Jesse Marshall

My Life as a Waged Employee;

By Jesse Marshall; Christmas 2008.

At eight years of age, I and my brother Len went to live at Lincoln where my father and his new wife were setting up home (our mother died in 1918 during the Spanish ‘flu epidemic). It rapidly became obvious to us that from day one of this marriage that it was not working. My father, to all intents and purposes a normal adult, expected to indulge an enormous sexual appetite, far in excess of his partner’s.  He was as happy as Larry; she was miserable as sin, which she took out on us (mostly on my brother Len). Our father appeared unaware of the situation.

This apparently normal family life reached a climax in my seventeenth year when father, a baker, was sent to jail for three months, guilty of indecent assault on two early teenage girls. It seems that he was being pestered by them at the open door of the oven furnace room. “Gi’z a cake, baker…” He had pinched their thighs, pretending these were fleabites. He refused legal representation; but no other charges were brought against him. His employers, the local Co-operative Society, immediately terminated his job.

Morgan 3 Wheeler
Jesse standing by his father’s 3 wheeler car, in 1932.  Len is on the other side with his head down.  The small boy on the left is their neighbour Ken (the picture was taken by Ken’s father).

At this time I was looking for work, without much idea of what. There was n o school specialist to advise me; and my father, although proud of his own craftsman status, urged for years that I should “be a clerk and not get my hands dirty”. My Chemistry Master tried to get me taken on by the local artificial fertilizer company but they decided that I’d be a bad risk and would probably not stay. The only other option was to become a pharmacy apprentice with the Co-op. They took me on, perhaps to neutralize any guilt they may have felt about my father’s sacking. So both Len and I were employed: me as ‘bonded’ pharmacy apprentice, Len as an apprentice house-wiring electrician.

On his release, my father tried to be self-employed and rented an empty shop to trade as a pastry cook. This venture lasted less than a year and he took the bankruptcy route. Next, via his Trade Union, he obtained a job with the Nottingham Co-operative Society. Len and I worked our necessary notices and in my case I broke my Pharmaceutical Society bond. We followed our parents to a house in the Meadows, at Nottingham. (We moved to Beeston soon afterwards.)

In the Nottingham and Derby area there was always one factory anxious to take on new eighteen-year-old employees. This was British Celanese at Spondon. Len and I were both recruited: he as a machine minder; me as a laboratory assistant. In both cases it was 24-hour shift work. My job was, first, analysis, then control of a number of research units. I tried to study in my spare time, both at work and at home. But it was a hopeless case due to distractions at work and the atmosphere at home. So, immediately I was 21, I left home and took lodgings at Breadsall, a small village within easy cycling distance of both Derby and Spondon. I wanted to go to Derby Tech – an institution with a very high reputation for full-time, part-time and evening class education. My target was a BSc, but again I tried and failed to devote enough out-of-school time to study. Anyway, I hated the place and the work.

It transpired that I had taken lodgings with a foreman at Rolls Royce, Derby. His brother was also a foreman there, and of even higher status. It was 1938.
Seeing how interested I was in engineering, coupled with my obvious dislike of my present job, my landlord suggested that I take advantage of the current recruitment at Rolls Royce and work in a semi-skilled department. He would try to get me moved to something better if I hung on. I left Celanese right away and joined the recruiting line at Rolls Royce on the Monday morning. By that afternoon I was fettling and polishing aluminium castings. As I remember, it took two or three shifts to produce the approved six-in-line cylinder head. This was a transition period. The single piece cylinder-block was being replaced by a more reliable two-piece head-and-skirt unit.

The war broke out and I continued in this department for twelve months or so, until, one day, I was told to report to the spring shop. My landlord’s brother had taken me on. There, I worked on valve-spring grinding and machine coiling, until sometime in 1940, when I was unexpectedly told to report to Len Hall in Experimental. The brothers had completed their commitment to me.

Towards the end of the war, my landlord’s son, an only child, got married. So my rented room was needed for the newly weds. A rather odd spinster sympathised with my problem and she talked Mrs. Steven’s into offering me a home. And there I lived until Rolls Royce moved me to Glasgow; a very happy period of being mothered.
Note: We kept in touch with Mrs Stevens and visited her every year until she died in about 1968. Her house was lit by gas, there was no electricity supply.

