Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd.

Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Limited Chippenham Wiltshire

Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Limited Chippenham Wiltshire

The First Year Training School Instructors

Benny Jenkins – Lacing – Wiring – Soldering – Electrics – Electronics
Bert Wheeler – Centre Lathes – Surface Grinder
Brian Fields – Sheet Metal – Forge – Gas+Arc Welding – Casting
Doug Jones – Drawing Office? – College
Rod Howell – Horizontal Millers – Shaper
Ron Witts – Fitting – Pilar Drills – Radial Drill – Heat Treatment



Brendan Cable
Dave Barcham
Dave Bright
John Teagle
Keith Shepherd – Did he own Rosey Cork’s Cousin?*
Mik Hole – Nutter from Newcastle.
Nick Pearce – The Apprentice Vicar.
Rob Lauder
Steve Hince – From Bradenstoke?
Steve Kenchington
Viv Sherman – Electric Guitar Player.


Altis Engineering Sponsored Apprentices

Gordon Spiers
Lenny Goddard
Steve Brown


Trainee Fitters

David Forward – Nutter.
Martin ‘Marmaduke‘ Tudgay – Triumph Motorcycles.
Robert Hatherall
‘Ned’ – The Fisherman?


Trainee Machinests

Brian ‘Sam‘ Lovelock – Steam Trains.
Clive ‘Doulgal‘ Marshman – A very funny person, made us all laugh a lot.
Conrad Woodlands – Scooter.
Dave Best – Trial Bike.
Mike Hopper – Indian?
Pete Davis – Nutter.
Richard Blackburn.
Rob Alford – Ska-Mod.
Robert Gaisford – Everyone’s friend, held us all together.
Rod Minty – Bromham.
Stephen Fisher – Nutter – I think he joined us late on.
‘Gizmo’ – Radio Shop Calne.

There are probably mistakes in the above list as it is from memory 43 years on.

Westinghouse Technicians 17-01-76 © David Forward

Westinghouse Technicians 17-01-76 © David Forward

Mik Hole – Brendon Cable – Steve Kenchington – 1971 Intake

Westinghouse Apprentice Tool Box © David Forward

Westinghouse Apprentice Tool Box © David Forward

In the first year we each made a tool box and all the tools inside.

Martin Tudgay © David Forward

Martin Tudgay © David Forward

Die Wrench © David Forward

Die Wrench © David Forward

Westinghouse Travel Ticket © David Forward

Westinghouse Travel Ticket © David Forward

Thoroughly enjoyed the readings of the Westinghouse clan of 1971 (I was 1972) and spent a year in the machine shop with Brian (Sam) Lovelock. Great to see my old school mates names, Dave Forward (thought I had moved to Chippenham), Robert Gaisford, Bob Hatherall etc. This is a great site for us ex. pats. scattered around the world, keep up the good work, home does not seem so far away.
Steve Quirke – Mount Tamborine – Queensland – Australia

* * * * *

As an ex Westinghouse Apprentice (1973 Intake) it’s great to see there are still some left. I still have most of my kit which I use for projects at home including the parallel jaw pliers and particularly the vice. Thanks for a real treat.
Best Wishes – Tony Ray

* * * * *

I did my year in the training center in 1975/76. Many happy memories of Ron Witts and his quest for accuaracy! I remember the 3PM tea break which was for 10 minutes exactly!
James Feltham

* * * * *

1980 Apprentice – things hadn’t changed much since 1971. Made me smile alot, but had to stop surfing due to strange looks from other people in the office.
Mark Williams – Swindon

* * * * *

Loved reading your memories of Westinghouse.
I joining the apprenticeship scheme, on my year out from a degree, in 1991.
I made the vice!
Doug Jones was there. They all seemed a bit long in the tooth by then.
Those old school apprenticeships seem to have all died now.
Before that, I went to Chippenham tech college to do a National Diploma in Engineering.
The course was run by Viv Sherman!
He was an absolute legend. Lovely guy. We spent lots of hour talking to him. And Ken “HotDawgs” of course.
I peered over the back of Aldi the other day. The old workshops have all been demolished!
Oh well.
Thanks – Matthew Collins

