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Chieften Tanks

by Roger Durham Green

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Contributed by 
Roger Durham Green
People in story: 
Sidney Harold Clarke
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17 June 2005

During the 1939-45 war, as indentured tradesmen were taken into the armed services, some were replaced by non-indentured workers, known as dilutee tradesmen. As my father was a very intelligent man, and a good worker, he was transferred to the ‘AW’ wheel shop in about 1944, where he worked as a dilutee turner on a wheel lathe, producing large diameter tank turret rings, the ring base upon which the army tank turret rotated,
and I believe that the turret rings he produced were fitted to “Chieftan” tanks.
As the former staff returned to the Works on demobilisation from the forces, my father was rewarded by being transferred from the AW shop to the X shop, where he was engaged as a ‘Points & Crossings Fitter’, a position regarded as being a second class trade.
At the time of his new appointment, the X shop was located at the rear of the Rolling Mills workshop, but was badly in need of a reorganisation, and its problems were exacerbated by one of the overhead cranes frequently becoming derailed. It was said that this had first occured following the bombs dropped on Ferndale Road on 17th August 1942, when it was suspected that movement of the workshop foundations had been transmitted to the overhead crane tracks.
Information kindly supplied by the Steam Museum, Swindon from their Wall of Names archives

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