Dennis Higton: being the boy at RAE

Dennis Higton recalls the social hierarchy at 1940s RAE Farnborough.

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Also they wanted someone who could develop apparatus to make measurements of the sort of that the aerodynamics department might want. Someone saw that I could be useful in aerodynamics department and I jumped at it. But I was a bit of a misfit, you see, because this chap from the workshops, one or two chaps didn’t like it. In fact the chap who always wanted me to be the boy who put the newspaper over the holes in the tunnel. I remember he used to come and ask for the boy. He was straight from university, I think, and he already got a bit of a – I barely knew him, but he saw an opportunity of having a slave, you see, because I was only twenty-one, and a very unshaven twenty-one I should think. And, somehow or other he thought I was the boy. And it – when you use the wind tunnels, this – you have the model in there and there’s wires and things go onto the model and they’ve got to get out of the tunnel for a purpose of some sort. Which means that you drill a hole in the bottom of the tunnel, put the wire through, and then when it’s over, someone goes round and pastes newspaper over the hole. So [laughs] he wanted me to go around – my bosses, brand new bosses, showed him the door. 

  • Interviewee Dennis Higton
  • Duration 00:01:31
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 2/11/2011
  • Shelfmark C1379/41

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