Kingston Aviation
George Cottrell
Transcript: 2
The job of the Inspector

George did not serve an apprenticeship but learned how to be an Inspector on the job. Getting his own set of stamps meant that his competance was recognised – but you could still be sacked on the spot if you got something wrong.

Now by this time I’d been given a stamp, ‘cause every inspector has his own stamp mark.

Right, so you had, so you had um, so although you didn’t sort of have a, this was the sort of sign that you finally arrived, when you get your own stamp.


It’s like passing your driving test effectively.

Sort of, yes.  You, you had this set of stamps, there was a rubber stamp, there was two metal stamps and as I say everyone was an individual numbered to that individual inspector. So once it was on a particular part – you’d have a hammer and you’d hammer it on and this impressed on the part, you see. Once it’s on that part that, your name is on that, there’s no way you can get away with saying, ‘Oh I didn’t do that’ when you know very well you did.  So then you signed your life away if the aircraft crashed or anything.

So, so if there was, if there was a problem, if there was a problem, subsequent problem with the part it could be traced back to you.

Yes, yes.

Could you, could you just give us a very, sort of, introductory account of what the job of the inspector involved.

Well at that that depends on where you are, of course, what particular department you were in.


I mean your job is sort of, what do you call it these days, oh dear I can’t think of the name now, there’s a specific name for it these days, quality control. That was basically what your job was, quality control.  You had to be sure that everything that went through to go into the aircraft was right.  Sometimes it was wrong.  I’ve known people get the sack for that.  And in those days you could be sacked on the spot.  There’s no, no sort of going through unions or anything like that, but you could be sacked one, overnight so to speak.  But that’s what, basically what inspection is. Everything that goes through to go on the aircraft has to go through inspection.