New Mendip Engineering Apprentice Indentures

My Dowty Apprentice Story

I started work at Dowty Fuel Systems in September 1965 after I left school, at the New Mendip Engineering Site, Atworth, near Melksham, Wiltshire.

I had no school qualifications, so I had to sit a National Institute of Industrial Psychology Exam, along with other school leavers who did have qualifications and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to pass the exam but I did pass and was able to sign my Apprentice Indentures with my Father on my 16th birthday 1st November 1965 – all very formal.

The Indenture Agreement was signed by the New Mendip Engineering Site Director, Mr Sharp and the  Apprentice Training Manager from Arle Court, Mr Thurston, this was then witnessed by Tony Earl who worked there as a Craftsman

After two years, due to family circumstances, I requested a  transfer to Dowty at Gloucester and started at Dowty Rotol in 1968, where I worked in No. 1 Shop, Marking Off and on the Deep Hole Bore section, then later on Grinding, Centre Lathes with a short spell in “Stalag”

After a year at Rotol, I was then transferred to Dowty Royal House (Montpelier, Cheltenham) in 1969 to complete my apprenticeship, specialising in fitting. At Royal House I gained valuable experience in the reconditioning of machine tools from all over the Dowty Group sites and the craftsmen that worked there, were some of most highly skilled in the Dowty Group.

On completion of my apprenticeship, I was offered a role with Dowty Group Services, Arle Court, Cheltenham as a Machine Tool Fitter and here I worked at practically all of the Dowty Sites in and around Cheltenham area, including Arle Court House; Dowty Fuel Systems (+ 25 Site); Dowty Group Services; Dowty Hydraulics (+57 Unit), Dowty Electrics; Dowty Packaging; Gloster Engineering (Plastics) Cheltenham; Innsworth Metals; Brockhampton Park.

Photocopy of Offer of Employment at DGS

Offer of employment to John Redfern in 1970

I left Dowty in 1975 and went to work at ICI Fibres, Brockworth.

At the end of my career I had risen the ranks within ICI, DuPont and Invista to become the Site Construction & Contracts Engineering Manager, all of which started from the trust that Dowty’s had in me as a young 16 year old, for which I will always be grateful for, along with my co-workers for the help they gave me in my working career.

Now retired long time!

John Redfern – Dowty Group Services 1965-1975


Copy of Apprentice Indenture Sheet 1
J WRedfern
Copy of Apprentice Indenture Sheet 2
J W Redfern
Copy of Apprentice Indenture Sheet 3
J W Redfern
Copy of Apprentice Indenture Sheet 4
J W Redfern
Dowty Group Services - photo of Apprentice Indenture Document to John Redfern
J W Redfern
Offer of employment to John Redfern in 1970
J W Redfern

Comments about this page

  • Thank you David for your comments, as an ex. Mendip Apprentice myself I agree whole heartedly agree with all you said.

    By John Redfern (12/11/2018)
  • This all brings back so many memories. I started at New Mendip in September 1967. Signing up for a five year apprenticeship seemed to be signing up for a lifetime. However, the practical skills and disciplines I gained (including seemingly endless day release and nightschool attendance) have stood me in good stead throughout my career. I moved into the Drawing Office at the end of my time, and after three years moved on, gaining experience In a number of other companies. I ended my engineering career using high level 3D CAD which was extremely satisfying. In a 48 year career, I spent only eight weeks without a job. So yes, I am very grateful to Sir George Dowty and those at New Mendip who helped me at the start of my working life.

    By David Milsom (11/11/2018)

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