Harry Ridgewell was a Design Draughtsman at Westland for 34 yrs and remembers working in Technical Liaison being his first job
My first involvement was in the department called Technical Liaison. This was a group of engineers who operated between those people doing the drawing and designing and those people doing the making, the manufacturing and if there were any issues in manufacture they would contact those guys in tech liaison, as we were called, to resolve the problem, whatever the problem might be. I’ve never worked in a drawing office as big as this and they even had proper draughting machines. I was only used to working on what we called cucumber frames, fixed drawing boards, terrible for your back, terrible for your posture for leaning over these drawings boards, rows and rows of them. All the different sections from electrical, mechanical, structures, instrumentation, hydraulics and it was all broken down into different aspects of the design and the build of the aircraft. Everybody was in collar and tie, you’d notice something different if someone wasn’t wearing a collar and tie. A lot of the senior engineers were in suits but most of the people, maybe sports jacket and trousers and that, and I think one of the most lingering memories has to be, in those days of course everybody could smoke and sometimes you’d go into the drawing office at one end with a technical liaison query note to go and see one of the engineers and you’d walk in and there was like this blue haze, this blue fog, but no one ever queried it, you know, because everywhere was like it in those days.
Did you have your own little workspace, your own desk?
Yes, we had in our office in experimental liaison where I started, I had my own desk with drawers and a drawing board and we would raise query notes, look at drawings and try to understand and interpret the problems that the fitters were having, say, with a particular issue and if we couldn’t resolve it then we would go and see well, who drew this? Ron Langdon. Let’s go and have a word with Ron Langdon and see what was he thinking or why this bit won’t go together with this other bit for instance. Yes, so that was how we did it.