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As apprentice I worked on historic Walsall car

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

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I READ with interest your article about the Swallow Doretti sports car in The Bugle (February 13 edition).

I worked on this car somewhere around 1954/55 I cannot remember exactly when. At this time I was a TI apprentice and working at Helliwells, Aldridge.

I had worked in the aircraft section and also in the sidecar section. I was then sent back to the aircraft department and worked in the electrical fitting department.

This involved fitting wiring looms to the aircraft frames. I was working with a fitter whose name, I think, was Arthur Fellows. I cannot be sure but I remember that he was a keen cricketer and played for Aldridge.

After being in this section for a short time Arthur was transferred to the Swallow section to work on wiring up this new car and I went with him.

We had a set of electrical wiring drawings and circuit diagrams but very little else. We had no drawings showing how to fit the looms or how to get the wiring through the front bulkhead or how to secure the cables. After a couple of weeks of struggling we had solved most problems.

Then suddenly Arthur decided this job was not for him as he could not make any money, so he went back to the aircraft department.

I was then asked to stay on the car section until they could employ an experienced auto electrician. I was there for about two to three weeks before a new electrician came from Coventry.

This new fitter was very experienced and quickly had the job sorted out.

That is all I was involved in. I was then sent to work at Arthur Hudsons in Dudley in the tool room. The firm made handle bars for Hercules cycles and exhaust manifolds for Ford cars.

That I am afraid, is all I can recall, hope it is of some use.

Gordon Parke,

gparke@btinternet.com

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