THE FLATLEY DRYER

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 17 Feb 2018, 11:41

In that Wikipedia link I noticed this image. It was captioned as a partisan with a Sten gun in Paris in 1944 and is said to be a staged photo. But look at that soldier with his gun and where he's pointing it, straight at the partisan's leg - it makes me want to shout "He's behind you!" :extrawink:

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 18 Feb 2018, 04:38

The Sten had one serious fault that was not mentioned in the article. The recoil mechanism worked by having a heavy breech block with the firing pin on the front of it and detonation of the cartridge in the breech drove the block back against a spring in the body ejecting the spent case as it went back. On the return journey the block picked up a new round from the magazine and as it pushed it into the breech the firing pin fired it and started the cycle again. With me so far?
The Sten was standard issue to Dispatch Riders but it was soon found that if slung over the shoulder with a full magazine attached, when the motor cycle went over a big enough bump the breech block was forced down and on the way back picked up a cartridge and fired it. If slung in the usual position on the rider's back this ensured that the 9mm round blew the back of the Don R's head off. So first rule was don't have the magazine on the gun when travelling! Not many people know that......
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 18 Feb 2018, 10:33

Thanks, I'll take care and make sure the magazine's off my Sten next time I go out on the motor bike! (That reminds me, I must take those detonators out of my coat pocket too.) :extrawink:

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by PanBiker » 18 Feb 2018, 10:51

As there were only two actual machined parts in the weapon, the rest were pressed steel. The tolerances on magazine production were not very good. Consequently you could get badly fitting magazines that could give rise to misfires as they did not fit solidly into the feed chamber. Not helped also by users incorrectly holding the weapon by the magazine during use. It had advantages too in that it used 9mm Parabellum ammo which could be liberated from enemy troops and it cost next to nothing to produce.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 19 Feb 2018, 04:22

There was a widely held belief at the time that the barrels were made out of gas pipe. The early ones were definitely not accurate! You sprayed and hoped for a hit and only at very close range.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 20 Feb 2018, 06:41

In 1954 when I was called up to serve Her Majesty we were still using what was basically the infantry rifle used on the Great War. It had been modified slightly and became the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE), though old fashioned and using the same .303 ammunition it was reliable and if you got a good one, very accurate at ranges over 600 yards. The bayonet had been modified, we no longer had the long dagger like unit but the shorter and lighter 'Pig Sticker'. We were still trained in bayonet charges stabbing various straw-filled dummies and encouraged to scream like banshees! We wondered if this would ever be useful.....
Looking at the reports of the deaths at Didcot Barracks I note that though in a training camp, ammunition was freely issued. The only time we ever got ammo was on the ranges. Even when I was guarding a 'Very Important Person' in Berlin we had no ammo. I later found that it was Princess Margaret when a man who later guarded Spandau Gaol and wrote a book about it contacted me after reading my account of doing the guards there and the Border Patrols. He knew about the Eiskeller or as we called it, the Frying Pan. We had no ammo on them as well..... Do you think they didn't trust us? They had plenty, it was all WW2 manufacture.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 21 Feb 2018, 04:46

See THIS for a brief overview of what seemed like a good idea at the time.
One report that was current at the time was that some of the modified Sherman tanks sent out as heavy tractors were not properly prepared and the turrets and guns were left on them for removal at the destination. Only problem was that in the Western Desert there were millions of rounds of ammunition stockpiled from the days of the desert war against the Afrika Corps. The rumour was that Nasser was buying the tanks and using them and the ammo to equip his army. I remember at the time it all seemed plausible. I wonder if it really happened?
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 22 Feb 2018, 06:38

