George Poyner

My grandfather George Poyner worked at the Standard Motor Works from about 1932-42. My mother (his daughter) Josephine Kay is now 91 but has some clear memories of the time, including the air raids etc. George Poyner was a member of the works fire service and lived just opposite the main gates on Canley Road.
GEORGE EDWARD POYNER (born 1911-1991)

Standard Motor Works Employee (toolmaker) 1934?-1941
Member of Standard Motor Works Fire Brigade 1935?-1941

George joined Standard as a tool maker after serving an apprenticeship at A P Herbert in Coventry. He was certainly with Standard in 1934 but may have joined a little earlier. His first daughter, Josephine, was born in 1931 – at that time George was recorded as being a “journeyman painter” so he must have joined Standard after 1931. In 1936 he had a medal for a fire brigade competition. So he joined Standard before then.

George lived in a company house opposite the main gates of Standard Motor Works on Canley Road. It was a semi-detached. George was married with three children when he moved there. The fourth child was born in 1938 when they were living there. The other semi-detached house was occupied by Mr Assender, who was also a fireman. Another fireman and friend of the family was Mr Ingold.

During George’s time at the motor works, his children were ill with diphtheria but recovered. Captain Black, the head of Standard Motor Works sent his car and chauffeur to collect George’s daughter, Josephine, from hospital when she was recuperating. This act of kindness made a great impression on her and the family.

The company built a reinforced concrete air raid shelter in the garden for the family because the location of the house, in front of the main gates, made it vulnerable.

George moved his wife and four children to stay with relatives in Malvern two weeks before the big blitz of Coventry started on 14 November 1940. George returned to duty with the fire brigade and served throughout the blitz. He never spoke much about it but he had some traumatic experiences, including witnessing the death by drowning of fellow firemen in a flooded cellar of a car showroom. George narrowly escaped by climbing up a pipe to safety. He transferred to serve as a fireman at Flight Refuelling in Malvern in 1941.