Ordnance

Ordnance
Stokes Mortar - one of the simplest inventions

Friday, 9 September 2016

Our debt of gratitude to the British Motor Industry in WW2

The History Press has published on their website an article I wrote on the British Motor Industry's contribution in WW2 in which Coventry played a major part.

The more I think about it, the more open mouthed I become.

These companies made motor vehicles; they made guns, jerrycans, tin helmets. They made aircraft. The story of the Stirling Bomber, the MacRobert's Reply, which I have written with Phil Jeffs for Story Terrace, has centre stage a Stirling Bomber made by Austin.

The motor industry in the 1930s had been exciting, but far from secure. The Rootes brothers saved Humber and Hillman by buying them.

I am struck by the contrast with the American motor companies where Ford, for example, was turning out massive numbers of vehicles using the techniques of mass production.

Rolls Royce built Merlin engines by hand.

Pictures from the Chilwell depot show similar hand techniques.
With so many men joining the armed forces, many women joined the industry and worked to great effect under the careful eye of those men too old to be call up.

The result was phenomenal. We owe a huge debt of gratitude.
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