|Putting the wings onto a Hurricane|
From 1936, Hurricane fuselages were built in the Hawker Assembly Shop at Brooklands but the wings were constructed at Kingston and were transported to Brooklands by road. Ron here describes the process by which the two were joined together which took place a short way across the airfield in the Flight Sheds.
When talk of the apron we are talking about the aircraft being completed.
No, what happened was that the fuselages would be brought over from the Assembly Sheds, brought over to us and we would put the wings on. This - I am talking Hurricane.
Now as far as I know, and can remember, the wings were bought into Brooklands but the fuselage was made at Brooklands. We would - in the Flight Shed we would get the fuselage, the wings - we would marry the two together, put the 'props' on in our hanger.
Today, in industry they could never do what we did in those days. Health and Safety. The men - we never had any special lifting gear to put the wing on a Hurricane. It would be, "Oigh, come on give us a lift" and half-a-dozen would get round, some on the wing tip. People who were putting - you had to marry these up and to marry those bushes up was a bit of a - I can remember was a bit of a pig.
So this is putting wings actually onto the Hurricane? And it was a very difficult to thing to get...
Not difficult but it could be at times.
It was the alignment was it?
It was the alignment. You know, you get six blokes on there around the wing trying to put it on and trying to get them to do everything together, you know, it could be difficult. But it was enjoyable. Some - there could be some sort of language going on, need I say more! But that was how the wings were put on, not by any special lifting gear, or trestles or anything else, pure brute force and ignorance, at times.
Yes, it's a far cry from robotic assembly lines, isn't it?
Ah! It's nothing like it, nothing like it.
And you said that the wings were actually held in place with only a couple of .....
What I remember - all I am saying is the main bolts that I can remember was one top and one bottom and of course there was other attachments as well. But the two main bolts – spar bolts – I think were the ones that were difficult at times to line up.