2:10pm Thursday 23rd May 2013
MORE light has been shed on Worcester’s role in the famous Dambusters raid.
Last Friday, your Worcester News reported that the site of a dental practice in Northwick was rumoured to once house a factory building perspex canopies for the Lancaster bombers famously used during the wartime raids 70 years ago.
But it now appears that this was not the only city base to produce the important kit during the Second World War.
“The cockpit canopies for Lancaster bombers were made by a company called Worcester Windshields and Casements – later named Windshields of Worcester – whose main factory was in Barbourne, Worcester,” said Lower Broadheath resident Ray Lampitt, who worked for the firm between 1948 and 1970.
“My late brother-in-law was the chief draughtsman during the war and was responsible for the tooling and fixtures for their manufacture.
“My late brother and his wife, who was evacuated from London, also worked on the making of the canopies.
“I joined the company in 1948 as a trainee draughtsman and it had then reverted to its original business of car windows.”
Mr Lampitt confirmed that the company also had a smaller unit, on the current Northwick Manor Dental Practice land, but said its main factory was on the Bullring in St John’s where the Co-op store now stands.
He said it was likely that this site also made parts for the Lancaster canopies.
“This factory was originally the tram depot,” he said. “The tracks were still in place, up until it was demolished for the building of the supermarket.”
The Dambusters raid saw 133 airmen in 19 Lancasters equipped with bouncing bombs set off for the industrial heartland of Germany.
The midnight raid saw attacks on three dams resulting in a significant dent in Germany’s wartime economy and a subsequent boost to morale for those back in Blightly. Unfortunately, 56 of the men didn’t return.
The 70th anniversary of the attacks was marked across the country last week. Events included a flypast at the reservoir in Derbyshire which airmen used for practice runs before making the night flight on May 16, 1943.
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