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Thread: Gloucester: Aircrafts parts factory

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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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    Natalie,

    "Charlesworth and Boddis or something along those lines."

    A possibility. This from the 1948 edition of 'Who's Who in British Aviation':

    Charlesworth (Great Britain) Ltd. Head Office and Works: 128, Much Park Street, Coventry. T.: Coventry 4006. Works: Newent, Glos. T.: Newent 313. Specialists in design and manufacture of aircraft interior finishings and equipment in connection with feeing and general catering.

    Errol

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    My faith in you all is restored. This sounds very likely. What exactly would aircraft interior fittings be? My female brain immediately thinks of things like seats, but I am sure this is not correct. Also, what are the other thingies?

    Natalie

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    Interior finishings would indeed be seats, plus decorative (as opposed to structural) panels, plus possibly handles, lights, and general things that people would come in contact with. Catering refers to food of course, and might include storage compartments, warming and cooling devices, tea pots, trays, etc.

    A company with experience in these items for aircraft could probably make quite a range of small metal parts in war time.

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