Mr John Cole

Machinist, 1946-

I joined Fielding and Platt on being demobbed from the Royal Navy in 1946. I was given a job in the Light Machine Shop on a lathe, something really new to me having been an electrician in the Royal Navy. It took a lot of concentration to learn about working on a machine, but, after about two years, I was put in the Heavy Machine Shop on a drilling machine. My memory is not so good now as I am 87 so names of machines are difficult to remember.

12 Years on Nights

I advanced onto one of the horizontal borers on shift work but my shift partner did not want to work shifts so it was arranged that I would go on nights on a permanent basis. I did this for 12 years, in that time paying off the mortgage on our house. By this time our youngest son was leaving home to get married and my wife, Irene, said that she couldn’t stay on her own at night so I had to come back onto a regular day shift.

It took quite a while to get settled, but as it was summer time many were off on holiday so I did the round of the machines on which I had worked during my years on nights. In fact, I worked on every type of machine in the Heavy Machine Shop, from horizontal borers, vertical borers, lathes and planers, to milling machines.

Two years later Ron Yardley, the chief inspector, said he wanted me on his Inspection Department. My foreman wouldn’t let me go but a year later I managed it and I ended up as an inspector.

Good times and sad days

I had some good times at Fielding’s and had some special returns when Christmas time arrived with the children’s Christmas party. Fielding’s always did them proud!

It was a very sad day when Fielding’s finally shut up shop. I was not the first to go but we were left buying parts from other firms and things had almost come to a stop. Eventually I followed and was made redundant.

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