Oral history of British science

Higton, Dennis (Part 13 of 24). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Aeronautical Engineering

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home, Shrewton, Salisbury

  • Interviewees

    Higton, Dennis, 1921-2012 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 13: Remarks on: TSR2 brought to Boscombe Down for test flights, DH feelings; history of British position in aviation; DH expecting TSR2 cancellation. [04:20] Remarks on contact between RAE Farnborough and Boscombe: use of Bedford's catapult; remaining in close contact with Tom Kerr, John Charnley; VTOL test rig work continuing in DH's absence, DH name on report; DH previous experience working with Boscombe on BP Delta; borrowing apparatus; anecdote about Frank Smith advising him to stay in research. [11:50] Remarks: on other duties at C section; Fairey Gannet; anecdote about telephone call relating to catapult launches; changes to Farnborough postwar. [14:35] Description of Boscombe Down, Weybridge Hanger, relations between staff. [17:10] Remarks on life outside work: prefab; wives' social events; daughter attending village school; shops. Anecdote about tailor in Amesbury quickly providing dinner jackets for instrument makers to attend a navy dinner. [20:50] Remarks on: DH always wearing a suit to work, servicemen setting a smart standard; good social life, mess, formal dinners, guest nights, sport; seeing the 1953 Coronation in Salisbury cinema as they didn't have TV at home.[25:20] Story about a trip to Malta c1949, via Lampedusa in a Lancaster, with Jock Elliot and Titch Tailor, first time a hot climate; later trips to Ark Royal in Malta. [30:20] Comments on test pilots: Jock Elliot, one of the best test pilots; attributes of good test pilots; Empire Test Pilot School; Mike Crossley; Dave Eagles. [36:15] Comments on end of time at Boscombe: wondering if he'd stayed in C Squadron too long; Buccaneer continuing well, DH winning a bet from David Dick when it entered RAF service; previous promotion to Superintendent of Performance. [40:30] Remarks on: Sea Vixen control system problems, DH's boss making a faux pas at a meeting, leading to DH promotion to Superintendent. [43:05] Remarks on duties as superintendent: enjoying job; responsibility for helicopters; power of position; career management. [46:13] Story about circumstance of USA posting: telephone call offering him a posting to USA, Handel Davies wanting him to stay in UK, sailing to USA in 1966, death of father, Foreign Office warning him about social requirements of position, farewell party at Boscombe, letting home, death of father.

  • Description

    Interview with aeronautical engineer Dennis Higton.

  • Related transcripts

    Dennis Higton interviewed by Dr Thomas Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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