I now learned that a relatively new developmental office was wanting a technical clerk because, in anticipation of bombing, the decision had been taken to move all the records to Belper; whilst current test results were needed for reference by the company’s Victory Road engineering offices. This was my job; I travelled between Belper and Derby in a Rolls Royce car, pressed into service as a bus! After a few weeks things were rationalised and a wooden-bodied Ford V8 shooting-brake took over. This was the period of the Phoney War, nothing was happening. The severe time-loss due to remote storage and travelling prompted a bold decision to take all the records back to Victory Road. My job was redundant and I became an assistant to the Engineer looking after crankcases, crankshaft bearings, pistons and piston rings. The Engineer had just been given a new graduate (engineer) and it was agreed that he would work on crankcases and crankshaft bearings whilst I worked on pistons and rings. The latter were less amenable to mathematical interpretation and I remained on a works clock card – apparently this was a convenient way of retaining my reserved occupation status.

The design of a piston ring array that would minimise ring gumming – or better still, eliminate it – was a most important task. But the new two-piece cylinder block had introduced its own problem – end piston seizure. I turned my attention to this.

Number six piston had seized from the top of its crown land (chamber face) along the axis of the gudgeon pin. A small change to the shape of the liner bore on this axial line was much more probable than any change of shape in the piston itself. So it was the liner that I subjected to intense scrutiny.

Accepting that axial distortion at the top of the liner could only be applied by the annular spigot, which was located in a recess in the cylinder head, I paid close attention to the spigot’s outer circumference. There was the clue: combustion products were collected all round, but in the same arc as the piston pick-up the spigot showed compression and micro-polishing. Now I was sure of how the distortion was occurring and I reported my findings to Len Hall, who was also working overtime that evening. He came and viewed the evidence and agreed with me that the problem was solved.

The next day there was a design review and a revised two-piece design was created, adding several other unrelated mechanical changes to the deletion of the liner spigot.

So, a wartime dilutee, recruited from the streets, had solved a problem that had stymied two graduates responsible for overseeing cylinder blocks and a third – my leader – who was responsible for piston problems. This is not to say that I was any brighter than them. My explanation is that all three were doing the same job they had done before the declaration of war and had already established their levels of working effort and continuity. On the other hand, I was determined to give 100% effort to the job in acknowledgment of the privilege of having a reserved occupation in work that I liked, after two previous false starts at a career.

My overworked conscience reaped its reward. Shortly after this, the local Recruiting Office wanted to know where I was and, forgetting the works’ clock fiddle, I told them of my office job. In their book this did not constitute a reserved occupation. Len Hall acted to recover the situation by transferring me to staff status at Rolls Royce.

Probably because I was brought up in a working class household, I accepted that wage rates were agreed by management and the Trades Unions and I refused to ask team for more money, even though I would have had a good case for doing so and my rate of pay was lower than the other recruits from engineering apprenticeships.

The war was now hotting-up. In order to ensure our superiority over the enemy it was decided that the Griffon engine (an enlarged 37 litre engine, based on the 27 litre Merlin) should be readied for service and the Development Team was split-up. The senior half stayed with Len Hall to handle the Merlin engine and another – the Eagle (a new project, a 24 cylinder horizontal aero engine – the H engine) just off the drawing board. We juniors were to carry on with Griffon development, through to production release. Our top engineer, Mr. Cantril, had already been doing this job at a lower tempo, borrowing engineers from Len Hall, and he continued in place. He asked for me and I became one of his team’s senior engineers (no salary increase).

The period of intensifying effort at Rolls Royce, and of early wartime use of their products, came to a climax with the Battle of Britain. This showed-up excessive cylinder-liner wear and an urgent programme to extend engine life started. Vander Horst Crackle Chrome was tried, as well as the alternative – a 12-thou belt of chromium plate let into the cylinder liner and covering the conventionally recognised area of maximum wear at the outer limit of piston ring travel. Finally, a flash of chrome in this area was settled for; to be tried initially on Merlin engine production.

The pistons of both engines were also redesigned at this time. The original strengthened design included an oil-scraper ring above and below the gudgeon-pin bore. In the revised version the upper oil-seal ring was deleted and the compression ring belt could then be moved down, by that amount, to a lower temperature zone on the piston crown. Reduction of ring-gumming was, of course, the target. I was by now inclined to believe that the actual local piston temperature was not directly responsible; but rather, the controlling factor was the temperature of the blow-by gas when it reached the top groove of the piston. In either case the virtue of the new design was obvious, so I welcomed it.

At this time the specification of the Griffon engine was being agreed for Type Test. Unfortunately, Production said that the nitrided liner, then in use, was not practical for manufacture in quantity. The wastage rate due to bore distortion during the nitriding process was far beyond what was acceptable.

