Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Memories of Lister's, Dursley's biggest engineering company.
Site Admin
Posts: 185
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:19 pm
Location: Dursley, Gloucestershire

Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by dursleyglos »

This was created as a contact point for anyone who was once an apprentice at Lister's. Hopefully there are still a lot out there! On your first message, it would be great if you could leave your name or nickname, where you worked and the years you were there. Thanks
Andy - Dursley Glos Web Admin

P.G. Jack Echalier
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:50 pm
Location: Olathe, Kansas, USA

ex RAL Apprentice

Post by P.G. Jack Echalier »

P G "Jack" Echalier - Started 22 Jan 1962 - one of several that got the nickmane "Jack" from Eddie Bedgegood, the foreman of Section F in the Diesel machine shop, who called everybody Jack.
Worked through Diesel m/c shop, Sheep Shear Tool Room, GMS, Setter for the girls on the Comb & Cutter grinder, Bruston, Test, Drawing Office, Jack Gomme's Engine School.
Never did live in the hostel, (full up) so went straight into digs up Hill Road (past the Fox & Hounds)
Still with the company after 43 years.
After apprenticeship went to Scotland, Caribbean, back to Dursley, Iran, USA, back to Dursley, back to USA pemanently and with Lister Petter Americas Inc. in Olathe Kansas.

Alan (Spider) Webb
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:04 pm
Location: Union Bay, Vancouver Island B.C. Canada

Alan (Spider) Webb

Post by Alan (Spider) Webb »

Alan (Spider) moved from ST Austell Cornwall in Jan 1961, Lived in the Woodmancote Hostel.
Did the Training School routine, some weeks in the Fibreglass (Itch Itch). Comb & Cutter, Autotruck M/C & Fab, All the Stores (Product Weighing), Engine Assembly & Test, Diesel Machine Shops, GMS. Jig & Tool Drafting.
Post apprenticeship. Work Study, Cylinder Head Potential Line for Walkden. Move into digs 1963 with Mrs Ellen Smith. Hobbies: Motor Bikes
Completed C&G F.T.Certificate at Bolton
1967 Move to Listers Walkden. Production Engineering, Supervision, Production Control, & Quality Control till shutdown in 1972.
Pass out of Salford Tech, Inst of Industrial Managers Exams became Member later.
Had a few jobs up and down UK. Moved to Edmonton Canada 1975 to Foundry M/C Shop Became Foundry Manager, Moved to the coast Van in 1980 worked for various foundries, Ran a Metal Finishing plant for 12 years.
Consulting, Project management. Now work as Product & Maufacturing Eng
for See Dursley's Town Center Disabled Lift.
Hobbies: Racing Sail Boats, Gardening. Married to Sherrie. Canadian Alberta Lady, No Kids.
Alan (Spider) Webb
12281 22 B Ave
V4A 2C3
604 538 4006

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Burnham-on-Crouch Essex UK

Les Talbot ex-Lister apprentice

Post by leslietalbot »

