Oral history of British science

Raynor, Frank (Part 4 of 18) An Oral History of British Science

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:57:25

  • Shelf mark

    C1379/76

  • Subjects

    Electronics

  • Recording date

    2012-05-29

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Abingdon

  • Interviewees

    Raynor, Frank, 1922- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 4: [00:57:25] [Interview two: 29 May 2012 ] Remarks on working for Electrical Installations Limited [EIL]: Starting in 1939; father's post building RAF Binbrook, convincing EIL to take FR on; EIL work building air bases, manpower issues at start of war, FR deferment; FR starting in summer 1939 helping to complete airfield; comparisons between electrical installations on airbases and previous experiences, outside installations; anecdote about installing lights in hangers, workplace hazards; [05:30] FR moving with EIL; asthmatic electrician supervising FR giving him a good chance to learn; building RAF Waterbeach near Cambridge. [07:25] Comments on working on Thorpe Arch ordnance factory in Yorkshire: difficult working conditions in magazines where concrete was being dried by coke fires; 7.30 till 7.30 working day, half time on weekends; lodgings with difficult house-mates in Chapletown, Leeds; anecdote about FR deciding to leave lodgings after a police raid on a club he was out in; FR move to better lodgings in Wetherby. [12:50] Remarks on: conditions of a good lodging house, and the lodging house in Wetherby at Ainsty drive. [14:20] Remarks on: lively canteen with Irish fiddlers at Thorpe Arch site; story about spending a single night at bad lodgings in Cotswolds near Evesham. [17:30] Remarks on: life outside work, little spare time, enjoying rowing on rivers near Wetherby, cinema; anecdote about difficulties with last bus back from Harrogate. [19:50] Remarks on: apprenticeship, on the job teaching; reading mechanical magazines, later reading 'Wireless World' and 'Practical Wireless', circulating library at UKAEA; senior tradesmen acting as apprentice mentors, such as George Springle; FR moves across country for work, RAF Aldermaston, HMV Treorchy, deciding not to work in Northern Ireland, depot at Stow-on-the-Wold, Broadwell Grove, Chesil, RAF Windrush, Morton Valance where FR saw first jet; FR move to work on repairing power systems. [25:53] Remarks on posting to RAF Aldermaston: anecdote about arriving at Aldermaston in January 1942; FR working in office with supervisor Jimmy Collins; airfield drawings of installations; anecdote about meeting George Spingle for the first time, whilst signing people in to work in the mornings; [30:20] FR being assigned as an apprentice to George Spingle; description of electrical power distribution system around airfield, angle iron and other techniques and materials. [32:20] Comments on George Springle: exceptional personality; great reader and thinker; interested in politics, read 'Hansard'; encouraged FR to read Penguin 'The Thinker's Library' publications, such as 'Religion without Revelation' and works by Julian Huxley; witty and skilled; formerly worked for Metropolitan Electricity Company, worked as supervisor at Acton Depot till retirement; family, sons David and Clive, and their educations; story about Clive's start of a career as an accountant, after an interview that he was initially rejected from for not having gone to Grammar School; [38:05] influence of George Spingle on FR, gave him confidence, welcomed into family by George's wife Kitty, supportive and encouraging; reputation on site as a barrack room lawyer; anecdote about FR always paying for tea at breakfast in on way to work on RAF Ramsbury and Membury; anecdote about George's ability as a mimic at a Ramsbury British Restaurant; not typical of people FR worked with; poor driver. [44:45]

  • Description

    Interview with technician, Frank Raynor

  • Related transcripts

    Frank Raynor interviewed by 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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