The photograph showing a group of workers in front of a de Havilland Mosquito was taken at the Standard Motors Facility at Ansty. Standard Motors were contracted to produce Mosquitos and Airspeed Oxford Aircraft during WW2. The original photo, and more details about the Mosquito, can be seen HERE.
Component manufacture, sub assembly and main assembly was carried out at the Standard Factory in Coventry. The wings and fuselage were then transported on low loaders to Ansty, where final assembly and flight testing was carried out. The Ansty Facility had previously been owned and used by Air Service Training, a subsidiary of Armstrong Siddeley Motors. The site was returned to the care of ASM after the war, and still exists as Rolls-Royce plc. The buildings occupied by Standard are still in use. The photograph was probably taken to mark a milestone in production. Possibly the 500th, the 1,000th or maybe the 1,066th, which was the total produced by Standard. The aircraft shown is an FBMk.VI.
Details by Ron Frost
In both images (above) we now have a postive identification of Alf Hitchin, who worked at the Standard works. On the second photo, dated immediately after the Coventry Blitz, Alf can be seen enjoying a cup of tea from a mobile tea wagon.
Another worker has also been identified. Fifth from left (on top photo) is Bill Wanley…
Back row, fifth from left and standing under the aircraft door is Bill Wanley, Test Pilot. Bill had never ever flown before being trained by the RAF to fly the Mosquito. My late uncle told me that one lunchtime Bill flew one just above the railway line at Canley and virtually ‘jumped’ over the Fletchamstead Bridge – just to show the workers what they had built.
After the war Bill went back to car production and eventually became the manager of the Quality Control Department at the Fletch South factory. One would have thought he would have made a career of flying; when I was an apprentice he once told me that he had never flown since!
In addition, did you know that the Bristol Beaufighter was also built at Canley?
In the mid 50s as an apprentice, I used to hear one workshop being called The Carburettor shop; I eventually found out they were referring to the shop where the carburettors were made for the Rolls Royce Merlin engines which were also built there; I can remember seeing the little engine test houses being used as stores at the back of the factory at Banner Lane. A few were demolished to make way for a large new test-house for the Rolls Royce “Avon” jet engines, which were being produced at the Standard Motor Co. Fletch South factory. I believe these engines were mainly used in military aircraft such as the Hawker Hunter.
Details by Alan Whitmore
This particular photo has names for all the men shown.
L to R. Jim Thompson, Cecil Olorenshaw, Reg Addison, Charlie Newin, Bill Wanley, Bill Guessey and Frank Perkins.
The Standard Motor Company were producing a Mosquito fighter-bomber every day, using engines made at a “Shadow” factory, which it also ran. The Mosquito was made of wood. The furniture industry, mainly based at High Wycombe in Berkshire, machined all the parts. These were transported to Coventry and glued together at Canley to form the fuselage, tailplane and wings, which were then taken to Ansty on the eastern outskirts of Coventry to what had been a small airstrip for basic flying training of RAF pilots, assembled and test-flown.