Paul Murley joined Westland in 1945 as an Apprentice Engineer straight from school and rose to the position of Engineering Services Manager completing 44 yrs service. One of his most memorable moments was watching the first test flight of the EH101
I can remember the first pen drawings of what we now know as the EH101, the Merlin aircraft. I can remember the sketches, the artist’s impression. I remember talking to many of the engineers that were involved in that, especially people like dear old Geoff Humphreys who was responsible for the transmission and how we were using a certain gearbox and they weren’t over the moon about the type of gearbox we were going to use but that’s all a part of the design. I remember we were invited out to see the first flight of the EH101 and the sky was black. I can still picture the photographs that were taken by the lovely photographic people that we had down at Westlands, God bless them, they’re lovely people. And, we went out there and the aircraft started up its engines and the blades were going round. I remember it lifted off the ground. I’m going to say three feet. It lifted off the ground three feet. It never moved left, it never moved right. He brought the aircraft back down onto the ground, everybody clapped and we went back to our offices. That was the first flight of the EH101. I can also remember the Lynx helicopter. They were all in colours. The Lynx was in colours. I remember the yellow the red the blue. I think we had a purple one. Each aircraft had a specific task, right? So, if you were dealing with the transmissions, you were the red one, if you were dealing with aerodynamics you were the yellow one. They were all kitted out just like you imagine Concorde was, full of electronics. These were exactly the same. The avionics were put in bit by bit. I remember all the various colours. Then, of course, the Lynx developed over the years – absolutely unbelievable.