Author: Mac Benoy  May 2012
Wards of Dublin 
Bill’s Life CAREER
Attending my Father's funeral in Dublin in April 1946 my brother, Frank, said, as we passed an Aer Lingus Office in O'Connell St. 'Why not drop in and see if they have any vacancies'. After two interviews involving two trips from Leeds and, meanwhile obtaining an offer from an Engineering Company in Leicester, I was offered mechanic grade in Aer Lingus at five pounds and ten shillings per week. It was a major decision for Marcella to emigrate to Ireland: we lived temporarily as paying guests in Aughrim Street where Uncle Fred and Aunt Agnes accommodated us for a few months whilst I was searching for a rented house, eventually obtaining a shared house in 'Island View', Malahide, where we lived spartan-like but happily until we bought a newly built house at 20 Celtic Park Avenue. My career in Aer Lingus, lasting 39 years on my retirement aged 65 on March 31 1985, was completely absorbing. I was promoted to leading Mechanic in a few weeks (but not paid that grade for a few weeks) and so on to Foreman, Superintendent, Senior Maintenance Engineer, and ultimately Head (otherwise Assistant Manager). There were the inevitable social difficulties with my accent, being ex RAF and not ex Air Corps, and these followed, hidden in various degrees, with a certain Senior Manager in my not obtaining full Managership, but I never let this upset me and philosophised that this sort of thing happens most anywhere: I felt confident: I knew my job technically: was well able to handle men including difficult ones (maybe I was difficult too) and was very keen to advance development at work and protection of a growing family. So I enjoyed my work as I concentrated on aircraft repair and engine overhaul. I was a licensed Engineer for which it was necessary to do home study and formally sit examinations for each type at the Dept. of Aviation in Kildare Street. My main accomplishment was in establishing Government, USA, UK, and French Aviation Authority approval for our workshops to cover Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney turbine engines and associated components, leading to setting up Airmotive Ireland established on the Naas Road, including the engine test cell. In conjunction with these activities there was the drive for marketing, and around 1975 we embarked, a team of five, in probing USA, Canada, UK, the Continent, Middle East and Africa. It was wonderful in all this to have the utterly dedicated co-operation of Marcella who had a full family to run with household work and bear my many absences overseas such that I felt not overburdened. As well as this I had a great team of supervisors and engineers to help me and a dedicated, efficient and loyal secretary, Breeda McCormack, and, at the time a great understanding boss. Our sales pitch was (a) providing expertise in developing Airlines from emerging African States, (b) Securing overhaul and repair contracts for aircraft and components, (c) Engine overhaul, and (d) Training their personnel in Dublin. Over the last ten years before my retirement our customer business increased greatly but in the process our production difficulties became major mostly due to high overtime earnings by mechanics and immediate supervisors such that their earnings were in some cases higher than management, including me. Shop Stewards became more powerful, excessive sick leave, late arrival for work, unscheduled leave taking, plant unserviceability, spares not in stock, etc. I felt really both pressurised and disillusioned - retirement came in time but alas not for the Company whose fortunes plummeted and at the time of this writing they are in severe maintenance trouble even after letting nearly a thousand workers go and injecting millions of pounds.