strange at the time, I can't remember the details but it was IIRC overseas in the middle of some financial scandal, I couldn't help wondering whether it was 'conveniently arranged' one way or another, either by himself or someone he had upset.

    That's reminded me that a friend of mine worked for Lotus and Lotus Engineering for a few years, he was issued with various Lotus cars to drive around as his everyday vehicle, partly as a perk & partly as a good way to find what could go wrong.
    He took me on a (illicit) tour of the Engineering works while they were doing development work for DeLorean, lots of bits of kit set up to do exciting things like testing door hinges to destruction.



    • #17
      I very much enjoyed the Trustee from the Toolroom and experienced quite a coincidence whilst reading it .I was visiting a friend and met his next door neighbour , we got talking and I mentioned that I was reading "The Trustee from the toolroom" . He then told me that his father and Neville Shute were very good friends and he remembered model engineering talks that they had .
      I live only five minutes drive from Langwarrin , where Neville Shute once lived in Australia .
      Harry S


      • #18
        I just got in last night from 11 day trip to California and started reading Trustee on the plane. Looks like a good book! I may have to search out some more of his work. I don't follow complicated works well but have had no trouble with style.
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
        Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

        It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


        • #19
          I read "The secret war, 1939-45", by Gerald Pawle, last month. A foreward by Shute and a lot of anecdotes about the seat of the pants engineering they did during the war. Contraptions galore! Well worth reading after reading Shute's "Most Secret".

          Largest resource on the web for Taig lathes and milling machines,


          • #20
            Trustee from the Toolroom

            There is a mistake somewhere. What was 'Norway' trying to hide?
            I thought that I knew his story and then I started to examine the A.P.Ryan account.

            There was no such thing as Aircraft Manufacturing Company at Hendon aerodrome. There was the Grahame White Company- and the name was still on one of the inside of the hangars in 1948-9. The de Havilland Aircraft Company was not at Hendon but in Stags Lane, Edgeware and it then moved to Hatfield in Hertfordshire. I was offered a job there in 1946 and I used to fly in- from RAF Hendon- making the Air Cadets sick in 1949.

            Part of Aeroville which was privately built houses for 'works staff' went in as Airmen's Married Quarters but printed code books! Yea, they finally released- part of the truth only in the past few months.

            No, I do not know all the story but I was - well, I have said it before!


            • #21
              I would fully endorse Nick's recommendation of 'The Secret War 1939-45'. Fascinating account of the work of the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development, aka Wheezers and Dodgers. Some of the inventions were brilliantly successful, others, like the Great Panjandrum, somewhat less so. I don’t know what the effect would have been on the enemy, but it certainly terrified dogs and a cine cameraman. A few snaps of it here:-

              An extract from the Gerald Pawle book:-


              • #22
                [QUOTE=aviemoron] I was offered a job there in 1946 and I used to fly in- from RAF Hendon- making the Air Cadets sick in 1949.

                I'm convinced, you have to be the most senior of our senior members. You were offered a job when I was in kindergarten, and I ain't no spring chicken.
                Allan Ostling

                Phoenix, Arizona


                • #23
                  Trustee from the Toolroom

                  I am 77 ( going on 100) and probably the grumpiest member here.
                  On the other hand, I am perhaps, the most positive! One must be positive to survive so long.

                  Back to Norway as he is your topic- and why not? I do wish that you could have seen the film of the Great Panjandrum. Don't ask me when I first saw it but this bloody big Catherine Wheel was charging all over like a lunatic thing with everyone- and no one was the enemy taking cover- except on a beach there isn't any. Can someone out there, get the film clip!

                  What you must recall is that War is so serious that any opportunity must be taken for a laugh. The Wartime broadcast was this miserable git who quoted
                  'It is being so cheerful that keeps me going'. Humour- and forgive me- was another secret establishment. The Brits were secretly watching the Germans building a decoy airfield- it was taught at RAF Hendon as well- but this was complete with dummy planes, huts, tanks, the lot. Everything was made out of wood and canvas. The Brits kept a close eye on this until it was all finished- and decided to mount an air raid on it. So we dropped a wooden bomb!

                  One day, Allan, I hope that you will make RAF Hendon and its Museum. It is great experience. Perhaps, you will note in the Dirty Dozen, the guardroom is actually RAF Hendon's- and the planes beyond- are painted dummies.




