1935 July 28
in the home of my maternal grandmother at 25 Bosworth
Manchester [M11 3AW] she
delivered the baby and nipped out
for ice creams etc. The house was
demolished in 2009 as part of a redevelopment.
1935 Our family home in
those days was at 35 St.
Burnage, Manchester [M19 1EL]
1935 August 18
baptised in the parish of St Margaret, Burnage in the diocese
Godparents were Harry Royle, Dorothy Royle and Sydney Royle (my Dad).
1936 The family
21 Broadstone Rd,
Stockport, to take
over a Hydes beer-shop, the Long Pull, previously managed by paternal
until his death. My grandfather's funeral happened to be on my 1st
1939 March 3
was born. (Died Capetown 12 August 2009)
1939 - 1945 WW2, and my Dad
was called to serve in the R.A.F.
was the time
of The Battle of Britain, and
first days in school at Longford Road, Reddish, Stockport. There were
air-raid drills, and gas-masks for children and staff
Apparently diving under the desks would have protected us
February 18 : Aged 8, my first choir-practice at St.Elisabeth's church,
Reddish. Mr.Wright was the organist and choir-master.
Saturday February 19 : My first pianoforte lesson with
Harold English. He was the assistant organist at St.Elisabeth's
and an old friend of my Dad.
29 : It was
Whit-Monday and the day of the annual St.Elisabeth's choir
quite a novelty for an eight year old to be out and about with
The venues of those picnics were never the same and might have
been anywhere within 50 miles of Reddish. I do remember Southport;
Blackpool and Llandudno but this first one has
become signficant as the venue Belle Vue
Zoo and Funfair was swarming with U.S. Army G.I.s.
Those G.I.s could not have known that D-Day
was only 8
days away. And the primitive historian in me suspects that for reasons
of secrecy and security, many, many foreign troops were billeted well
away from England's south coast until the eleventh hour.
Tuesday June 6 : D-DAY
May 8 : VE
(Victory in Europe) i.e. D-Day to Victory was 48 weeks.
September 27 Dad was
released from the R.A.F. to continue family life with Dora, Geoff and
line is reserved for
my first bike (crate,
grid-iron, ger-off-and-milk-it etc etc). A diety
named Hercules had something to do with its invention.
Due to a fall on broken glass while playing, I suffered a
to my writing-hand. An artery and tendons were
could go back in time to Stockport Infirmary and thank those good
people who eventually repaired the
damage. I remember I was treated at the time with
antibacterial tablets, forerunners of what we now recognise as
antibiotics which were a godsend for war wounded.
My brother Philip
1949 - 1952 Attended Stockport
"engineer". Students chose to specialise either as builders
or engineers and were streamed accordingly
1950 August My
first ever commercial flight as a passenger in a
A 'foreign' customer came into our 'Long Pull' off-licence in Reddish
and regaled us with his ambitions and what seemed like tall stories. He
was a Rhodesian and a professional motorcycle racer. Little
any of us know then that our caller would actually go on win the I.O.M.
Junior and Senior races in 1953. To read more about this; and my own Bikes
please follow the link.
1952 Aug 30 (Saturday)
First flight of the Avro 698 (prototype Vulcan) at Woodford Aerodrome.
Among the observers at Flight-Sheds were chief design engineer
Mr Stuart Davies and his daughter Susan age
12 (according to Susan).
Then the following
31 (Sunday) "A
last minute rush to prepare the new Avro 698 four-jet delta bomber for
display at the S.B.A.C. Airshow took the wind out of the North Western
sails by causing the postponement of their
rally at A.V.Roe's Woodford aerodrome sponsored each year by the
"Manchester Daily Dispatch."
The foregoing quotation is from the Aero
Modeller magazine of
November 1952, pp. 648-649.
The webmaster was one of
the disappointed aero-modellers turned away from the
main gate on that Sunday morning. Also the short
and urgency of the cancellation were illustrated by
fact that on the previous evening, "- - the BBC added an announcement
Broadcast - -".
>> 1958 Aug
I was enrolled as an apprentice
draughtsman at Craven Brothers
(Manchester) Ltd. link
We built enormous machines for
metal cutting/and grinding. My apprenticeship included HNC
(Institute of Mech.Eng) at
Stockport College But in those days the closest we
got to a
degree/cap-and-gown or even formal indenture was advice from
management to "Just tell 'em
where you're from lad !"
National Service in the Royal Air
August 1958 - August 1960
[ link ]
No1 Radio School
I was trained to service ground-based radars such as 'beam-approach'
which assisted pilots when about to land, forerunner of ILS.
Those 'gears' were namely : Eureka; Babs; and TACAN.
Coincidentally in WWII my Dad who was an R.A.F. electrician,
the air-born counterpart equipment known as Rebecca.
Digressing for a moment. it pleases me to know that the
'Detection and Location of Aircraft by Radio Methods'
was first considered by the Air Ministry in February 1935,
the year I was born.
[ BOFFIN, p.7, by Robert Hanbury Brown FRS. ISBN: 9781 9101 9317 4 ]
Postings to :-
1962 & 1965 Our sons
John and Tony were born.
R.A.F. Locking (No.1 Radio School); R.A.F. Middleton St.
George, Darlington (Fighter station);
R.A.F. Chaplains School (Anglican), Dowdeswell Court,
another airman's account of his time at R.A.F. Locking.
