Holmsley South: post WW2 industrial use

Holmsley Tank engines 8

After Holmsley South closed many of the building survived for some time. One project that used some of these buildings was run by A C Delco and General Motors. They were adapting Bedford built engines for Churchill tanks (built by Vauxhall) to power irrigation pumps in Eygpt.

Recently a collection of photographs has come to light. The photos belong to the Robins family who have permitted the Friends of the New Forest Airfields to upload them. The photos show details of Holmsley South structures in the early 1950s and photos of these are very rare. The photos were taken by Vincent Robins and remain the copyright of the Robins family.

“The photos show a Churchill tank engine in various stages of strip down and rebuild and also some exterior pictures showing the site. My father, Vincent Robins is on the left of the photo of two men standing together, the other is Jerry Page. The tall girl on the right of the photo standing with Jerry is Pam Gregory; behind are Churchill tank engines in an un-refurbished state. The girl standing next to Pam, who is sat on the car running board I am not sure of but I think she worked with Pam in the office there.

The photos, we think, are from 1952. Churchill tank engines were being refurbished by my father and others at the site and sold to the Egyptian government for use as pumping engines in an irrigation scheme? Clearly the photos were taken at lunchtime as a game of football is taking place in the background and it must have been fairly cold that day as both girls are wearing their coats!! A small selection of cars and buses are in the distance, I believe workers were bussed into the site from Southampton.”

– from Nigel Robins.

You can find out more about Holmsley South Airfield by visiting our overview article: Holmsley South Overview


Date: 1947

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