Since nitrided liners were not available, the prototype Griffon engine was built with flash-chromed liners. Test facilities were in high demand during the war; but Harvey Bailey, an old, but enthusiastic, car engineer who had been given his first appointment by Henry Royce himself, passed over his test equipment and staff to prove the Griffon with. He was responsible for initiating reclaim of possible machining errors and service rejects.  The engine ran on test and quickly failed with scuffing of its cylinder liners and piston rings. Without anyone asking him to, or authorising the work, Harvey Bailey stripped down the failed Griffon prototype. As a car engine designer, he was horrified to find that aero engines like the Merlin and the Griffon ran with a piston ring gap reduced from 1/8th-inch to 1/16th-inch. His view was that our failure was due to the piston ring ends butting under working pressure. But the Engineering Department inquest agreed that the small rin gap was safe and was essential in order to avoid ring gumming. Merlins, and other engine types, had been running successfully on a 16th-inch ring gap in recent years. There had to be a better explanation for the Griffon’s failure.

I remembered that we had another engine, which had been set to slave work, testing fuel pumps and suchlike. It had been running steadily, with no trouble, for a fortnight or so. It had been assembled using a low-pressure variant for its oil-scraper piston rings. I told Mr. Cantril, who was delighted. We prepared the Griffon engine for a new test, using the low-pressure rings on each piston, with the narrow (1/16th- inch) ring gap to minimise blow-by. The test convinced us that the low-pressure rings were the immediate answer. Mr. Cantril took me to see Harvey Bailey. Harvey said to us “it’s your engine, what you do with it is your business.” But he also told us of a further modification he’d made after looking at the initial test failure – he’d reduced all the piston diameters by 5-thousandths of an inch to improve their clearance in the bores. I thought this quite acceptable. But Mr. Cantril took exception to this further interference and wanted the original design specification put back in place when the engine was released for factory production.

Rolls Royce’s Crewe works became the first factory to make Griffon engines. Unfortunately, the cylinder liner scuffing problem showed up immediately. I went to Crewe to take a look and to boost confidence in the new engine. I waved the flag for Derby and ended-up betting the Crewe Production Manager £1.00 that when Derby started making Griffons the Derby engines would be trouble-free! I lost that one…Derby experienced just the same problems a few weeks later. Harvey Bailey may have been wrong about the ring-gap but his small reduction in piston diameter was the logical next step. Once this modification was made, the Griffon was a fine engine and production went ahead without further trouble.

Management gave Mr. Cantril the job of developing the new “H-engine”. This was the Eagle project. It had been in the hands of the more senior engineers; but these men were being released in order to work on the development of Frank Whittle’s new jet engine.  Mr. Cantril began to study the H-engine. An engine seized-up on test and we investigated. A colleague cut up the junk head engine castings and he was able to show that cast bosses in certain parts of the junk head’s water jacket were trapping pockets of steam. This prevented the surface from cooling locally and had caused the seizure. The Design Office solved the problem by drilling tiny holes into the bosses where steam was being trapped. This would continuously release the trapped steam without impairing the rate of coolant flow around the engine. Mr. Cantril distrusted the idea and wanted the junk head’s dimensions checked.

We found that at working temperature the heated heads had expanded by 5-thousandths of an inch. The Laboratory Metallurgists had specified that the heads be ‘aged’, but not to a high enough standard for the high working temperature of the H-engine. For several weeks we’d been running the test engines with 5-thou less clearance than we thought that we had.

Mr. Cantril and I started to argue over the proper size of the junk head after heat treatment had stabilized the casting for the higher working temperatures the engine was experiencing. He wanted to reduce the head size by an additional 5-thou; I said this was not necessary. We discussed the matter over a few weeks, without any resolution. A fortnight later he came to see me at my desk (a breach of works’ etiquette – he should have called me into his office) and, vexed at finding me reading a Flight magazine, he laid down the law to me, according to his own point of view.

I disagreed again and walked off to look at the test engine, leaving him standing at my desk. He thought this most disrespectful of me; and he told my line manager, Frank Edwards, so.

The team thought it foolish to get Mr. Cantril’s back up and my line manager set out to resolve the issue by agreeing to raise a requisition for Mr. Cantril’s new size of junk head to be fitted on the next test engine. It failed after 26 hours running.

