Alan Whitmore

I started my apprenticeship in the Training School with Standard Motor Co. at Banner Lane in August 1954 and was ‘used’ in No’s 1 & 2 machine shops.

I used to machine the cast iron hydraulic Power Take-off cylinder blocks, Rear Axle and Mg/Al Hydraulic Housings ( there we had some interesting fires !) Gearsticks, steering Column Supports. Due to disablement I spent some considerable time in Bought-Out Inspection in the Assembly Shop; Jack Oakes was my Foreman and George Toms was my Charge Hand; Sammy Wright was the main Assembly Foreman. On the right-hand side of the shop was where the huge tyres were fitted to the wheels otherwise known as the “Tyred Squad !” In one part of the shop there was an assembly line for the Standard 8 & 10 engines. At lunchtime we used to go fishing in the static water tanks by the Salvage Dept.

 We apprentices would ‘borrow’ a few tractors and experience driving a vehicle. The Standard Motor Co. did ensure we were in possession of a Driving Licence at the end of our apprenticeship – thanks to Jim Davies, the Company Driving Instructor.

This became Standard -Triumph Engineering Divn. otherwise known as Fletch North. Fletch South is to the right which during the early 50’s was the Standard Aero Divn. where Rolls Royce Avon jet engines were produced; they were transported to Banner Lane for testing in the two specially built test houses between the 18 old WW2 Rolls Royce Merlin “M” test houses at the rear of the factory; the jet engine exhausts went up a concrete ramp – we young apprentices found this to be good fun to run across as an Avon engine was going at full pitch !

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