Norman Pilton worked for Westland in Martock during WW2 and remembers what was made at the factory
I remember I used to have to make the arrest ropes for the Sea Fires and that was like hooked material. It was about an eighth of an inch thick and I used to have to tank the holes in there for riveting. That was a hard job because I remember the first time I swung the fly press and it just bounced back. Anyway, I eventually got used to that and then I used to have to rivet them up and there were four rivets together for the arrester hooks for the Sea Fires. I did Spitfires as well but that was like small sub-assemblies, always for everything like that.
Interviewer: Can you remember what your workbench was like?
It was just a row of benches, like ordinary wooden benches with the vice and what have you and you had one drawer. You had to check it all and then you had to clean your bench every day before you left so that it was bang on clean in the morning ready for you to start work again. That was where I first started my savings. There was a lady, and I’ve never ever found anyone with a name like it, her name was
That was where I first started my savings. There was a lady, and I’ve never ever found anyone with a name like it, her name was Wisel Batstone. I knew her brother, he worked in Westland’s, down the machine shop, as a charge hand down there. She used to collect money from the chaps and ladies as well, for that matter, for saving with the Somerset and Wilts Building Society, which then went to TSB and then went into Lloyds.
But when she first came to me to start this savings, I used to have fourteen shillings a week and some was taken out. I used to have to give mother ten shillings and had the few shillings that was left. Anyhow, she eventually talked me into it and I used to sometimes put like a shilling maybe a fortnight or something like that in there.
I’ve been with them ever since, all those years.