In July 1944 Ken Newby, Peter Wroe and Ralph Hooper (age 18), then Blackburn Aircraft Co. apprentices, were sent during the long vac. at the end of the first year at Hull University College, to work for the Fleet Air Arm at Donnibristle, E. Fife, a main maintenance base. The last named is no Samuel Pepys but the extracts below are taken from jottings in a 1944 diary which has recently come to light.
The last of the first year exams, Applied Maths, had been sat 9-12 am on Saturday 8th
July. On Monday 10th the rail journey via York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Inverkeithing seems to have taken all day thus:-
"10th Mon. Arrived Aberdour 11.0 pm.
11th Tues. Got up late. Met Blackburn Rep. (J Johnson). Taken to place of work, Assembly Four Hangar, Donnibristle.
12th Wed. Work at 7.30, nothing all day. Inspected Maryland, Swordfish, Barracuda and other aircraft.
13th Thur. No work till afternoon. Saw Seafire, Sea Gladiator, Sea Hurricane, Walrus, Sea Otter, Fulmar, Albacore, Oxford, DH86 Dragon Rapide and 4 engined version, DH Flamingo, Beechcraft (Staggerwing), Stinson Reliant, thing like a Crane (but not one), Grumman Avenger, Wildcat, Hellcat, Anson, Proctor."
(The above list covers the space available for the 14th and 15th so):
16th Sun. Slept late (9.30). Walked in morning. To beach and swam twice in afternoon. Walked and climbed cliffs in evening.
17th Mon. Worked on trailing edge of Barracuda (having done undercarriage). Walked to Silver Sands and swam in the evening. (We had marvelous weather during most of our time in Scotland. The digs provided only one bath per week, the work was often quite hard and grubby so the emphasis on swimming had a lot to do with keeping clean!)
(At this point our rather erratic scribe gave up. Pity, but what a super experience. One further relevant entry occurs.)
Fri 25th. Aug Flew Stinson. 20 - 25 mins, in control 5 or 6 mins, dives, banks, turns, climbs.
(The above flight, shared with Ken Newby, was first time airborne for the diarist - doesn't mention the low flying in which our pilot indulged - great fun.)
Sat 26th. BACK HOME ."
Ken Newby was AD Future Systems in St Giles Court at the time of the New Trainer competition. I don't think this did the 1182 any harm at all!