May 1957: Last days at work

May 1957: Last days at work

A Chapter by Wild Rose

May 1957 

Now Twenty one Harry was called to enrol at the labour exchange once more.

The same form to fill in again.

It was a different man at the desk, he read through the form "You want to go in the Air Force/ Have you any relations who have bee or are now in the air force?

"Yes sir! my father was a corporal air frame fitter"

"Well that is good they like continuity like a family, I will put you through for the air force but I have no garuntee that they will acept my word, we can but try, good luck to you"

"Thank you sir"


Two weeks later a letter arrived with time; date and place to report and a travel warrant to exchange at the rail station for a ticket

Second week in June Harry went on holiday to the Isle of Mann International Cycling Week.

He went with friends round the Oncan Cicuit to watch the proffessional race with all the top proffessional riders taking part. They had positioned themselves on a long drag. Alongside were the Royal Air Force cycling team someone pointed out their team manager (Flt Lt Henderson), they told Flt Lt that harry was due to report first week in July


Harry reported to his foreman at work

He was offered the chance to work the weekend for which they explained he would receive one weeks pay for the two days work


Harry clocked in at five forty five Saturday morning, collected his tools, then walked through the factory to the nylon plant by six o'clock as instructed.


The chargehand and two labourers were there "You know Billy and George? You have to remove all the instrumentation completely and send it to the central workshop; Billy an George know the best order to work in > You must leave before ten o'clock, even if you haven't cleared every thing, you must be back in the workshop by ten o'clock"


There were  two men in dust proof suits and breathing equipment in the autoclave scaping off the process residue 

A gang of engineers who's job was to remove heavy machinery around the factory (The Heavy gang as they were known as) rigging up equipment to lift off the electric motor which drove the impellor inside the vat: Electricians disconnecting the motor as the heavy gang were preparing to lift it


Following orders from the two labourers all the instrumentation was removed and placed on  the two hand carts for transportation.

Beginning with two large multi point chart recorders; once they were disconnected and removed from the control panel Billy and George carried them out; it requiring two people to carry each one.

As the were removing the recorders Harry was removing individual pressure gauges and making preparations for removing two temperature indicators which had long Lead covered steel capillary tubes; Billy helped remove the temperature indicators while George carried out the small loose gauges

Everything was removed and placed on to the carts by twenty to ten.


They set off for the workshop

George left them at the workshop doors to take his cart to the central workshop and put the kettle on for tea.

Billy proceeded to make the tea for them and two other instrumentation workers

The chargehands came round for a head count, all were present, the shift foreman informed, He called the nylon plant

The four of the sat having their break; their was a loud bang followed by a rush of air, a rumble like falling bricks a few seconds later a dull thud.

The foreman's phone rang, the chargehands came out.

The autoclave had exploded and both process workers were killed.


The rest of the week he just worked his normal shift.

Word had gone round that he was leaving; several people wished him well and a few old soldiers offered advice 'Keep you head down; Never volunteer; dont answer them back; etc

Friday he worked a normal morning, then over lunch he prepared his tools for transport home.

Following lunch he reported to the personnel office for his papers and final pay packet

Returning to the general instrumentation workshop he handed over his overalls, said his final good byes

© 2019 Wild Rose

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Added on September 7, 2019
Last Updated on September 7, 2019


Wild Rose
Wild Rose

Lake Disrtict, Cumbria, United Kingdom

BA (Hons)Management studies Open University Full tech Cert. Marine: Aviation & Industrial Instrumentation and Conrtol Retired engineering lecturer Ex racing cyclist: fell walker: Camper more..

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