Drilling Machinery

  As a result of the general success of Dorman diesels another decision was to be taken in mid-1938, to discontinue the petrol and paraffin engine production, which was accordingly phased out over the next three years; an exception to the rule were the 1AB and 2AB petrol engines, the very last petrol fuelled Dorman types, which were specially produced for Aveling Barford throughout the forties for installation in their small dumpers and calf dozers.
   In 1938 the Company was to witness another event, the sad news of the death of Mr. John Haddon after twenty-seven years as Chairman of the Company. His place was taken by the experienced Mr. Sidney M. Wilford himself a Dorman man of many years standing.
    Carried out by degrees over the years, the move to Tixall Road was by the decade's close complete; it had been carried out in this gradual fashion partly because of economic difficulties mentioned earlier and partly through the company's wish to avoid upsetting production anymore than it was strictly necessary. One contract of note, to be handled during this transition stage, was for the provision of a Dorman engined generating set for the Royal Train.

This was designed to supply power for lighting and the many other services necessary for the comforts for their Majesties, the late King George VI and the present Queen Mother. However, by the end of 1939 the offices were finally transferred to Tixall Road works where the firm was now firmly established; indeed the impetus of their going was somewhat acclaimed by the Government as the vacated buildings were to be requisitioned by the Ministry of Labour, for use as a training centre for the engineering industry. So it was that on Christmas Eve of 1939 Foregate Street Works, were handed over to the Ministry who made full use of it until 1942 when they were taken over by English Electric for expansion of their wartime production. Meanwhile with the outbreak of War Dorman had not been idle.
    Upon the outbreak of War, in 1939, Dorman's was placed under the sponsorship of The Admiralty, for which department, a vast number of marine engines and generating sets were produced. As at this period of time when most Dorman engines were to be used by the Forces, a Services Co-ordinating Committee was set up to establish a list of standardised engines, outside of which the Service Departments were not


Typical 4JUR


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Dorman Centenary CB 32-33 CB 36-37

apparently volatile, to say the least, because a cold-starting diesel was an essential requirement for the vessel to carry it, and the 4JUR was the only one available, hence its sudden conversion to a marine engine.
    There was also apparently a good deal of the cargo because the engine completed nineteen 500 mile runs with a constant average load of 30 tons before it lost power, after some five months which was four months longer than the vessel's crew expected; this was because the 4JURs conversion for marine use had been a trifle makeshift: "we could not get a reduction gearbox" reported a member of the crew "so we used her own car gearbox, putting a universal joint and a thrust block between it and the screw".
    As the culminating indignity of this cavalier treatment, the last 200 hours of the engine's life had been run not on diesel, but on black naval fuel oil yet prior to its loss of power it had required only the minimum of attention, and, came the report once overhauled, "it will be as good as ever again . . . this little 4JUR played a big part in establishing our northern defence . if the British keep on turning out stuff like this engine there is no doubt as to the outcome of the war".


allowed to go, except under certain circumstances. After the first few months it was realised that operations would be on an extremely wide front and stocks of spares would have to be held, in strategic positions, throughout the theatres of war so that equipment could be fully maintained even if the source of supply were to be cut off.
    Dorman diesel engines were to qualify for the inclusion in the Co-ordinating Committee's List of Standardised engines and it was here that the Dorman policy of standardisation and interchangeability became a valuable asset to the Company, also the Nation.
    It was inevitable that Dorman engines found their way into the many and varied tasks which fell to the Corps of Royal Engineers who in the main were responsible for the construction of: air fields, roads, railways, bridges, deep water ports and all types of buildings; also the survey of virgin lands, demolition of obstacles, port operating, bomb disposal and minefield clearance and general construction tasks. To supervise these tasks the Royal Engineers formed a Construction Equipment Section which called for the services of a vast number of Dorman diesel engine equipment.
    An interesting story of a Dorman engine in the war at sea found its way to Stafford in 1943, like an amazing number of good Dorman stories, this comes from Australia. In the late thirties the Western Australian Branch Manager of Kelly and Lewis had previously driven a Cadillac chassis, complete with its new 4JUR Dorman diesel engine, the customary three thousand miles from Melbourne through desert and quagmire to the community of Wiluna, W.A. Here the Cadillac commenced life as a taxi; the engine outlived the chassis and its next reincarnation was in Darwin providing power for a 'bus. It seems that nobody bothered to service it very frequently dazzled as they were, no doubt, by the reputation of Dorman diesels for slogging out the requisite power, come what may.

   Harder times were yet to come for the Dorman 4JUR; in September 1941 it was requisitioned by the Darwin Maritime authorities for use as a marine engine for installation in the inshore cargo vessel South Seaman, and the 'bus chassis was thrown on the scrap heap.
    War with Japan was looming and it suddenly became vital that a mass of cargo be transported, by sea, from port 'A' to port 'B' some 500 miles apart. It is impossible to be more specific because at this point the letter from Dorman's Australian agents telling the story becomes, in the habit of wartime communications, grimly secretive. The cargo was




A Dorman diesel engine installed as a power unit to drive drilling, milling and capstan machines.  Dorman Chairman, the late Mr. S. M. Wilford, is to be seen on the left.


Typical Dorman diesel type 4JUR as fitted to the inshore vessel “South Seaman”, in Australia.


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