4DWD Generating Set

plot enemy aircraft on their approach to carry out bombing raids. This was of great assistance to the Royal Observer Corps as they were able to pass on vital information to the R.A.F. Fighter Command and the R.A. Anti-Aircraft Command. A number of "offspring" firms were selected to make various components under the control of Dorman, who produced the vital components and carried out assembly work.  
    In addition to the diesel engines supplied to the Admiralty, which we mentioned previously, Dorman were to supply other equipment which, no doubt, the ordinary man in the street had never heard about as most of the items were on the secret list. One such item was the depth control gear for torpedoes. This device predetermined the depth of the course a torpedo would take in order that the point of impact


could be below the normal armoured protection.     Another such item was a device graduated in fathoms, which could be pre-set to determine the depth at which a depth charge exploded.
    Another such item was the diesel driven generating sets for de-gaussing equipment installed for the protection of shipping against magnetic mines. This device neutralised the magnetic field thus allowing the vessel to pass over a magnetic mine without actuating it. Many thousands of tons of shipping were saved by this device.
    Whilst Dorman were producing diesel engines for equipment to be used by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, other branches of the Forces were to benefit as many engines were installed, by some of Britain's leading manufacturers, in equipment used by the Army in the most unlikely places both at home






Typical Dorman petrl-engined 4DWD generating set as supplied to the Ministry of Supply, in the late 1930s.

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Booklet home page                    Page index                    Pages 36 & 37                    Pages 40 & 41

Dorman Centenary CB 36-37 CB 40-41

and abroad and under the most arduous conditions ever encountered. A Dorman engine might be seen operating a generating set in the frozen north or an oil drilling rig in the desert
   The "Second" war unlike the "First", when armies dug In and faced each other for months on end, proved to be more flexible as armies covered many miles in the course of a few days. This put a new aspect on warfare because units were expected, and able, to move at very short notice. In many instances some routes were over virgin land or areas which had been heavily bombed or shelled; this in many cases required the repair of, or the building of, roads, bridges, railways and ports also other vital services such as water supply, lighting and power supply etc.
    More often than not materials were not readily available and, therefore, had to be procured locally and almost overnight appeared sawmills, to supply local timber cut to size for boat building, bridges and buildings; quarrying units for road, rail and building materials; workshops for vehicle repairs and storage depots for essential supplies. Many of these temporary installations were later to be permanent and would include such items as barracks hospitals, power stations and workshops; in many instances Dorman diesel engines were used to power equipments essential to the operation of both the temporary and permanent installations.
    With the planning of the invasion of Europe it was imperative that one of the main essentials of war — petrol — should be available at all times, in quantity, as most of the Allied vehicles including tanks, were petrol driven. To cope with this a supply line was laid from a port in the north west of England to the port of embarkation on the south coast. After the successful invasion of Europe the pipe line was extended to the bridge-head, on the Continent; the exercise code named PLUTO entailed floating it across the English Channel and allowing it to settle on the sea bed resulting in a "Pipe line Under The Ocean". In order to take the stresses and strains set up a flexible joint would be required and this is where Dorman played their part as they were called upon to supply Flexstel joints for this vital link. Dorman's also supplied Flexstel joints for use on the pipe lines of the flame throwing tanks and carriers used by advancing troops and Commando Units.





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