March, 1953, Aircraft & Airport
March is expected to see the inception of operations in the new 54,000 sq. ft. plant of Rolls-Royce of Canada Limited, holder of a $33,000,000 contract from the Department of Defence Production for 900 Nene 10 turbojets. Rolls-Royce expects that deliveries of the engines should be completed early in 1955. For the most part, the engines will be assembled in Canada from parts supplied by the British parent company, but it is the intention to build a moderate number of engines of almost completely Canadian content.
Supplementing this initial order, Rolls-Royce of Canada has received a contract calling for the manufacture of Nene spare parts and for the overhaul of the engines. The company says that it plans to subcontract work in Canada as widely as is practical.
The introduction into TCA service of the Dart-powered Vickers Viscounts in 1954-55 will require the establishment of a technical service and the provision of spare parts for the engines. Similar service has been provided for the Merlin engines since 1947 and this will be continued.
When fully geared for its present program, the plant will employ between 300-400 men; the full build-up will take less than a year. The break-in will be a familiarisation process for craftsmen, rather than a training program. Apart from a handful of U.K. personnel brought over from the parent company to form a highly technical nucleus, personnel will be recruited for the most part from the Montreal area.
Rolls-Royce of Canada Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce Limited, Derby, England, manufacturers of aero engines since 1914. The Canadian company is the successor to Rolls-Royce Montreal Limited, incorporated in 1947 and until early 1952 operated at Montreal Airport as a service and parts stores organization for Rolls-Royce aero engines. Prior to the establishment of the Canadian branch, Rolls-Royce service representatives had been in this country since 1921.
Coincidental with the large Nene contract in late 1951, placed with the parent company, Rolls-Royce Limited decided to construct a manufacturing and assembly plant in Canada. In February, 1952, ground was broken for the purpose of building this factory on Cote de Liesse Road, near Montreal Airport. The factory is presently equipped for manufacture and assembly of jet engines, full overhaul and maintenance, testing and service, and manufacture of spare parts. In addition to the factory, a test bed building is being completed adjacent and connected to the factory, with the most modern devices for testing, including highly efficient silencers. Most of the plant will be ready for operation this month, while the first of the test cells will be ready in April. The cost is borne totally by Rolls-Royce.
In charge of operations at Rolls-Royce of Canada is Dr. Eric Warlow-Davis, general manager & chief engineer, who has been associated with Rolls-Royce since 1942, during which time he has held many important technical positions, including that of chief development engineer for the Derwent and Nene. Production manager is David Boyd, a well-known figure in Canada’s aviation scene. He has been associated with the aircraft industry since 1937, when he joined Canadian Car & Foundry’s Aircraft Division at Fort William as works manager.
This article originally appeared in the March, 1953 edition of Aircraft & Airport magazine.