A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Godfrey, born in Hazelgrove, the third son of a cockney Metro Vickers engineer and his mother, both a Derby WWI Nurse and WW2 Women’s Voluntary Service officer, was still busy in 1995 on Museum heritage at the same A.V.Roe/BAe Woodford site – 55 years after moving in as one of 12 Barlow apprentices (among the first 30 there), signing for all those at the cutting edge of British Wartim industrial and armaments Production, and for their local brilliant aircraft designer, Roy Chadwick, Sir Roy Dobson and the whole team on AVRO’s war winning Lancaster, developed with its four Merlins out of the underpowered Manchester twin (R-R 24 cyl. Vultures).
Early in 1941, the first of 7,377 Lancasters flew, which were to fly 156,000 wartime sorties over Europe, delivering over 600,000 tons of bombs. The Lancaster, with a 69ft 4in long fuselage with a 102ft span and height just under 20ft, had 31 major components from shadow dispersed production of its 55,000 parts, with Avro producing 155 of the 293 aircraft built at the peak in August,1944 – for Woodford, over 40 and at times 50 in a week became achieved targets in an intensive 14 months. About 30 Lancasters flew over 100 operational raid sorties, two nearly 140, and, at overload with the ‘Grand Slam’ 22,0001b Earthquake Bielefeld Viaduct bomb, it was 33,000lb above its empty 37,0001b weight.
Dougie, used to every aspect of the 24hr 7day a week final assembly line production, was there to be thanked and encouraged by visiting Royalty and President Roosevelt, Barnes Wallis, Guy Gibson and others for the revolving drum spun Dam bombs – fittingly in 1995 he still cared for the Avro Heritage Museum in Woodford. At the war’s end Dougie still had to go off and serve with the Royal Ulster Rifles, losing friends in Palestine, before returning for work onto Lincoln, Shackleton, his much loved Vulcans and Andover 748s. He also flew as part of ex-Pathfinder Commander Av-M Donald Bennett’s first Tudor crew on the successful launch of the Berlin Airlift. [AP.]