Screw Driver © David Forward

Screw Driver © David Forward

Westinghouse 1940 © David Forward

Westinghouse 1940 © David Forward

Machine Vice © David Forward

Machine Vice © David Forward

Drill Plate © David Forward

Drill Plate © David Forward

Westinghouse Gasometer © David Forward

Westinghouse Gasometer © David Forward

*As far as I recall, “Rosey Cork’s Cousin” was the name of a soft-top Morris 1000

Dead Pigeon Hunting

It was a cold and frosty morning as Sam Lovelock set out from the Training School on the 50 yard journey to the vending machines just a little way up the hill. But as is apprentice tradition, one of us from each department takes it in turns and goes as a group to collect the drinks and snacks for the rest of our colleagues and of course take the longest route possible around the factory complex to reach the target of the nearest vending machines.

Sam made his way directly over to the railway tracks in completely the opposite direction to the target as Sam’s hobby was railway history so it was no surprise to the others that he lead them there. When they reached the fuel bund they had to negotiate the metal walkways over the top and it was here that Sam discovered a dead pigeon. Not missing an opportunity it was carefully placed on the tray to be served up in the Process Shop when they arrived back where it was to be placed into the forge, maybe it could be revived with a little heat otherwise Gizmo might gobble it up. This is how the daily trip to the vending machines became know as Dead Pigeon Hunting.

The Westinghouse factory covers land the size of a village and employed up to 10,000 at its height of productivity during the 39-45 period, so had endless possibilities and permutations of routes passing through huge workshops and divisions each with their own numerous vending machines. This day it was Sam’s turn on vending duties and he had decided he was going to set a record for the longest route possible skirting around the entire perimeter of the factory complex before arriving at the refreshment machines, where soft drinks cost sixpence each, but we had a method of fooling the machine into dispensing as many drinks as required for just the one coin.

Pints of milk in waxed cardboard containers were very popular as when the contents has been consumed you could fill the empty carton up with acetylene, of course on ignition a large bang could be heard in the next building where the instructors would be having their own tea break. They often came running in to see what had happened only to find thousands of tiny fragments of milk carton floating down from high in the roof space and when no one ever admitted to anything unusual having taken place, Ron Witts reply was often, I suppose the fairies did it did they?

City & Guilds Basic Engineering © David Forward

City & Guilds Basic Engineering

Dave Best Remembers

Well, how can I forget Marmaduke (Martin Tudgay) when attending Chippenham College we were outside admiring Marm’s 500cc Triumph ~ in those days a real man’s bike complete with drip tray. A guy called Richard Blackburn, same year apprentice, thought it would be a good idea to feel the compression of the beast; he kicked it over a few times, then Marm said “here’s the key, start it if you want”. Rich started it – what a sweet sound – I reckon you could hear it from the town bridge; every body was standing around admiring it, when Marm says “Any body want a go?” Without hesitation, I said “yep” (I only had a provisional licence, but what the heck), can’t be faster than a 250cc Montesa can it? I went half way around the block when I noticed there seemed to be a car following me, it overtook and I almost s**t myself, this bloke had a uniform on, yes, you’ve guessed it, it was a copper on his way home, so called “off duty”.

He pulled me over outside the entrance of the College, got out of the car and asked if I had tax, insurance, and MOT. He then asked if I had a licence “Yes, a provisional” I said. “Is it your vehicle sir?” “No” I replied, “it belongs to a friend of mine”. By this time I was the centre of attention. Marm came over to see what the all the fuss was. The copper asked if it was his bike, “Yes” he replied, “Has it got an MOT or tax?” “Yes, it’s in the post” replied Marm. “Did your friend have permission to take the bike?” “No” said Marm “but I didn’t worry, he’s a good friend” he said. If he had said ‘yes’ we would have both been in it, so I couldn’t blame him for that. I was asked if I wanted to make a statement, I declined.