With Inspection’s failure report in his hand, Mr. Cantril came to my line manager and they went to look at the disassembled engine. I wasn’t invited and didn’t go with them. I took a look later, alone. The gas rings, all of them, on all 24 of the pistons now showed three peripheral lands, whereas there had been only one when fitted. They had rubbed and scored their cylinder liners.

Back at my desk, I found a memo from Mr. Cantril that he had copied to the Drawing Office, which continued to assert his point of view. I wrote a riposte, which I also copied to the Drawing Office and described as my ‘Minority Report’. Mr. Cantril took it home with him when he cleared his in-tray last thing that afternoon – it was a Friday. He was still furious about it when he came in to work the following Monday. He complained about me to Frank Edwards, his deputy and my line manager. Frank made light of it, I’m glad to say; and within a week it was evident that I had chosen the right side in this, by now well-known, disagreement.

Six-months later we had a new boss – a rising young designer. Harvey Bailey had retired by then and the new MD wanted Mr. Cantril to take over his component reclaim work. Mr. Cantril was most affronted by this. He didn’t think Harvey Bailey’s work was worthy of his skills as a development engineer.

By the mid-1940’s jet engine development was making big inroads into piston-engine work. The Merlin had reached the limit of its development potential and Rolls Royce was only supporting the engines that BOAC used in its post-war aircraft, which had been developed, from the Lancaster bomber, into a new design of passenger plane, specially made for the airlines.

Griffon work was to continue at Hillington, near Glasgow. Over the years I had developed a reputation as a specialist. But it was a piston-engine reputation, which no one seemed to think would transfer successfully to jet work. I went to Hillington with the Griffon. Trevor Salt followed me there.

The Hillington team supported engines in service and looked for ways of developing performance and extending engine-life. They were all Packard-Merlin men, who had worked with the American-made version of the Merlin engine. Packard had fitted their engines with an oversize O-ring oil-seal around the cylinder-liners, where the lower face of the cylinder block met the engine’s crankcase. Packard’s cylinder jacket O-rings had a 10% bigger cross-section than Rolls Royce ones and a finite stock of spares had been built up in the UK during the war years.

At a time when poppet-valve life on internal combustion engines could not compare with the service life of jet engines, aero-engines had their cylinder-blocks removed and replaced at half-service-life, without dismounting the engine. The piston con rods would be left to fall against their crankcase edges, causing minor bruising to the metal and necessitating peening and light scraping of the bruised metal. Packard’s oversize O-rings coped with any resultant oil-leakage, much better than the Rolls Royce ring seals did. Under wartime conditions such minor leakage had attracted little notice; but BOAC were an important customer and they were particular about the smartness of their aero-engines.

When stock of the American-made oversize O-rings began to run low I was asked to approve an order for 10% oversize oil-seals from a Rolls Royce supplier. I hadn’t come across the Packard O-ring, or its advantages in service, before and I objected to the change in the size of the oil-seal. I was quite wrong to do so and Rolls Royce ordered the oversize rings within weeks. But the new O-rings caused problems with the gudgeon-pin circlips’ grooves as soon as they came into service. The circlips of coiled wire that held the gudgeon-pins in place started damaging their grooves. I said the cause of the problem must be the new O-rings and I was widely pooh-poohed! John Morgan, the manager, came up with his own diagnosis and remedy. But it made no difference to the torn-up circlip grooves. I stuck to my opinion on the matter and a few weeks later I sat down to compare the drawings for the British-made and American-made O-rings. On the Packard-Merlin drawing was a note: it specified that the Packard-Merlin oil-seal must be made of a rubber mix that does not swell-up when exposed to hot oil! The British drawing had omitted this advice and the manufacturer’s specification had been deficient as a result.

I reported the discrepancy to John Morgan and showed him the drawings. We went to the laboratory and started an overnight hot-oil test on the British O-ring. The next morning we found it had ballooned to 175% of its original size.

A few months later I left Rolls Royce. I had written to Gordon Dawson at Perkins, in search of new start. He was enthusiastic about my experience and he hired me. Unfortunately, some of his colleagues did not agree that my aero-engine experience and knowledge was altogether appropriate for a diesel engineer and they treated me accordingly.

*****     *****     *****

Portrait of Jesse (by Jean) 1968


(This is based on Jesse’s submission for the book A Square Deal All Round . . . The History of Perkins Engines: 1933-2006, by David Boulton, published 2007. Jesse’s submission was not used in the book.)