Joined RAL September 1962 bunked up at Claremont Hostel along with Bob Newberry( met him and Adrian Peatman last summer), Alan Walker, Denis Ganley, Clive Lister (no relation) Ceri Morris, Luis Sanint plus several overseas chaps. Servived that awful winter of '64. Left after a year and into digs at the Craigs in Cam Green with Bev Vandergert(still in touch lives in Holland). Jack Craig worked in the service school overhauling domestic pumps. Later in digs with Winnie Woodward in Summerhayes (still in touch) later with her mother and father in Kingshill Park.
Training school for 4 months (Bill Clark died last year) then to Separator section T (building still stands) machined last 300 separator casting for spares on a Herbert 5A Turret lathe. On to Sect 0 Ted "man with turbine on" Collins (Had a 30's Rudge M/C), DMS toolroom, Section C cranks, Bullard flywheel m/c shop (Fido the foreman), main tool room (looked after by Ron Thomas (still about) Sheep shear drawing office, Autotruck m/c shop, main drawing office, engine erecting, test (painted the back of Vic Beestons boots testbed blue during a testbed clean out one Saturday and hooked a streamer on the back of his dustcoat. Met him at RAL in 1981 he remember the incident and we had a good laugh, sadly no longer with us.
On to Bruston (Wally Harris still about), Service School engine school, and Jack gommes engine courses. Time at Swindon and Cinderford. then to field service for two years with along with Dick Netherway. Back injury had to come off and went to marine D.O. Poached by Welding Indusries in Bristol one of my service OEM's. Genset and concrete block plant manufactures. With them for almost 10 years, Test engineer, genset works supervisor, genset division management team, plus diesel genset design office liason engineer. At some stage Jack Echalier was the service manager at RAL and Graham Penny and the late Bob Bunn looked after our warranty problems. Caused RAL some consternation over non compliant to BS649 governors on minimec pumps on HR6's. Did a lot of interesting work on noise suppression and close regulation governing specials. Company poached several lister people. Maurice Robinson, Dan thomas, Mike Wilson, Malcom Hacker. The company boomed in the 70's.
Wanted to move into the service sector, joined a perkins distibutor in London (distastrous move) then on to Nicol & Andrew at Feltham, worked closely with both my former companies. Service exchange and new engine sales manager, deputised on service side as well, enjoyed the experience very much. Brian "Taff" Edwards also worked for the company on Blackstone service. Left the industry completely in 1982 bought and became a director of my brother in law's mobile cereal seed cleaning on his fathers farm in Essex ran the engineering and haulage side, expanded and ran succesfully for 8 years. Pulled down buy a succession of bad debts in the recession of 1990. 18months of unemployment, back to school to study business mangement and electrical installations, drove lorries for bread and butter. Government Acts forcing my wife's playgroup to close, we revamped it to comply to a daycare centre (we are a commuter town) and was succesful,we expanded it again to a new building two years ago placements for up 64 children daily and employ 20 staff. Lesley manages it and I look after the business side and the site partime, a team effort. Set up an electrical installation and repair business mostly industrial and agricultural work, and do get involved with gensets occasionally, also run a partime engineering export agency with an association with powerplant enginering company in Bangkok. Supply parts to them for Mirrless Blackstone K Majors from time to time. All in all a enjoyable mix. The only down side I have lost an awful lot of my hearing but with modern digital aids we manage fine. Married to Lesley ( I am forever getting repeat prescription for HRT pills!!) for 35 years three kids and one grandson with all the attendent hassles over the years. For you American guys visit Lesley brother in Seattle from time to time home to do some US touring for retirement might call on you.
As post script, I feel I owe RAL a debt of gratitude for training the gave us, the young could never acquire that experince today and which is sad as the general standard of workmanship today at times is nothing short of appauling (not enough bollickings) and that which come from China WORSE. Gentlemen you are dying breed enjoy the euphoria.
PPS I think we all should get together some time don't you? Best wishes to you all Les

R Clark
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:29 pm

ex RAL apprentice

Post by R Clark »

Joined RAL as apprentice in1982. Started in the training school (victoria works now just demolished) with training instructors Ken Burrell (machining downstairs) and Bill Clark - no relation (tin bashing etc upstairs). Probably one of the last set of apprentices to learn "old " skills on the manual 6" swing lathes and milling m/cs. A little too early for CNC stuff. Great times, getting Ken to talk about his military carrer in tea breaks - they could last an hour! Moved on to the CMS (Sect D, Jig stores) - John Baldwin et al. Then onto foundry and electrical stores (the latter looked after by Mick Atkins - jolly chap he was). Finished the apprentice tour in the Press shop tool room - who could forget foreman "Killer" (Ken Bloodworth). Finally returned to the Training school for my last year under the instruction of Roy May. Also not forgetting the day release to college every week over these years - we used to bugger about something rotten (Poor old Len Blick @ Dursley Tech who we used to torment). After my apprentiship finally finished up in the Goods Inward Inspection or Bought out view (BOV) for the older readers! Inmates there included Harry Elliott, John French, Ernie Blunsden - all lovely old blokes with a tale to tell. No longer at LP but what memories!!

PS I actually met Jack Echalier (he won't remember it was very very brief) while I was on Quality Assurance and he was on a visit from Olathe circa 1996.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:56 pm
Location: Barnstaple. North Devon

Dave Carder

Post by davecarder »

