Memories of Calderdale

World War II equipment


Geoffrey Siddall

Before World War II, it was customary for the Royal Air Force to set out the aircraft in neat rows on the Hangar apron, a custom which had to rapidly change on the first airfield strike by the Luftwaffe. They were then to disperse the aircraft round the perimeter, to minimize the damage at each pass. This of course made the maintenance harder for the Ground Staff. Where it only entailed a short walk to the Hangar for supplies, it could involve a mile or more when the aircraft were dispersed. It was required for the Engine and airframe men to have the small quantities of special oils, dopes etc in one place, on a hand cart which could be manhandled easily.

As the Luftwaffe continued the airfield attacks, Jerry Wadsworth & Son Limited, received a telephone message from the Air Ministry wanting to place an urgent order for Light Trailers. The position was so desperate that they were required to send a suitable trailer by passenger train the day after. The only suitable item was an adaptation of a light trailer, with wire spoked wheels and weighing under 2 cwt, so did not legally require brakes to travel on the highway. This was made and fitted with the wooden crossbar handle, and waiting for the daily collection by the Railway carter. It was, of course, unpainted.

As with all goods supplied to the Government, they had to be inspected and accepted before despatch. A man arrived, and promptly started dismantling to inspect fully. He then started nit-picking. A thread on a grease cap on the wheel was not satisfactory, as it was a bought in wire wheel there is nothing they could do. The man refused to accept it, and as Douglas Wadsworth had promised that it would go by passenger train, he ordered the man out. The argument escalated, and he threatened that the trailer would not be paid for. Douglas stated that he would pay for it himself, but the trailer was going on the passenger train in 30 minutes! He had a man replace the items removed, and it duly caught the passenger train.

The Inspector left in very bad grace, but the Air Ministry eventually paid. In this small way it was a help to the final conclusion

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 10:26 / 30th May 2021 / 3957

Page Ref: M_26

search tips advanced search
site search by freefind