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People Topics related to WWI aviation personnel

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  • 1 Post By Hugh_A._Halliday
  • 1 Post By Andrew_Smith

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Old 18 December 2002, 11:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
Andrew_Smith
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G'day All,

I have tracked this particular Australian RNAS pilot post war to the Yorkshire Aero Club (YAC). He was one of the founders. I have contacted Multiflight who purchased the YAC, and they put me onto a helpful chap from Air Supply Aviation Store.

He emailed me with the following;

Worral was very active here until well after the war. He was involved in the setting up of the Avro aircraft 'shadow' factory, and with the ATA delivering Aircraft constructed. I believe he was also active after WW2 as well. To convey all his activities here would almost entail a book in itself, I think!

A couple of questions;

What was the "Avro aircraft 'shadow' factory" and was the ATA the aircraft "ferry" service during WW2.

Do any "forumites" live in the Yorkshire area?

Regards,

Andrew.
 
Old 19 December 2002, 09:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Andrew,

Remember my thread a long time back about Lady Drogheda and her involvement with WW1 aviation charites? I have a photograph of her getting out of a plane with (I think) your Mr. Worral assisting her. Either Yorkshire Flying Club or Scarborough Flying Club circa 1925. I will check its really him and get back to you.

Shadow factories tended to be duplicate factories set up well away from the industrial complexes like Birmingham or Derby, in an attempt to avoid the disaster of all production being halted if a manufacturing centre got plastered in a bombing raid.

We had a shadow factory assembling Spitfires in Christchurch. The road beteen the factory and the Airfield at Christchurch was made especially wide so they could wheel the spitties the 1/2 mile up the road to the airfield, to then be ferried away - presumably by your ATA. (Air Transport Auxilliary??)

Mike
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Old 19 December 2002, 11:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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G'day Mike,

Thanks for the reply. If the photo is him is there a possibility that you can scan it and email it to me please.

I had a further email re Worrall;

Henry was the C.F.I at Sherburn over the years you mention, then transferred to be the CFI at Yeadon (Yorkshire Aeroplane Club) until the start of WW2. He then became a test pilot for the Avro factory at Yeadon, that produced Lancaster and Anson aircraft. No one seems to know what happened to him after the war, but my contacts are hot on his tail.

For a bloke that was a high profile personality in his time, there is surprisingly little on him. I have checked the histories of the Lanc and Anson and there is no mention of him.

I was wondering if the Yorkshire newspapers of the time have anything on him.

Thanks again Mike.

Andrew.
 
Old 20 December 2002, 08:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry Andrew,

my memory is failing. It was an ex RFC chap helping her Ladyship out of her plane at Yorkshire Flying Club, and to make matters worse, his back is to the camera so you can't see his face.

All is not lost, I have a contact in Yorkshire, and I will ask him what he knows about Worrall.

Mike
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Old 28 December 2002, 01:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Andrew,

not Worral, but I visited the site of another Shadow factory yesterday. It was a Supermarine factory situated just off the main road between Salisbury and Andover in Wiltshire. A mile up a little track called "Spitfire Lane" it was situated in a small wood, completely invisible from the air. There was one WW2ish looking building in there, but the main factory block has gone - however I was assured it was there just a couple of years ago.

They used to wheel the spits out of the wood into a sloping field alongside, and the ATA pilots (often women) used to take off uphill in a northerly direction.

The location is a place called Chattis Hill, this was a WW1 RFC and RAF training aerodrome in WW1 (the real reason I was there). The factory and airstrip were about 2 miles nearer to Salisbury than the WW1 Aerodrome.


Mike
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Old 28 December 2002, 11:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
Hugh_A._Halliday
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This chap might well have qualified for an MBE in the civil honours lists. May I suggest a search for such an award ?
 
Old 29 December 2002, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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G'day Mike and Hugh,

Thanks Mike. I bet you had fun. I am off to the AWM research centre this weekend, it should be "fun"!!

Hugh,

Is there an easier way of checking on MBE recipients other than trolling through the London Gazette?

Is there a reason that makes you think Harry Worrall may have been awarded the MBE?

Happy New Year Gentlemen,

Andrew.
 
Old 30 December 2002, 12:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
Hugh_A._Halliday
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Assuming all the activities mentioned are true, the sheer variety of his work - flying clubs, shadow factories, test flying - suggests contact with several organizations whose members may have recommended him at one time or another for an MBE or OBE. I confess to "hunch" rather than certain knowledge of the man on this score.

Is there an easier way to find an award other than trolling ? Gee, if research were easy it would not be fun !

Seriously, London Gazettes had a very good indexing system from about 1941 to about 1960 (the periods I have consulted them most frequently). The index includes a section for awards of all varieties, civil and military. Since each "year" is in a minimum of four volumes (each with its own index) you may need an afternoon to search (and of course, in this instance, I am not certain he received an award - just going on a hunch).

I know with certainty that he did NOT receive an award such as a civil MBE between the wars, as I have compiled a pretty good listing of those inter-war honours.
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Old 30 December 2002, 05:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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G'day Hugh,

Great detective work. His niece has just confirmed that Harry received the MBE.

Quote:
Is there an easier way to find an award other than trolling ? *Gee, if research were easy it would not be fun !
I don't mind the research, it is just the Gazette is bloody heavy .

Thanks again,

Andrew.
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