See THIS for the website of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a brief history.
What they don't make clear is that when Hugh Dalton set up the original fund it was with money raised by selling off war surplus. I forget the original name. It was largely unused and eventually the moribund fund was restarted as the National Heritage Memorial Fund and given the broad remit of acting as a funder of last resort, usually to buy important heritage items that were in danger of being bought by foreign buyers. What is less known about them is that they were sympathetic to requests for more mundane projects.
I have a story about this. At one point the man who was heading the fund died in post and his deputy took over pro tem. I had word of this from a mole in the corridors of Whitehall and I was told that for years his ideas had been shelved by the management and now he had the reins he might be susceptible to an approach. I took the hint and invited the man up to Rochdale and arranged for him to meet John Pierce who was then the Chief Executive. He was knocked out by Rochdale Town Hall, especially the encaustic tiles! He was also captivated by Ellenroad and told me to apply for funding for the chimney. He was replaced in short order by two ladies who were intrigued when the request landed on their desks and decided to have a day out 'Up North'. I think they were quite pleased to get out of London and I played the blunt but interesting Northern Working Class Card to the hilt!

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Here I am in March 1990 doing my best with the two ladies (Who incidentally I liked and I think they recognised it). The upshot was that they funded the 25% shortfall on the chimney funding and that was when we did the total refurb on it. It was the first time the NHMF had funded an industrial artefact to that extent and the fact that they came in meant that we could cite them as funders in other applications and this was an asset to us. If they were funding us we were Kosher!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 23 Feb 2018, 05:09

When I first started to interact with London based civil servants to get support for doing the LTP I was intimidated by them and the corridors of power. I talked about this to my friend David Moore who had to spend a lot of time down there on government committees and his advice was not to be intimidated or try to emulate them but play the blunt Northerner card to the hilt. He said that on the quiet they were the ones who were intimidated by the direct approach. I followed his advice and he was right! It worked like a charm. The result was that some were antagonised but gave in, others appreciated straight talk and are still my friends almost 50 years later.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 24 Feb 2018, 05:22

I was casting my mind back almost 80 years to the days when I first started walking to school every morning at Hope Memorial, it was about half a mile. I know you are going to have difficulty believing this but I can remember clearly walking home on hot sunny afternoon and worrying because I didn't know as much as the older children and couldn't think of anything to think about! Of course that's exactly what I was doing. I can remember that so clearly, it was high summer and must have been in 1940 because that's when I started school as soon as I was four years old in February. The gas tar was soft in the joints between the setts on Huntsman's Brow and I stopped to harvest some, the poor lad's Plasticine in those days. Only problem was it used to stick to my fingers and I knew when I got home my mother would sauce me and remove it by making me rub butter into it.
I was dressed on little boots, woollen stockings, woollen short trousers with braces, underpants held up by my braces through loops on the waistband so my shirt was tucked in my underpants and always a woollen Fair Isle sleeveless pullover. Topped off with a woollen school cap. Funny thing is I can't remember what I wore on top in bad weather, I think it must have been a small dark blue Mackintosh.
No brand names in those days to fall out over! The only labels in clothes were the Utility Labels, a sign that they were government approved quality!

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This mark was on all clothes and furniture and other goods as well I think. You can still trust it even today if you find anything marked with it! I think we could do with it again.......
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by PanBiker » 24 Feb 2018, 09:57

I have a number of CC41 marked items including a treasured pair of grey braces, they are in almost pristine condition and are used when we go dancing 40's style.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 25 Feb 2018, 04:28

They were very strict standards Ian and strictly adhered to.
What we tend to forget now is that 'rationing' was applied to everything including all raw materials and energy. If a business needed a new machine they had to get a licence in order to even order it. All the administration was tone by the Ministry of Supply and they were on the whole very efficient. Much is made of various things that 'won the war' but you very seldom hear about the administration that avoided waste and made sure that scarce resources went where they would do most good. Without them there would have been internal chaos!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 26 Feb 2018, 05:20

It won't surprise anyone to hear me say that WW2 had a big effect on society. What I am thinking about is attitudes. One of the most common phrases that was heard in conversation was when someone was complaining they were told "Don't you know there's a war on!". Another common phrase voiced resignation, "Its the war you know....".
There was another characteristic that was developed to a fine art, workers had always had something to grumble about but this became the norm allied with a very black sense of humour. You have only to look at the newspaper cartoons of the period to see this. Even the worse event was greeted with a wry joke.
It all sounds trivial today but believe me it was a very effective strategy. We ridiculed the German leadership, remember the song 'Hitler has only got one ball....' (There is some evidence that this was indeed the case) and traitors like Lord Haw Haw were universally derided. (LINK) Nobody mourned him when he was hanged in 1946 for treason.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 26 Feb 2018, 10:34

