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Building Mosquitos at the Standard:
A standard built Mosquito, like the ones John Hindmarsh worked on
I found the following article on the BBC website where contributors are invited to record their memories of World war II. It is reproduced with their permission and acknowledgement of the BBC copyright.
Article Contributed by John Hindmarsh
Location of story: Coventry UK
I elected not to return to grammar school education when my parents and family moved from Newcastle to Coventry in April 1943, when I had just turned 14. In the spirit of the 'doing my bit' I obtained work at the Standard Motor Co factory, Canley, Coventry. I was first employed in the Time Office; to which all prospective employees reported. I looked so young the boss took pity on me and employed me there until I was 15, but did not disclose his reason at the time. Meanwhile I traversed this huge and diverse factory site each morning to collect each employee's 'clock card' for marking up and then returned same to the card holders in the afternoon. The factory's war production covered manufacture of the Blenheim Bomber and the De Haviland Mosquito Fighter/Bomber, together with military vehicle engine production and sundry items; employing some 4,500 personnel.
At age 15, I coaxed a reluctant Mr Harrison into arranging a job for me in the Mosquito Shop and started work with the 'Lapping Up Gang'; where the 2 quite separate halves of the fuselage are brought together, clamped in a jig array and sealed with simple slats of plywood top and bottom, glued and screwed, inside and out along the fuselage length. The design, acceptance and eventual manufacture of this brilliant all wood aircraft is of course a story on its own. Similarly to the fuselage production, the wings were made alongside, assembled from a vast collection of detail -
My work continued until VJ Day; whereupon very shortly after; production ceased and all employees on aircraft production were made redundant. At age 15 I had joined No 120 Standard Motors Squadron, ATC and had wartime flying experience flights at local airfields. We were all mad keen to be old enough to enlist -
On the home front my family had found a 'slightly' bomb damaged house that had been "repaired" that they bought for £600 -
Needless to say I will keep in touch with this project and through archive information within the Coventry Council website, research and add any other relavent data that may be required. Of course there may be others who would recall a similar story of their wartime experience at the 'Standard'; particularly members of 120 Squadron.
There are an astonishing 47,000 more wartime stories available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ including others about the Standard Motor Company that I will try to feature here later