Several years ago I was travelling with Eric Adlington, one-time director of Temple Press Ltd, when he began telling me of his early career as advertising manager of The Aeroplane.
On one occasion he was on his way with C G Grey to visit an aircraft manufacturer to negotiate some advertising. They were travelling in CG’s new car – I believe it was an Armstrong-Siddeley. CG was proudly showing off his new car’s performance and demonstrating at high speed how you could move the pre-selector lever back and forth at any speed. Suddenly there was a loud bang and the gearbox disintegrated. Not at all put out, CG said the manufacturers would soon put it right. He sent off a letter to the makers describing what had happened, adding that he was quite prepared to let them inspect the car to find the cause, and repair it, of course, at no cost to him. He added that the car could be found at the Temple Press offices, knowing that they would be most anxious to find the cause of the problem.
In due course a reply came back, saying “thank you for your kind offer to lend us your car to solve the problem with your gearbox. I am sorry to say we must decline your offer because of pressure of work and suggest you take your car to your usual garage where we are confident they will deal with the matter to your satisfaction”.
I started work with Temple in 1944 and recall C G Grey visiting the office. A model aristocrat, complete with cigarette holder, monocle, cane and cut-glass accent. I understand that he lost the Editorship of The Aeroplane due to his German sympathies. I still have two of his books, but feel he was never the greatest writer, lacking technical details when describing new aircraft.
Maurice Rowe, Bredon, Glos.