Humour changes with the times and social mores. I've been looking at an article by a man who has a collection of postcards all based on `triplets' (as in three children). Several of the early cards show a cartoon image of mother sitting in bed with the three new-born triplets in a line by her side. Father is coming into the room with a bucket of water and saying "Which one do you want to keep?" Can you imagine someone publishing that as a jokey image now, and ordinary folk sending the card to their friends? Of course, these cards were published and used in the early part of the 1900s and there would still be that attitude that having triplets was a penalty for those who weren't wealthy - three more mouths to feed, all in one batch. Aren't we lucky now, by comparison. I suppose now the joke would be "Oh no, three more Iphones to buy instead of just one!" :smile:

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 27 Feb 2018, 04:32

"Humour changes with the times and social mores" You can say that again! It took a Jewish lady, my friend Ethel Sussman, to teach me that a common figure of speech from my youth, if you had been cheated you were said to have been 'Jewed', was entirely unacceptable. I have never used it since but in my defence I was reared with it. The Robinson Golliwog, Black Face Minstrels and the use of the word 'nigger' were common. all unthinkable now. Think Imperial attitudes to ethnic peoples all over the world, we had a by-word for all of them. I see the point in this now but every now and then I get confused, why should 'Paki' be more unacceptable than 'Paddy' or 'Jock'? (Or the reverse of course).
One of the drawbacks I see is that as this trend progresses and people become more and more sensitive 'correct speak' will tend to flatten language out and it will become less colourful. Think of any 'politically correct' statement today. Will describing your opponents as 'barking mad' or 'swivel eyed' be outlawed shortly? Time was when common language that is now seen as bad was simply language. Think of what are regarded now as nasty four letter swear words...., they were Anglo Saxon descriptions. It's all very strange and god alone knows where it will end. (That phrase in itself could become totally unacceptable....)
Tht's started my mind off on another track, think of all the Jewish jokes about God!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 27 Feb 2018, 11:29

Stanley wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 04:32
...I see the point in this now but every now and then I get confused, why should 'Paki' be more unacceptable than 'Paddy' or 'Jock'? (Or the reverse of course).
I think the reason is that the word Paki was quickly picked up by racists and primed with hatred so that the rest of us would be tarred with the same brush if we used the word. What bothers me most is that some people object to the use of words like Paki and nigger in the way that I'm using them now - to discuss, explain, clarify etc. It's not the word itself but how you use it that really matters.
Last edited by Tizer on 27 Feb 2018, 15:01, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Spelling corrected by Mrs Tiz!

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 28 Feb 2018, 04:25

That did occur to me as I was writing.... I think you are right Tiz, look what the BNP did to the Union Flag......
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 01 Mar 2018, 06:39

One thing that I seem to remember is that at least in the early days of the war, we could still get explosive caps in rolls for our toy revolvers. There were other uses for them. We could buy small lead 'bombs'. Pear shaped castings that could be split apart and a cap inserted. If you threw it up in the air it made a satisfying crack when it hit the ground!
One of the great mysteries of the playground was the deep undercurrent that carried the constantly cycling crazes that hit us. One day everyone was playing with skipping ropes and then suddenly it was whips and tops which appeared as if by magic. We preferred the rounded conical ones with a metal tip on the point. An essential piece of the equipment was some stubs of coloured chalk. With a bit of imagination you could make interesting patterns appear when the top was spinning. There were different patterns of tops and some preferred the peg tops. Do kids still do these things today? Or are the temptations of the omnipresent electronic devices turning them inwards......
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Julie in Norfolk » 01 Mar 2018, 08:02

My mother bought my daughter a wooden top, as you described Stanley. They duly made patterns on the top and then the fun started, we could put it down to a forgotten technique or the slowing up of fingers. Mother got more entertaining the more exasperated she got.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 02 Mar 2018, 05:00

