Newsletter 17
Summer 2007
Updated on 28Jul2007
Aces, Erks, Backroom Boys
Annual General Meeting
Dunsfold Wings and Wheels
EDO to Project Office
Eric Rubython
F-35 Lightning News
From Ribs to Retirement
Hawk News
Hawker Nimrod Query
Hawker People News
Hunters Still Active
Kingston Aviation Heritage
Racing Gliders
Unlocking Potential
Upper Heyford Recollection
V/STOL Wheel of Misfortune
Why Pay More

Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

    Ken Causer recalls his early career with Hawkers...
    I began work in 1945 as an Engineering Apprentice at Hawkers in Canbury Park Road. Workshop experience was had in the Detail Fitters Shop and the Machine Shop over a period of two and a half years during which I was given a day off a week to attend Kingston Technical College but it was necessary also to spend several evenings there as well. Now, this was the usual experience, but something then happened which changed my course of events.
    At the Tech. I had embarked on the ONC mechanical engineering course. I qualified in two years but the next year while studying for the HNC illness stopped work of any kind except for a few months early on when I was given some less physical work in the Process Department. At least I had obtained one minor qualification but TB, which had begun to attack my spine, was found to be the cause of my illness and was to keep me in and out of hospital for close on four years.
From EDO To Project Office - Part 1

toptop toptop
    Eventually my health returned and in early 1952 Hawkers very kindly allowed me to return as a late apprentice. I was enrolled in the newly reconstituted Drawing Office School, situated in one of the Richmond Road outbuildings still occupied by Leyland Motors, and presided over by Mr (Dick) Barton
     After training I joined the Experimental Drawing Office (EDO) in Canbury Park Road, working for Mr Ransford on mods. and amendments until I was told to report to Joe Melvin in a little drawing office within the Experimental Workshop in which the first production P.1067 (later named Hunter Mk 1) was being assembled.
    Joe was an absolute master at directing the installation of the hydraulic system and we covered the work in a set of detailed drawings. I learnt a great deal from him, to the extent that I was sent with Joe to do the same for the Hunter Mk 2 at the Armstrong Whitworth works near Coventry and later went on my own to finish the job. Thus I now found myself a member of the electrical and hydraulic section of the EDO under Ben Capper, and here I stayed until virtually all the Hunter work had been finished.
    The reason I mentioned my brush with TB was to show how that led to a dramatic change in my fortune. The first thing that happened began while I was still in hospital where I became very much attracted to one of the nurses, whom I later married.
    The next thing was due entirely to her persuading me to go back to the Kingston Technical College where I met John Fozard for the first time. He lectured on the mechanics of fluids which of course included many aspects of aerodynamics, a subject I had been interested in since my school days, making flying model aircraft.
    By now work in the EDO had become focused on a new private venture aircraft, but work was slow and my part in it, in the words of our Deputy Chief Experimental Draughtsman was to "Do the electrics of the P.1121".
    This was quite a challenge as virtually nothing was known of the electrical requirements. However, those designing the structural members, such as fuselage frames and wing ribs, needed to know what allowances to make for the passage of cable bundles with their plugs and sockets. Of course, they came to me for the answers which I gave by arbitrarily increasing the sizes used on the Hunter. Fortunately for me this was never put to the test as the P.1121 was later cancelled.
    In the meantime work continued in a desultory fashion which very often meant looking busy while doing next to nothing. This was not the happiest situation but fortunately another stroke of luck came my way in the person of John Fozard. He arrived at my drawing board one morning in 1956 and said that the Project Office, where he was a senior member, needed someone who could draw and he asked me to apply promptly for a transfer before the position was advertised.
    I immediately went to Mr Cross, Head of the EDO, but he showed a marked reluctance to agree to the move and the interview was akin to being in the presence of a minor earthquake, from which I staggered back to my board.
    About a week later John returned and pressed me to apply for the transfer once more or I would lose my chance. I did this straight away and the result was again rather earth quaking, but fifteen minutes later I was summoned into Mr Cross's presence to be told "You're transferred. You can go". So I packed my things and arrived in the Project Office.       (to be continued.)