Newsletter 17
Summer 2007
Updated on 28Jul2007
Aces, Erks, Backroom Boys
Annual General Meeting
Dunsfold Wings and Wheels
EDO to Project Office
Eric Rubython
F-35 Lightning News
From Ribs to Retirement
Hawk News
Hawker Nimrod Query
Hawker People News
Hunters Still Active
Kingston Aviation Heritage
Racing Gliders
Unlocking Potential
Upper Heyford Recollection
V/STOL Wheel of Misfortune
Why Pay More

Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

    Dave Edwards recalls his long and unique career with 'Hawkers'...
    In 1940, when I was fourteen, my Scout Master arranged an interview for me with Mr Judd of the Personnel Department at Hawker Aircraft. Afterwards Mr Judd took me to see Mr Rayner of the rib shop and he agreed that I could start the following Monday. He explained the work to me, including making tea for Mr Davis, Mr Walker and himself.
    Mr Ron Day was the fitter I was to assist and we had a very pleasant period together. The work was holding up the ribs of the Hurricane wings while Ron Day completed the riveting
     After three months Ron went on night work and left me instructions as to what work I should do. Mr Rayner knew that now both my mother and my father had died and I was in lodgings so he had a look at the work I had completed and decided to put me on the bench which meant that my wages rose from thirteen shillings a week to one pound. 
From Ribs To Retirement

top top
    My first details were items for the Australian Demon. The rib shop moved to Slough but I transferred to 'top fitters' (top floor fitters) under Mr Percy Cheeseman. Here my first job was detail manufacture and assembly of Hurricane radio trays. Now past sixteen I joined the Hawker Home Guard and 328 Squadron Air Training Corps. Home Guard duties were mainly fire watching which I did in the tool room behind the old Regal Cinema.
    My next move was to 'mid fitters' (middle floor fitters) where I signed up for an Apprenticeship which was normally five years but mine was for six. While on 'mid fitters' many female fitters joined us. The Duke of Kent visited us and was amused that I was standing on a box to reach the vice to cut and file the parts.
    When the air raids came a buzzer used to sound and we would retreat to the shelters. This lost many working hours because the buzzer sounded as the German aircraft were crossing the coast. The system was changed so that the buzzer sounded as the bombers approached London which meant a quick retreat to the shelters.
    The factory did get one bomb on the edge of the Experimental Department where the Typhoon prototype was being built. However, the aircraft was only covered in dust but unfortunately a soldier on guard in a metal shelter was killed. We had a Lewis gun positioned on the canteen roof on the opposite side of the road for low flying aircraft.
    During this period I moved to various departments where most of the work was making rough tooling for new parts. These tools were for quantities between ten and fifty and if the parts were successful proper tools were made for production. I then moved to the assembly of Meteor rear fuselages, Sea Fury tails and Hunter wings where my apprenticeship finished.
    I transferred to become a Rate Fixer in the Spar Shop. From there I went to the Contracts Department becoming a Senior Divisional Estimator. After a few years I moved to the Future Projects department to estimate the costs of new projects. Eventually I returned to Contracts. While there I made visits to McDonnell Douglas to assist the Ministry of Defence and to compile joint estimates.
    After forty-seven years with the Company I retired at the age of sixty-one.