1959 May 10
An amusing mishap. Dashing back to R.A.F. Locking around
my trusty Norton shed it's exhaust silencer. We were near
Gloucester, the night was as black as pitch when the
bike suddenly cried out; and in the rear-view mirror
I saw a
shower of sparks chasing me down the road. I did a u-turn to retreive
the the mad-hot hardware and it seemed an age before it was cool enough
to stow on the bike.
A part of the silencer, a welded lug had failed, and a few
workshop near Locking fixed it for me.
1959 Oct 17
and I were married at Reddish Green
Broadstone Road, Reddish, Stockport.
1967 Dec 25
Day and day number one
of my longstanding ambition to design and build an
telescope. As a hobby this interest in astronomy and
instruments lasted for decades, together with forays into
radio; weather satellite monitoring; radio astronomy etc. The radio element
led to an unexpected social life through my membership of Stockport
Radio Society. The club
secretary and his peers, largely WW2 veterans made me very
welcome and were surprised that I already had a Class A licence
(including Morse code).
I kept my 'motive' for joining SRS to myself; I had been trained by
the R.A.F. to service gears which used thermionic valves and since my
time in the R.A.F. such gears had become solid-state, i.e. the needs
and logic were basiically the same but a mere
fraction of the size and cost. A real plus was that hardware was
to homebrew. Regarding the above 'motive' the club had many bright
sparks who were glad to support my self-training in solid-state tech
pursuit of the knowledge I craved for doing backyard radio-astronomy).
Licensed as Radio Amateur,
(the G = England, U.K.)
On radio frequencies up to 29.7 MHz
metres wavelength) I met many
other 'radio-hams' in more than 100 countries, communicating mainly in
Those 100 radio contacts were confirmed each way by special postcards
which warranted membership of the (United States) Amateur Radio
Relay League, DX CENTURY CLUB, membership no.30,527
1961 - 1993
company, Woodford, Cheshire as a
design engineer, stayed there until retirement (age
58). Was involved in the
construction, modification and restoration of many
of aircraft, e.g. Anson [G-AHKX]; Shackleton; (the mighty) Vulcan;
Handley Page]; VC10 [ex Vickers].
Over the years the company name went through a number of
a design; assembly; and
flight test facility, the Woodford site closed on
1990 January 08 By
invitation I attended a Special Evening Buffet at St.
Mary's Church, Cheadle, Cheshire.
The guest speaker was Astronaut Colonel James Irwin - USA,
Module Pilot on the Apollo 15 Mission to the Moon.
Inevitably it was a very interesting encounter.
Firstly he spoke about his experience as a test-pilot and the
program; and then about his charity work and the way his Apollo
experience had heightened his feelings about his Christian
Many of us queued to be introduced to him (hand-shakes and chat) and
donation to his favourite charity we each received an autographed
photo of him standing beside Apollo 15 on the Moon.
died August 8, in the following year, aged 61.
Emma's birthday /w.i.p.
for Ben's birthday /w.i.p.
Millennium / Work
on this family history website began.
Aerospace plc (Manchester) 1981
XM606 over R.A.F. Fylingdales, Yorkshire
my familiarity with members of the
at B.Ae Woodford, a precise
citation escapes me.
Around that time they
other photos for
the walls of my office.
reader, this LINK
take you to a business webpage which includes
a rare portrait of Stuart
Davies CBE, designer of the Avro (698) Vulcan
together with endearing remarks
by his grandson.
to detect and record deep-space objects,
M1 the Crab Nebula; M87 Virgo 'A'; and Cassiopeia 'A'.
wonderland of imagination; history; astronomy; general science;
and handicraft, for me alone perhaps an ideal
nocturnally during six hours
as radio foghorn 'Cygnus A' slipped steadily westwards.
visual sky that night, under the Milky Way
External links :
few weeks prior to the above Shawbury event I had retired from B.Ae
Woodford on September 30th and it so happened that a farewell tour of
Britain by Victor-Tanker XH672
had been arranged for the same day - -
- so together with friends and collegues I
enjoyed the sight of a very quiet fly-past as the plane skimmed fast
and low across the airfield and away - - - it
was as though 'someone-up-there’ knew that
I was about to clock-out into retirement.
the same Victor XH672
was one of eleven refuelling tankers which
the attack by RAF Vulcan XM607 (Flt Lt Withers) on the Argentinian held
East Falkland Is. After the successful bombing run on the
airfield at Port
Stanley there was the homeward refuelling of the
Vulcan by Victor XH672
- 1999 January
Woodford colleague (known to me 1960s/70s/80s) Arthur
McNeillie died aged 77. I first met 'Mac' aged
46 when he was
appointed chief draughtsman in charge of about 300 draughtsmen
other technicians. Projects included Blue Steel; Airbus; 748;
Nimrod; 146; Victor (conversion to tanker); and
- 2005 AVRO,
Chadderton ex-colleague Kenneth (Ken) Brine, design engineer, Stress
- 2010 February 25 AVRO,
Woodford colleague Humphrey
MSc, design engineer, died aged 87. As
a boy he attended Cheadle Hulme School. About
1940, in the heat the of
Battle of Britain he joined the A.V.Roe company as a
draughtsman. He worked on Lancaster bomber
direction of Stuart Duncan-Davies. Humphrey
was my immediate superior throughout the 1970s during which the
Woodford team converted HP Victor-bombers to
Victor-tankers. Those tankers were to play an
Black-Buck operation which enabled the defeat of insurgents on the
Falkland Islands in 1982.