Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Westland Aircraft since 1915 part1

The root stocks from which grew Great Britain's aircraft industry were legion hut, sadly, it was the needs of war which provided the forcing house environment in which many of its aviation scion s early growth first flourished. It was in the peaceful creation of weirs and locks, electric tramcars, lawn mowers, motor omnibuses, architectural decoration�even wire netting�that many of the founding fathers of the companies which formed that Industry received their engineering training. It was to stand them in good stead when they became attracted to the still nascent business of aviation and used their skills and experience to set up as manufacturers of airships, aeroplanes and engines. The foregoing horticultural analogy is particularly apt when describing the history of the Westland company for its roots are deep in the fertile soil of Somerset. During 1868 a young Somerset man named James Bazeley Petter was married and, as a wedding gift, his father gave him the well-established Yeovil ironmongery business of Hainan and Gillett. While young James Petter was busy with this prosperous undertaking, his wife was equally busy caring for their fifteen children among whom, the third and fourth, were twin boys born on 26 May, 1873. They were named Percival Waddams and Ernest Willoughby and were destined to play a major role in the future development of industry in Yeovil.