                  • #24
                    The BBC did a TV series "The Secret War" back in 1977. I have volume 2 of the three volumes, it includes two episodes, one being about the V weapons, the other features strange things like the Giant Panjandrum.
                    May still be available, I bought this maybe seven years ago.

                    edit: just re-watched episode 4 "If", an excellent programme. The great thing about being made in the 1970's was they were able to interview people like Hanna Reitsch (talking about test flying Gigant gliders and Komet jet), Adolf Galland and Albert Speer, Frank Whittle, Stanley Hooker etc. Includes footage of the Giant Panjandrum in action, a truly crazy idea! Hanna Reitsch is especially interesting - explaining what it was like being the test pilot of one of these huge primitive gliders when two of the three towing aircraft failed on take off and her take off rockets were already firing and couldn't be stopped....

                    (By coincidence, I have just been reading the autobiography of Max Bentele, he was actually present in 1938 when Hanna Reitsch flew a helicopter indoors in the "Deutschlandhalle" - taking off, hovering, flying in circles over the audience, landing - a famous event that no one else has been bold enough to replicate as far as the author knows).
                    Last edited by Peter S; 06-28-2007, 08:35 AM.


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by aviemoron

                      ....dummy planes, huts, tanks, the lot. Everything was made out of wood and canvas. The Brits kept a close eye on this until it was all finished- and decided to mount an air raid on it. So we dropped a wooden bomb!


                      That's funny!!
                      Don't know if I believe it, but it does make a good story. Thanks Norman!
                      Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


                      • #26
                        "So we dropped a wooden bomb!"
                        The way I heard the story, it was even dropped by a wooden aircraft.
                        (thank you , DeHavilland)
                        Just got my head together
                        now my body's falling apart


                        • #27
                          It was a Mosquito that featured in the story (whether fact or fiction!).

                          The Mosquito used quite a bit of metal in its construction - including 50,000 brass wood screws!

                          ‘One of the most fitting tributes to the Mosquito comes from the commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, Reichsmarschall Hermann Gِring, whose public address to a rally in Berlin in January 1943 was rudely shattered by a low-level attack by 105 Squadron Mosquitoes. "It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito, I turn green and yellow with envy! The British, who can afford aluminum better that we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building…"


                          Going back to ‘secret war’ books, I’d recommend ‘Most Secret War’ by Prof R V Jones (I think it was entitled ‘Wizard War’ in the US). A very detailed, fairly technical, insider’s view of scientific intelligence. An interesting aspect is Jones’ efforts to second guess what the Germans were doing, under circumstances where a wrong guess would be disastrous.


                          • #28
                            The Germans, not to be out-done, built a jet fighter of wood. It had a number of problems, however, and never went into full planned production.

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                            • #29
                              Trustee from the Toolroom

                              I was trying to get a suitable reply to 'Old Tiffie' Good on yer mate, I hope that you will enjoy yer mates, yer reading and a bit of machining.

                              I got a note from 'a shadow' about the courage of his friends and himself.
                              I was busy, my wife was trying to make a few coins to replace a wooden floor in a tiiny Bethel.The storm came again, I was too tired to reply.

                              By the time that I was into uniform- proper- the Mossie had done its thing- magniciently in all sorts of guises. Geoffrey de Havilland Jnr who had test piloted the things was lying dead in what remained of the DH108 still with his spotted green scarf around his neck. He had hit compressability or something around Mach Point 86! An end of a glorius era and another brilliant pilot.

                              John Cunningham was to bring the little Vampire jet in- and the preWar tarmac melted. He might have brought the world of jet airliners in with DH's Comet but you can't melt our hallowed bit of runway! Not on- old boy! Not on!

                              I could go- there was Meteor 8's and that 'fighter' or so you lot called it- Canberra. Interesting to think that I saw the first one and our squadron has just finished using the last. No one will say what the venerable old girl did- but she must have taken some pretty pictures in some odd places!

                              Just a passing thought- didn't the Salamander have a 'spare' engine- underneath? And didn't the V1 have- a lady pilot?

                              Teasing? Not really. I was worried about pickaback ones on He111's.



                              • #30
                                Trustee from the Toolroom

                                Old Tiffie,

                                Maybe the news hasn't reached the good folks of Oz but at midnight our time(GMT) I was writing with some heat about 'detonators'.
                                It is now 0745GMT and the news has broken that at 0200GMT a vehicle was found in Central London with 'detonators' or something.

                                Something about old men dreaming dreams or having visions?
                                Time, me old cobber, to perhaps to cease suffering fools gladly.
                                You and Ken, keep the Upside down bit of the World free from these 'tripper cocks' I have had enough of these little men!