R&I Group: A short history from Mike Wilkey

Mike Wilkey has compiled a short history of the Research and Instruments Group covering the period he worked there (1958 – 91) and the events his 2020 brain permits.  A great deal of the work was for the Ministry of Defence concerning airborne reconnaissance, although the design, manufacture and use of a wide range of commercial hydraulic vibration test equipment also became part of the business.

Click on the link below to view or download the history.

R&I Story

 

Railway track survey with Bill Cheffins

Ken Fostekew has found this photograph of what is presumably a rail track surveying platform using Eagle IX cameras.

Bill Cheffins is on the left of the photograph, but there is no information about the other people in the photograph, or of the survey job, location or date.  Can anyone fill in the details?

KF Bill Cheffins railway track

 

 

Click on the photograph to enlarge the image.

Happy Birthday Bix

Bill Clark in 1972

Bill Clark in 1972

Bill (Bix) Clark, who opened the Fairey Surveys Livingston office back in the 1970s, will be turning 90 on 5th March.

Bill Clark joined Fairey Surveys in 1947 following 6 years in Royal Engineers Surveys, then left after 10 years to work in the US, where he worked in photogrammetry.  He returned to the UK in 1960, and rejoined Fairey Surveys in the Photogrammetric Section.  He became Photogrammetric Section Supervisor in 1964 and transferred to UK Marketing as Assistant Manager in 1969, reporting to Marketing Manager Peter Forsey.

The opening of the office in Livingston followed the FSL contract to provide mapping for the planning of the new town at Stonehouse, south east of Glasgow.  Bill Clark became Managing Director of Fairey Surveys Scotland, and opened the office in November 1973.  It had a small map production unit equipped with a Zeiss Stereometrograph and cartographic facilities.

We understand that Bill played the trumpet, and that his nickname came from the jazz musician Leon BismarkBixBeiderbecke, who played the cornet and piano in the 1920s.

Syrian survey 1947

These photographs and newspaper cuttings came from Kieran (Ken) Roche via his brother Gerry Roche.  Kieran was the Flight engineer on what was described as the first ‘Fairey Surveys’ flight out of White Waltham in 1947.

KR Syria_0001  KR Syria_0002

Air Survey aircraft (AIRSPEED OXFORD). First ‘Fairey Surveys’ flight out of White Waltham, 1947. Left to right: Brian Attwell (management), Richard Younghusband (pilot), Ken Roche (engineer), Group Captain Lawes (management).  Richard Younghusband, has a claim to fame from even earlier.  He was apparently flying back from France the day war broke out, and triggered off the first English World War 2 air raid alarm.

KR Syria_0003

Hotel Baron, Aleppo, Syria.
This was our hotel and x marks the spot where we usually sit at night nattering.  This was taken during the siesta period, hence the deserted appearance of the street, shops closed etc.  Only a few Bedouin at large.

KR Syria_0004

Aleppo, Syria.  Air Survey photographers and Ken Roche with medieval citadel in background.  From left: Freddie Worton, John Rushton, Ken Roche, ?

KR Syria_0006

Aleppo, Syria.  Time off …  Left to right: ?, Ken Roche (engineer), Richard Younghusband (pilot).

KR Syrian dam survey newspaper cutting

Newpaper cutting from the Daily Telegraph in 1968, about the building of the Aleppo dam on the Euphrates river.

KR Syrian Hotel Baron newspaper cutting

The Hotel Baron in Aleppo had a long history and many interesting guests on the register.  The last sentence of this press cutting is quite poignant.  A couple of website links give information on the current state of the Hotel Baron and the Mazloumian family:

http://pvewood.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-hotel-baron-at-war.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11239988/War-in-Syria-takes-toll-on-Aleppos-oldest-hotel-in-pictures.html?frame=3111065

More news of the Hotel Baron from the Times on 14th May 2016.  Mr Mazloumian died recently, and the hotel has taken a couple of mortar hits, but it is still standing and occupied by Mr Mazloumain’s widow and three refugee families.

Hotel Baron Aleppo update May 2016

 

 

 

 

Fairey Surveys presentations 1959

We know the date and most of the people in the photographs, but not what the presentations were for.  Attendance?  Good behaviour?

Fairey Surveys presentations 1959

Fairey Surveys presentations 1959

Left picture, L-R: ?, ?, Ken Pinkney, Bob Embleton, Rex Ackland, Peter Challis, Dave Parker
Right picture, L-R: ?, ?, Bob Embleton, Ken Pinkney, Peter Challis, Dave Parker

From Ian Smith

These photographs came from Ian Smith, but we have no information on date or place.  We would love to know where the Hotel Du Parc is (or was)!

Ian Smith 10 Ian Smith 09 Ian Smith 08 Ian Smith 07 Ian Smith 06 Ian Smith 05

These two look like a pair, from the paper, size and age.  And the third and fourth from the left on the top row of the left hand picture are surely the same two facing forward in the foreground of the right hand picture.  Was it a conference?

These two look like a pair, from the paper, size and age. And the third and fourth from the left on the top row of the left hand picture are surely the same two facing forward in the foreground of the right hand picture. Was it a conference?

This is half the story of an unfortunate incident with an Avro Anson.  No date or location given

This is half the story of an unfortunate incident with an Avro Anson. No date or location given

This is the second half of the story of the Avro Anson that landed badly in the desert, with a single camel to take the strain.  No date or loction again, but it doesn't look as if it's very warm.  Perhaps the clothes of the locals might give someone a clue to where it is?

This is the second half of the story of the Avro Anson that landed badly in the desert, with a single camel to take the strain. No date or loction again, but it doesn’t look as if it’s very warm. Perhaps the clothes of the locals might give someone a clue to where it is?

 

These seem to be a pair, with the same mountains in the background.  Morocco?  Libya?

These seem to be a pair, with the same mountains in the background. Morocco? Libya?

These look like a set, all stamped February 1960 on the back (Kodak processing date).  Perhaps the barman is a clue to the location?  Or the flowers?

These look like a set, all stamped February 1960 on the back (Kodak processing date). Perhaps the barman is a clue to the location? Or the flowers?

Ian Smith 11