The problem was, they explained, that the apprentice was rather small and skinny so he would have to be ballasted to keep the aircraft in trim. They found him a pair of flying overalls about four sizes too big and fitted him into them, rolling up the trouser legs and arms so his hands and feet poked out. They then filled all the pockets with bolts and nuts and ballast weights until he could barely walk. As Mr Bulman came out of the tower, some distance away, they said "Off you go", and the whole Flight Shed turned out for the laugh as the poor little figure staggered across the airfield in his oversize overalls with the ballast weighing him down. He never reached the aircraft, which was just as well, as Mr. Bulman had not been told anyway, and the apprentice had been the victim of the sort of sport that newcomers had to contend with in those days!
The name of the little apprentice? John Gale, sadly no longer with us, who stayed with the Company for many years and became Product Support Manager.
Editor's note. John's daughter, Diana Dean, for many years secretary to Fred Sutton and later heads of flight development, is a new Member.
From Ralph Kuhn who tells us that a memorial to Sir Frank Whittle is to be erected on the Ively roundabout near the entrance to the Farnborough airfield entrance.
The memorial, the idea of Roy Fowkes, an old friend of Sir Frank, will be in the form of a full scale model of the Gloster E28/39, the first aircraft to be powered by Whittle's engine and Britain's first jet aircraft. In addition to the fact that the Rolls-Royce Nene that powered Hawkers' early jets was a direct descendant of the Whittle engine in the E28-39, another Hawker connection is that the aircraft itself was designed by George Carter who was chief designer at Kingston when Camm joined the company.
From Johnnie Johnson who adds to Dave Fowler's account of the HMS Blake incident.
With the brakes applied and the nose-wheel swinging, the wet deck caused the aircraft to skitter across the tiny 'flight deck' and it would assuredly have gone over the side but for that quick thinking sailor. Hugh (Merewether) appeared quite unmoved!