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December, 1942 A I R C R A F T ENGINEERIN G 335 as we believe it was, to separate the operation of aeroplanes from the supply, and carve a new and independent Ministry out of the Air Aircraft Engineering Ministry to deal with research, development and supply, surely it was essential to secure the services of the best man obtainable to Devote d to th e Science an d Practice of Aero direct its activities and leave him there undisturbed to get on with nautic s and to Allied and Subsidiary the job. One shudders to think what would be the position of a business firm which had a new managing director every six months. Branche s of the Engineering Industry These frequent changes at the top do not give either Ministry or Editor: Liew.-Col. W. Lockwood Marsh, O.B.E., F.R.Ae.S.,M.S.A.E.,F.I.Ac.S. Industry a chance. Vol . XIV, No. 166 December 1942 Sir Stafford's Qualifications By education and, to some extent, experience, SIR STAFFORD CRIPPS is probably well fitted to have charge of a Department responsible for research and development as well as production. Though a barrister by profession, he, in his early days, took H E Ministry of Aircraft Production is most unfortunate in an engineering course at London University and as Lord Privy having been used as the sport of politicians and subjected Seal has recently been the Cabinet Minister to whom the Depart to a change in its titular head each time there has been a ment of Scientific and Industrial Research (under which comes political shuffle. The question of which individual is the Minister the National Physical Laboratory) reports. He should, therefore, at any given moment docs not in point of fact perhaps matter so be sympathetic to the claims of research. His experience during much as our leaders like to suppose. Unless the momentary holder the last war as Assistant Superintendent of an Ordnance Factory of the office is of the politically ambitious type who is bent on should also have given him some insight into the organization making his mark at all costs with a view to further advancement— necessary to the running of factories engaged on war producton. from which the M.A.P. has not suffered—his presence at the head does not notably affect the even tenor of the life of the hard As we have already said, however, we are more concerned with the working, conscientious technical people with whom most of those need for continuity of control, and policy, in the Ministry of Aircraft in the industry come in daily contact. Production than with the personality of the Minister at the head. Disturbing. Changes Yet a change at the top is inevitably disturbing and cannot fail to give a sense of insecurity. Heads of firms have to take fresh AN UNFORTUNATE AFFAIR steps to become acquainted with, and learn the foibles and idiosyn This brings us to a matter on which, however regretfully, we feel crasies of, the new man, and heads of departments inside the it incumbent on us to comment. The lamentable departure of Ministry have to "watch their steps " in a different manner while SIR ROY FEDDEN from the BRISTOL AEROPLANE COMPANY is they are sizing up their new chief ; who also has to be instructed in obviously a matter of immense importance which is fraught with a thousand and one matters with which everyone with whom he clear perils to the future of British radial air-cooled development. comes in contact is already familiar. All of which makes for delay It is incontestable that he is the greatest brain in this field in the and hesitation while the new Minister is picking up the threads, world to-day and that this type of engine very largely owes its until he is in a position to make intelligent decisions. present satisfactory position to his genius. Even so, it is necessary to retain a sense of proportion. There have been those who have been calling on the Minister of Aircraft Production to take over The Position as Regards Output control of this Company, eject the Directors and put SIR ROY It is impossible not to have derived some sardonic amusement FEDDE N in charge. from the fact that the same B.B.C. news bulletin that announced the change as being made with a view to increasing the output of aeroplanes contained a summary of a speech by the retiring Minister The Facts of History giving gratifying percentage figures of how many more tons of This ignores the past history of the firm which built up its reputa aeroplane had been turned out in October than in September and tion, and strong financial position, on the development of aero how many more still than during a similar period last year. The planes, starting in the almost legendary period of 1910, and only effect 'of this valedictory address was somewhat marred by the took up the aero-engine in 1920. At that date no one, with the terms of the PRIME MINISTER'S letter to SIR STAFFORD CRIPPS exception of SIR ROY FEDDEN himself and a very few other enthusi explaining the reasons for his appointment. asts, had any faith in the future of the radial air-cooled engine; and, in fact, work on it was on the point of ceasing, and would have ceased, had it not been for the courage and foresight of the Directors Variety of Talent of the BRISTOL AEROPLANE COMPANY in taking over the Cosmos Four Ministers within the short space of two years is more than Jupiter engine and risking the firm's reputation, and money, in any Government Department ought to have imposed upon it— backing MR. FEDDEN (as he then was) and giving him the chance of particularly a supply department and a new one at that. The continuing his work. This alone gives them a claim on the position becomes even more farcical when the variety of types that country's gratitude—apart from the fact that no one has charged have been called upon to direct this department is recalled ; them with inefficient management. ranging from the big business man in the best traditions of Holly As we have pointed out before, in another connexion, there is wood to the political dreamer with little or no administrative ex such a thing as " incompatibility of temper " and, however gifted perience. Almost as marked is the contrast between the present an individual may be, if such a position arises that he cannot fit Minister of Supply and the new Minister of Aircraft Production ; in with the general organization of the entity with which he is which makes it difficult for the most enthusiastic supporter to believe associated there is no alternative to a severance of relations. There that if the one is the best man for the one post the other can be comes a time when those responsible for the direction of a firm, or equally suited to the other. any other unit—even a Government—must strike a balance. No man, however eminent, is worth his place in an organization if he is A Comparison with Business unable to fit in and work with those with whom he is in daily contact; whether they be above him or below him in the chain of respon We are not, however, concerned so much with personalities as sibility. with a principle. If it was in the beginning necessary and desirable,
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1942
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