I started as apprentice in 1960 along with my twin Brother Tom. Started in the Victoria works training school Bill Clark was in charge,we lived in the hostel at the top of woodmancote for a while, from what I can remember it was run by a Polish ex Sergeant Major, we called "Shultz" we were each rationed butter & sugar on a weekly basis (which often got pinched by other apprentices), at the sound of the gong we were up for breakfast which consisted mostly of scrambled eggs which were probably cooked the night before and warmed up and could of been used for car tyres!!. After a short stay in the training school I went into the Victoria works tin bashing shop I think the forman was Charlie Millson and the manager was .........Shellard. I moved from there to the Victoria works tool room the charge hand being Mike King the forman was I think Don Collins. From there I moved to the Marine gear dept. next to the seperator shop I stayed here for a while and then went to the Marine gear tool room the forman was Dave Harris. I then moved to the crank shaft section of the diesel shop on the Maximatics the setter here was Dick Wyatt I remember one of the formen George Day had a habit of standing at the other side of the shop, if you caught his eye he would beckon you to follow him and then go racing off the majority of the time you didnt have a clue where he had gone or what he wanted you for. needless to say after a while I just ignored him!!. After working in the various departments including the Bullard shop and Listard shop down the diesel end, I then went up to the truck shop where I assembled Auto trucks and then moved to the Auto truck machine shop, the forman was I believe Fred Dunkley, I was nearing my apprenticeship by this time and was asked which department I would like to work in, I went back to the Victoria works tool room, Mike King was forman by then and Don Collins was Victoria works manager. I left Listers in 1968 and set up my own engineering business in Stroud, moved back to Devon in 1976 and met my wife Sue we married in 1977 and have 3 children (now grown up) still running my own company and still married to Sue!!.
Would like to hear from anyone who remembers me but especially Mike King & Bob Adams.

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by DRM »

David Martin

Always knew I wanted to play with technology - an advert in the Stroud News and Journal ended up with me having an interview at RAL with R Price - and becoming an apprentice in 1970. I remember Dad crossing out one section of the indenture agreement that he wouldn't sign! So, a year started in the training school with Ken Burrel, Bill Clark and the teacher for the fitting section (Sorry, can't remember name!). My first stint was fitting section - and the first stint was 5 weeks and it was file, file, file. I think 3 apprentices gave up in that first month and walked out, thinking they had 40 years of filing. You got that bit wrong Mr was soul destroying. But what a training! Then into the real world. Bar Auto for 6 months where I cracked the system and was earning treble time. I had a visit from the shop steward who asked me to slow up -"THEY" would retime the jobs he said. Yeah right, like I cared. 18 years old and earning a fortune and in 6 months I'd be moved on - I was working my arse off and earning more, as an apprentice, more than guys who had been there 30 or 40 years! From there to the Foundry for 4 months, then R&D then Drawing Office then QC - and then Engine Assy and Engine Test - where I excelled.. and ended up working there in the QC department. So, having gone through one of the country's best - if not THE best - apprenticeships I was Quality Engineer for Engine Assembly and Test and then Senior Quality Engineer. My favourite engine was the J - JA and JW. I have a piston on my desk even now! But I was destined to take over from Stan Cox as Senior Foreman of the Engine Test and even then I'd had enough of the unions (Sorry all you union types!) and Hughie McLennan (shop steward) in the Test was more than I could when an advert in Motorcycle News caught my eye for a technical manager at the importers of Ducati and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles I was off. All because of the stupid and idiotic Union pressure. BUT! The best apprenticeship ever; still holds me in good stead today. I still miss the RAL that I knew. Now I do electronics... and am constantly amazed at the modern "engineers" in car and motorcycle workshops that are just "part replacers". Where have all the engineers gone....

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:22 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by Phil_Williams »

Started in the Long St Training School Jan 1962. Local boy so no stay in hostel or digs. Stayed in engineering, Mawdsley's - Dursley, Commercial Hydraulics - Glos. TI Matrix-Churchill - Newcastle upon Tyne & Coventry and finally with Renishaw plc.
Good to see some old friends linked to this site.

craig camidge
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:18 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by craig camidge »

Hi David Martin,
I started my time a little before you 66-70. You mention filing and of course we all remember flat and square, but you are wrong to think that old Clarky had it wrong. I later became a chief engineer and one time whilst handing over to another older chief out in the Canaries I returned to the ship having been ashore for the night to find the whole black crew pumping away in turns down in the depths of the vessel on a very old looking hand pump. I enquired as to what they thought they were doing? 'Well boss, the new chief tells us to pump water up to the big tank as the letric pump is no good no more and it will take a week to get new parts.' I left them pumping and went to see how much water they had managed to pump up to the main header tank. Not one thimble full after six hours pumping! I returned and told them all to go to bed and get some sleep. I stripped the main pump and found that the valve plate had worn around the ports. I placed this in a very large vice that was in the repair hold and having blued up, began to file...... A while later the new engineer turned up. You'll never repair that he spat, complete waste of time and stomped off. Three hours later the electric pump hummed and water gushed into the main header tank and all could wash and do the things with water that you never really think about until you haven't any. And I thanked Mr Clark for making me into a fine engineer that can file really flat and really square, when needs must.