I came to Perkins after seventeen years at Rolls Royce, in which time I became the Company’s best engineer on piston and cylinder development. For the last ten years I tried delicately to transfer to a different speciality but even when the Company took the decision to cease all piston engine development, I was still asked to continue overseeing the piston engines remaining in service. Despite my reputation, when we then encountered trouble no one believed me, when I told them what was wrong and it took me over six months to prove my case. I decided for my own satisfaction to seek another employer. I wrote to Gordon Dawson who knew me from war time days at R.R. and was immediately offered the job of second in command of Quality Control, a department only recently created as a branch of Engineering.

At that time the Q.C. manager was Harry Aston and his assistant was Ian Mearns; that completed the entire department. When I reported for duty, I found a wall of hostility in all the areas with which I had to negotiate, the D.O., Inspection, Production and to a lesser extent Planning. The Old Guard had prepared the ground well. I chose to let Ian Mearns run his own line which included swashplate injection pump development, a subject almost foreign to me. It was almost a year before I was fully accepted. In that time I was introduced to the major service problem, failure of rope type of rear main oil seal. Engineering never experienced the trouble and hence could hardly be called upon to cure it. Q.C. Production and Inspection had all failed to solve the problem. I looked at quite a lot of failures over some months and began to reckon that I knew the mechanism of failure. I asked Harry Aston’s permission to instruct Planning to introduce a sizing operation before the seal’s assembly on the engine. He said, “If you are sure it will clear the problem by all means do it.”

I wrote the note in the last days of Harry Aston’s leadership. He had been poached by another employer and although Gordon Dawson recommended me as his successor, top management insisted the job go to a dyed in the wool diesel man, and John Fish took over. Having only recently moved over to the diesel engine myself, I did not resent the decision. Planning must have given low priority to the modification and it was getting on for a year before the tooling was ready and the modification came on stream. Immediately the oil leak problem disappeared and reliable service was obtained from the seal for several years. John Fish accepted credit presumably in the name of the department but was careful never to pass on to Top Brass that I was the originator. One day in a burst or uncharacteristic charity he said,”You Jesse are the only person who can claim to have sorted out the rope seal and what I did made no contribution.”

I received another unsolicited recommendation via one of my sons when he was looking for a career after University. He was interviewed by Brian Grundy, then director of Guyson Beadblast in Skipton. They had not previously met but Brian connected the surname and family likeness. His job soon proved too low for my son and the rest of the interview was spent recalling our common time at Perkins. Brian said, “Your father did an outstanding job as second in command at Quality Control and the Company treated him very badly”.

With over twenty years of piston and cylinder development behind me I had evolved a sort of shorthand description of scuffing. I identified two stages one was feather scuffing, a multitude of fine scratches which could be relied upon to self-heal, leaving only a shadow marking in the bore. The other was ploughed field scuffing, a very much smaller number of deep scores which could only become progressively worse. Over the years at Perkins, I had learned that we seemed to drift into and out of feather scuffing over a period of a few days every six months or so. It meant only that production continued “near the edge”. Modified bore treatment etc. seemed unable to eliminate. Production was not interrupted.

Here I will support my story with two further examples of action I took entirely independent of J.R.F. The 6.354 was I think our first engine to feature steel timing and auxiliary gears. With production having reached about twenty engines per day, I saw in the Reject Bay evidence of gear wear on the trailing (softer) of the two steel gears. What I saw was that the characteristic hobbed network surface had disappeared. The multi cuts that produced the profile, each represent a saucer depression of about 1/10 thou and this minimum loss in a maximum of ten hours running would be unacceptable if progressive. It was late Friday afternoon and I reported my findings to J.R.F. who by coincidence was taking a long weekend away from the factory, returning on Thursday of the following week. First thing Monday I started my investigation but was paged by Noel Etches saying “John Fish insists that on no account should I stop the line before his return on Thursday”. Continuing my investigation I booked out of Line Store, one each of the two steel gears. The driving gear was salt bath hardened, the follower was simply heat treated. I studied them carefully and was about to decide I could learn nothing, when suddenly I thought I could see a minute difference in the surface of the two gears and building on this I reckoned that the salt bath gear hobbed network had been further overlaid by plumstone blasting away the last vestiges of solid salt. At this stage the gear was dead soft and the network surface was created by the multi-impact blasting. In this case the metal flowed from the impact centres up to the common boundaries thus resulting in a minute ridge, further defining the network.  On this speculation I took action to tell Purchase to stop the salt bath gear manufacturer plumstone blasting the teeth and I added this prohibition to our gear schedule, which we sent out to relevant contractors. I also decided that in scraping the surface of the softer gear, the minute ridge that was through-hard shattered off making the process self terminating; hence no action need be taken with engines in despatch etc. There was no come back from Purchase and gear wear never was a problem. My hunch had been right and I had cleared the problem by midday on Monday.