Marm went off and within the statutory week allowed to produce documents managed to produce a valid MOT and tax ~ how he did this, I don’t know. After a few days Mr Plod came knocking on my parents’ door with a list of offences:

    • No full licence.
    • No insurance.
    Theft of a motor vehicle.

Oh, by the way, Marm had no horn or lights but this was dropped, I think the law thought they had enough on us.

Theft was a pretty serious charge, so I asked the copper ” How did I get the keys? And, in fact, it wasn’t me that started the Bike, it was Rich Blackburn”. He went away scratching his head!

After this my dad phoned the insurance salesman, a guy by the name of Tony Williams who lived at Pew Hill, and explained what had happened. As no claims for damage were sought, he said that the policy covered me for a provisional or full licence; he even phoned the Police to get them to drop the no insurance charge, of which they declined.

Tony then phoned his Head Office and, after a few phone calls to Chippenham Police Station, the charges were dropped.

After a bit of persuasion, Rich said he would stand up in Court to say that he was the one who started the bike, and so the theft charge was dropped. When it all came to Court, I was found guilty of riding a 500cc motor bike without a full licence; I was also fined £10.00 and an endorsement on the licence. My licence was handed over to the Court but it was never returned (it was the time when DVLA were taking over from the County Hall). I applied for a replacement and, when I got a duplicate, no endorsement was entered! I was a very lucky guy, and from that day I have always been legal.

I remember

Rob Gaisford ~ I think he had long light hair – a real nice guy.

Dave Forward ~ roundish face – mad.

Rob Hatherall ~ I got on well with Rob. I think his brother-in-law had a JCB and Rob used to help him at the weekends.

Mike Olden ~ I used to go to school with Mike – in the same class. His brother had scooters like myself.

Clive Marshman ~ Yes, I remember him, he had a biker’s jacket, but no bike!

Rod Minty ~ lives in Chippenham. Used to live at 40 The Pound, Bromham; I see him a couple of times a year – he had a Yam 125cc when he was an apprentice. Had lots of bikes. We had a revision day down at Shell Bay in Dorset, he took me on his brand new 500cc Suzuki – he used to say he was from “Nam” Chipp-nam!

Keith Shepherd ~ was in the Army before he joined Westinghouse. He said as a punishment, he had to sweep the parade ground with a tooth brush.

Brendan Cable ~ worked in Hong Kong for Knorr Bremse (formally Westinghouse). I remember we welded up his scooter frame when he had an accident (new front with original back). The last I heard he was getting over cancer, had moved back to Lyme Regis and owned a chip shop.

John Teagle ~ I think he’s a domestic appliance engineer – haven’t seen him for years.

Conrad Woodlands ~ poor Conrad, no longer with us – used to direct the electric truck drivers, and called everybody ‘Reg’.

Steve Hince ~ big lad.

Gordon Spiers ~ his brother Sam still works in Knorr Bremse (Westinghouse).

Dave Bright ~ used to be in the same class at school – also works at Knorr Bremse.

Viv Sherman ~ played in a band – had a hand moulded Golden Virginia tobacco tin with a nude lady on it.

Brian Lovelock ~ had a strong Wiltshire accent.

Mike Hopper ~ Westinghouse tool room – now at Precimax in Corsham.

Rob Alford ~ see him a lot – lives just down the road.

Rob Lauder ~ lives in Chippenham not far from me, but haven’t seen him for a long time.

Nick Pearce ~ how could any body not remember Nick? I remember going over to a party at Westbury on the scooter with some other lads but can’t remember who they were – it rained a lot and we were soaked!

Michelle Mace ~ say no more!

Brian Williams ~ I still see him – works at the BP Garage on Bath Road. Used to cast brass flintlock guns in the apprentice workshop.

Dave Best 29 July 2006

Westinghouse Driving Certificate © David Forward

Westinghouse Driving Certificate

Works Driving Certificate © David Forward

Works Driving Certificate


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