Craig Camidge

Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:12 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by Patricia »

Does anyone remember Wally Maggs, Foreman Cylinder head Shop?

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Burnham-on-Crouch Essex UK

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by leslietalbot »


Nice to see you on the site, why don't you get in touch, leslie.talbot@btopenworld. We still have reunion get togethers in Dursley around the Lister Tyndale Rally this year, 16th 17th June and I am seeing meeting Jack Echalier, Dick Netherway and Alan Webb in Vancouver in August this year.

Andy if you have his contact address please pass this on.


Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by Jocurran »

I was an apprentice at Lister's from July 1963 until July 1965 when my apprenticeship was transferred at my request to Mirrlees National in Hazel Grove at the time of the Hawker Siddeley amalgamation.
I spent the first 3 months living in the apprentice hostel and then moved back to my parents who had by then moved from Lancashire and started a B&B in a house called The Moors near Coaley.
I spent the usual time in the apprentice school then time in the shearing dept, on the transfer line machining cylinder heads and a long time working on the diesel auto trucks and battery electric tugs...... does anyone remember the Gold Star Tractor?
I then spent the next 3 years at Mirrlees National followed by nearly 10 years in the Merchant Navy as an Engineer Officer, then a spell in Guyana on Diesel Power Stations followed by nearly 10 years in Dubai as a Ship Repair Manager and then emigrated to Western Australia in 1990 where I worked mainly as a Hospital Engineer until retirement 3 years ago.
At the moment I am in the UK on holiday and last week went to the Anson Engine Museum for their Midsummer Mingle followed by a day at the Astle Park 1000 engine Rally.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who was at Lister's during my time there.

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by DRM »

Hi Craig!

You misunderstand me - or I didn't make myself clear. I wasn't moaning that I learned how to file; just that 5 weeks of it - straight out of school - was too much. As I said, 3 guys quit then. I remember Dad saying once when I got home; "What did you do today?" I said "Filing" but the inflexion in my voice said it all...Dad said "I'm wondering what you are getting out of this". It wasn't Clarky who arranged this, it was Ron Price...5 weeks was just too long for a first hit. It should have been one week in each section at the start (Fitting, Welding, Machines) then up to 2 weeks then on to 4 weeks - something like that anyway. Here I am, 40 years on, & I still think the rota was organised for the benefit of the teachers and Ron Price. Just like a lot of things today! Like you though I can recount what a good learning it was - even down to a thankyou Fax from Ducati Motorcycles around 1984 when I explained how they should cure one of their problems. And the "cure" is still in production.

You know, I run two companies now. I ran Harley-Davidson UK for 8 years. I worked for Triumph in Italy. I worked in the USA for a couple of years but if I thought Lister's now was like it was then - I'd go back there. Best time of my working life.

dave jewell
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:08 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by dave jewell »

Hi Dave Jewell here. Joined RAL in 1962 and was an inmate in Woodmancote hostel along with Jeff Jackson, Terry Richards, Taf Walters, Mike Napper, just to name a few. Trained as foundry metal pattern maker & foundry man which also involved training in wood pattern shop & fibre glass patterns. After apprenticeship went into main drawing office then foundry maintenance department involved in installation of new moulding line. Left RAL 1979 and went into fabrication structures and engineering contract work for quarries, Walls icecream, Mars confectionary, GEGB, Ross poultry farms etc. Left engineering 1988 and bought convenience shop, 3 all told, and retired October 2012 now living in Cornwall. Married Sandra Smart who also worked at RAL. Lister's was certainly the best days of my life. I missed the 2012 reunion but won't miss the next hopefully.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:35 pm

Re: Calling all ex-Lister apprentices!

Post by Taylor »

I have been going through my late father's papers and have come across his apprenticeship papers dated 18th July 1930, are there any records of staff / apprenticeships going back this far as I would like to know anything I can learn about my father. I know he went on to be an aero-engineer with Bristol Sideley which then became Rolls Royce.

Ian Taylor

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