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Army service in Egypt and Palestine


Aborting the flight to Egypt
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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And shortly after, we were drafted off to Egypt. We got there, not without some difficulty because first of all we flew from... and it was a wonderful experience. I'd never flown before and the planes flew close to the ground. I mean they were only two or three thousand feet up you see, and so you could see the ground quite clearly and really quite a fascinating experience. And when we got on the way to Egypt, over Toulouse, we lost one of our engines. So we have to come down and fix the engine and the plane was a Liberator Bomber. We all sat in the bomb bay, there's so little room, our knees were intertwined like fish's herringbones in this plane. And all the usual jokes were made about hope the pilot doesn't pull the wrong lever, you know, and we all come plummeting down.

George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19 August 1926 - 21 October 2011) was an English watchmaker most famous for creating the co-axial escapement. Daniels was one of the few modern watchmakers who could create a complete watch by hand, including the case and dial. He was a former Master of the Clockmakers' Company of London and had been awarded their Gold Medal, a rare honour, as well as the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute, the Gold Medal of the City of London and the Kullberg Medal of the Stockholm Watchmakers’ Guild.

Listeners: Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in 1970 in Bolton, Lancashire. He began training as a watchmaker at the age of 16 at the Manchester School of Horology and in 1989 won the British Horological Institute Bronze Medal. His first hand made watch, made between 1991 and 1998, was inspired by George Daniels' book "Watchmaking" and was created while Smith was working as a self-employed watch repairer and maker. His second was made after he had shown Dr Daniels the first, and in 1998 Daniels invited him to work with him on the creation of the 'Millennium Watches', a series of hand made wrist watches using the Daniels co-axial escapement produced by Omega. Roger Smith now lives and works on the Isle of Man, and is considered the finest watchmaker of his generation.

Tags: British Army, Egypt, Toulouse, Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Duration: 1 minute

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008