Flying Boats & Fellow Travellers

George Lidster

George was born in 1914 and served his time at the rail works at Doncaster, where he worked on the Flying Scotsman.

In 1936 he moved to Rochester to work for Shorts Brothers. He started in the jig and tools department and worked on the Maia and Mercury and Singapore seaplanes. After a time he moved to outside staff, travelling to airbases around the country to modify and repair seaplanes.

In 1941, he came to work at the Windermere factory as a Leading Hand in the jig and tools department. When the bungalows at Calgarth were built, he moved into 84 Calgarth Road with his family. Eventually, George moved back to Kent where he lives today.

G Lidster

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  • Ref. Number: FB020GL
  • Date: 11.3.07
  • Interviewer (I): Allan King
  • Subject: Factory work in Rochester and Windermere.
  • Period: 1941


They 'ad a jig and tool section (mm...) when they knew I'd bin on, I got transferred to the jig and such and we jigged Sunderlands up to be made in Canada (right) and they all went down to Southampton, it only just...either Southampton or Portsmouth, just got outside the Harbour and it was sunk with all these jigs and templates on it. (good God) They all went down, it was sunk by a German sub. (Good grief) yeah (when was that) oh hours and hours, a full gang of forty spent on it.


Do you know when that was roughly?


Yeah and what we 'ad to do, we 'ad to hide in these jigs and tools - when we made 'em they'd gone to inspection, the works inspection then AID, (yeah) and as soon as it went through AID they was 'id in the tunnel (in the cliffs at the back?) the cliffs at the back (yeah) well that tunnel, we 'ad a machine shop in there dug out, machine shop there. My old landlord arrives to live...'e was a turner, I got mi house when I came back, through knowing 'im (yeah).


So they were going to build Sunderlands in Canada (yeah they were..) but the fact.....cos they never did build them there (no) so the fact this ship went down presumably stopped it.


The main thing that the centre section we called it the Westminster jig, (right) for the centre section where they put the wings on (yeah) well that was more or less copied from the first one there was in number three shop (yeah) we made it in sixteen shop and it went to Windermere (right) came straight up to Windermere on low loader (yeah) and I spent some hours on that thing. They were fussy on whatever you did (yeah) well I was on alignment and you...they got...they started off by using estate agents, what do they call 'em? You know for height thing.

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