I can believe that Julie! I suspect I would be in the same boat but in those days we were experts! Just think what it did for your coordination skills.
Our environment offered possibilities as well.... Exploring bomb sites was discouraged but of course we did it. The multi-storied mills with 6" diameter cast iron rain water pipes gave us the ideal opportunity for playing 'devil-up-the-spout'. All you needed was a newspaper and a box of matches. Screw up a big ball of newspaper and push it into the spout then light it. As soon as the flame got the air moving on the spout the ball was drawn in and as it shot up the spout there was a weird droning noise culminating in a burst of sparks and ash at the top. Very satisfying!
Find two large bolts and a nut that fitted them on the scrap heap of the local works, scrape the red heads off ordinary friction matches, safety matches didn't work, tighten the bolts as much as you could and throw the assembly at a wall until it struck squarely on the head and there was a satisfying crack!
Find some of the large aluminium valve caps behind the local garage. Roll up short lengths of nitrate film (Found behind the local cinema) and pack tightly in the valve cap. Apply a lighted match to the end and then roll down the slope under cinema seats. The film reacted by making large volumes of acrid smoke with inevitable consequences!
How did we dream up these techniques? And yes, I know we were delinquents! But we grew up with a good working knowledge of all sorts of physical properties and chemical reactions that served us well through life. I think the peak of my incendiary career was when one of my mates turned up one night with a glass jar full of balls of sodium metal immersed in oil. God knows where he got them! We tipped the lot down a grid in the middle of a school playground at Hazel Grove one night and retired to watch a very satisfactory light and smoke display!
If my memory serves me right, bike riding and sex reared their heads and we moved on to pastures new......
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 02 Mar 2018, 10:27

When GCHQ read your post they'll send round a hit squad to surround your house and then use a loudspeaker to tell you to come out with your hands on your head! :laugh5:

You and I were fortunate enough to be born with the sense to treat such things with great care. There were other kids, less lucky or just too careless who hurt themselves badly. Even my PhD supervisor had glass fragments in his face from childhood tinkering with things that go bang. He knew that he could easily have lost an eye.

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by PanBiker » 02 Mar 2018, 11:30

We buried our pyrotechnics, It's amazing how big a hole can be made with a Quink ink bottle with the right stuff in it, all available from the garden section of the ironmongers and mums cupboard when she wasn't looking. Extra smoke in various colours came from my mate Pete's chemistry set. :extrawink: :biggrin2:
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 03 Mar 2018, 03:40

And our comics helpfully gave us the recipes for various reactions. One of the most damaging explosions I ever saw was as a result of a spark in a flour mill. Cellulose is the main constituent of flour and gun-cotton as well. We had access to unlimited quantities of carbide, carbide cycle lamps were still being used and almost all cycle shops and chemists sold it. We used to tie a brick to a quart pop bottle, put some water in, drop a good knob of carbide in and screw the stopper down tight then lob into our favourite flooded quarry. After a suitable interval the bottle exploded, the water boiled and dead fishes floated to the surface. The mind boggles and I wouldn't dare do it today!
Of course, our daily lives were full of explosions in those days......
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 03 Mar 2018, 11:30

To be pedantic, starch, not cellulose, is the main constituent of wheat flour. But starch and cellulose are both polymers of glucose and we know how well sugar burns. Give it plenty of oxygen or other oxidising agent when finely divided and it will burn fast enough to be an explosion.

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 04 Mar 2018, 04:08

One of the last bastions of rope drives was in flour mills because they posed the least risk of initiating an explosion.
When I was doing my research into condenser spinning I learned that the breaker machines used for the initial opening of the raw cotton were called 'Devils'. This was because of their tendency to set on fire frequently. They consisted of a series of heavy wooden cylinders studded with steel spikes rotating at high speed. Any metal item in the waste created a spark. I saw two fires in there while I was visiting the mill. They were part of the normal working.....

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The 'Devil Oil' at Spring Vale Mill, Haslingden in 1979.
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