Some years on and a marine turbo version of the 6.354 was introduced. Engineering took advantage of the new specification to introduce a new higher pressure scraper ring that had given excellent service on a 1000 hours 4.236. The proto type batch of twenty five engines received a gentle ten hour break in test being then passed to the Reject Bay for examination. I found that every bore in every engine was “ploughed field” scuffed and I learned of the change of scraper ring. My back ground immediately told me this was the problem and I raised a T.A to put back the well established scraper ring. I deliberately entered in the reason for modification section “the new scraper ring will not run on production”. So confident was I that I did not even call for a bore inspection of an engine after rebuild. I was surprised to get no reaction from Engineering but I let it ride. Some four months later I again saw a severely scuffed bore 6.354 in the Reject Bay. As I expected it was a marine turbo engine. Alteration Office had released the specification to Production without reference to my T.A., which they had issued on my behalf. This first batch of one hundred engines was affected and the first one to get to Reject Bay was number 97 in the build order. Fifty engines had already been dispatched to U.S.A. by air freight. I told J.R.F. and insisted that all 100 engines should come to Reject Bay for rework. He reported to Gordon Dawson who instructed the 50 engines recall etc. J.R.F. was the messenger not the originator. When returned it was seen that rework was essential on all engines. Discussing scuffing around this time with Gordon Dawson I said to him that if Engineering would develop a delayed action scraper ring new engine scuffing could be eliminated, he did not follow it up.

Returning now to “feather scuffing”, the usual periodic swing was again observed. Ian Mearns thinking aloud said “I wonder could water pump slippage and low flow  resulting from slack leather link belts in Test be the cause?” I was certain this was not the explanation and rather than dismiss the suggestion out of hand I ignored it. J.R.F. picked it up and going to the Test Shop condemned all the leather belts.As was to be expected we drifted out of feather scuffing after a few days so J.R.F. immediately inferred that it was as the result of his action. Next time it was mentioned in the office that minor bore scuffing was back I made no practical response. J.R.F. heard it and seeing no movement in the outer office himself went down to the Test Shop to once again condemn all leather belts in sight. Without much hope I thought I had better do something so I took the office junior as my leg-man and collected scuffed bores which we checked for hardness in the Standards Room. I learned nothing but J.R.F. came to find me. Looking round he said of the office junior “that man over there should have been doing the job that I’ve had to do myself, not wasting his time in here.” Because I was nettled I turned his words “You are right Mr. Fish of course, given that his time is being wasted it is your way in preference to anyone else’s that he should be wasting it.”

That I felt was the end and I sent a note to Gordon Dawson asking to be taken off J.R.F’s team. Little did I know that Dawson himself was arranging his own departure from Perkins. I was moved from Quality Control but dropped into the general pool of engineers from which the new management chose the various teams that were to progress new projects from the drawing board to Production. I found myself subordinate to Bill Youde on petrol engine development. In my view all this should require was to settle the carburation and to establish compatibility between bores and piston rings. I could not justify the large amount of testing being undertaken, using both Ricardo and E.R.A. as contractors. When eventually we were ready to test and give final confirmation to the build specification, an engine was built and passed to E.R.A. As instructed it received a gentle ten hour break in and the head was lifted to check the bores. All had suffered “ploughed field” scuffing. Just bad luck was assumed and two more same specification engines were built and similarly tested. Both failed in exactly the same way. I felt that the best thing I could do to personally develop my delayed action scraper ring. Bill Youde turned a blind eye whilst I with the help of our progress chaser cum fitter made up and installed the specification pistons and rings with minor additions, such as two screwed pins in each scraper groove at a fixed distance apart, (c.f. as on a two stroke engine) plus a rubber plug in the end drilling (elongated) of each scraper ring. The idea was for the rubber to carry initially approx. half the load normally applied to the liner bore whilst expecting the hot oil gradually to soften the rubber until finally full load was applied to the bore. An engine was built and passed to E.R.A. I said” Just give this engine five minutes warm up then set it up to full power and run it for twenty five hours.” Having completed the schedule the head was lifted and all four bores were perfect.

E.R.A. not knowing what I had done described it as almost a miracle. I thought I had made a break through deserving of more development but Bill Youde and management hide-bound by convention were not interested.