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Thread: Gloucester: Aircrafts parts factory

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  1. #1
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    Default Gloucester: Aircrafts parts factory

    Dear Experts,

    Am so far incredibly impressed by your ability to dig up information about my relatives, so I continue to throw more and more curly questions in your direction. This one concerns my late grandfather, George Prior, who was a mechanical engineer from Wolverhampton. He worked in various places, in France for the railways after WWI, and later for a bicycle works in Wolverhampton and for the Boulton Paul factory there, which I believe made the Defiant fighter plane (you can all correct me on this if I've got it wrong, which I probably have). My late uncle John, who was later killed in the RAF on a minelaying mission to Brest, also worked for Boulton Paul as an engineer before he enlisted.

    During the war, my grandfather was somehow sent or requisitioned to run an aircraft parts factory in Gloucester. I believe it was called Charlesworth and Boddis or something along those lines. It made some sort of spare parts for planes for the RAF, but I don't know the details. Now, can any of you experts tell me what the factory was, where it was, and what it made? If it helps, I actually have a photo of the inside of the factory, with my grandfather standing in the background, but I don't know if there is a way of putting the picture up on the forum. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

    Waiting now with breathless anticipation!

    Natalie

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    The main factories in Gloucester were in Brockworth and Hucclecote, where Gloster made their aircraft:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brockworth

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloster_Aircraft_Company

    However, there may have been other contractors in the area making parts

    A

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    Hi Natalie:

    You'll need "web space" for the pic. I don't think you can post it directly on the board, though you can post a link to the pic.

    If you want me to, I can bung it up onto my own webspace (assuming it's not too massive) and post the link here.

    markhux AT hotmail DOT com

    Cheers,

    Mark

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    It was definitely spare parts, not actual planes that were made there. I'll see what I can arrange about the picture. It's quite interesting.

    Natalie

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    My father in law worked in a factory at Glos that made variable pitch mechanisms, don't know the name but it wasn't Gloucester Aircraft. Pete

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    Default Gloucester engineering

    Natalie

    Well now you've done it and all the way from Brisbane - defeated the experts!

    It was probably the case that back in WW2 there were hundreds of (sub-contracting) engineering firms in Gloucester and the surrounding small towns such as Stroud and Nailsworth etc. Apart from Gloster Aircraft there were/still are other major aero-related companies such as Smiths Industries who made a lot of aircraft instruments/controls and Dowty Rotol who made propellors and aircraft hydraulics.

    As you may have found yourself "Charlesworth and Boddis" does not seem to give any joy on Google. I would suggest that you tried an approach to the Gloucester City Library and/or the Gloucester City Museum they might be able to help.

    Steve

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    I'm crushed. I really thought that you guys knew everything, right down to the last bolt, grommet and ball bearing.

    Part of the problem with this particular query is that I don't know the correct spelling of Boddis. I've tried all the variants I can think of. I've tried a local history society in Gloucester, and they were able to help me with some other information, but not this one. I can't help wondering if it had something to do with Boulton Paul, given that I know my grandfather worked there.

    I'm going to ask my husband to put the picture onto the internet for me, as I would be really curious to know if anyone can identify what is being done. It's mostly people working at lathes, but there are some parts sitting on a table, which the knowledgeable might be able to identify.

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    Could this be "Charlesworth Bodies"? They were a manufacturer of motor vehicle bodies based in Coventry, there is a 1945 reference (AVIA 9/81) in the Ministry of Aircraft Production files in the PRO catalogue with the title "De-requisitioning of Charlesworth Bodies Ltd" which implies that the form had been directed to do work for the MAP during the war and was now being allowed to resume their normal peacetime business. Although Coventry based it is possible they were asked to manage other sites in wartime.

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    Philip,

    It sounds to me very much as if you have solved the mystery, and it just goes to prove the dangers of relying on oral accounts--my father obviously remembered the name as BODDIS instead of BODIES.

    Anyway, I have managed to get the photo of the inside of the factory up on the internet, and you can look at it at the link below. My grandfather is the tall balding gentleman in the suit standing towards the back and slightly to the right.

    If any of you with the appropriate expertise could look at the picture and tell me what they think the people are making on their lathes, I would be very interested. There are curious stacks of objects on a table to the right. My father has always said that the factory made spare parts for planes, but no idea what these spare parts were. The factory was definitely in Gloucester, not Coventry--it may have needed to be relocated after the bombing there or alternatively it may have been a branch of the main firm.



    http://www.nataliejaneprior.com/RAF_Photos.htm

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    I have been searching for a Gloster dispersed factory in Newent for some time now. I found this posting regarding Charlesworth Bodies. Charlesworth, a Coventry based company, was requisitioned by the govt in WW2 and ran the factory in Newent, Gloucestershire.

    I think you can find it here.

    http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepat...one&rgrat=None

    If you locate the same spot on google maps

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps


    and drag the yellow streetview man to Tewkesbury lane, it has the telltale MOD fence, building design and gatehouse.

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