Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Arthur Gregory George Marshall

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Arthur Gregory George (1903–2007), aviator, pilot instructor, and industrialist

1903 Born in Chesterton, Cambridge, on 4 December, son of David Gregory Marshall, college servant, and Maude Edmunds, née Wing.

Educated at the Perse School, Cambridge, Tonbridge School

1919 Took his first flight with his father in a Fairey seaplane at Brighton

Studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he obtained a first-class degree in engineering.

1922 Took his first commercial flight to Paris in a Handley Page airliner

1924 Reserve member of the British team for the 1924 Olympic games.

1926 Joined his father's garage business, Marshall's Garage.

1928 Obtained his private pilot's licence

1929 With his father established the first civilian aerodrome within the city boundaries of Cambridge in a field behind the family home. There they founded the Marshall Flying School with a de Havilland Gipsy Moth biplane and Arthur Marshall as chief instructor.

Separate Marshall companies were incorporated to run the garage and flying school activities.

1930 Qualified for his commercial pilot's licence.

1931 he married Rosemary Wynford Dimsdale. They had three children, Michael, David, and Judy.

1936 the Marshall family bought land that later became the Marshall aerodrome, and then Cambridge airport. The fully engineered runway, the hangars, and other facilities were also company-funded.

1938 the Air Ministry established No. 22 Elementary and Reserve Flying School at Cambridge under the management of Marshall's Flying School.

1939 Marshall and his father founded the Cambridge squadron of the Air Defence Cadet Corps.

WWII Marshall was a test pilot for his company's work, which included the repair or modification of more than 5000 military aircraft.

1941 Despite initial resistance, Marshall persuaded the RAF to accept his training method, which subsequently became the basis of RAF training.

1942 He was appointed chairman of the Marshall companies after the death of his father.

Post-WWII The garage business expanded beyond Cambridge into a regional business with twenty depots throughout the south-east of England, selling cars and commercial vehicles. Branched out into building vehicle bodies (including those for buses) and by offering maintenance services for commercial aircraft, increasing with maintenance needs of RAF aircraft during the Berlin airlift. The company became a centre of excellence for the repair and modification of aircraft for the RAF and for major airlines.

1948 Conferred OBE

1950s Provided facilities at Marshall Special Vehicles for Francis Thomas Bacon to develop his fuel cell , subsequently used on Apollo spacecraft.

Marshall secured the contract to build the droop nose for Concorde within hours of an invitation to join the project; he also secured for his company design authority for the task, the sole delegation of authority for structural design granted to a United Kingdom contractor for Concorde.

1965 Persuaded the Ministry of Defence that his company could provide the technical support that would be required for the new Lockheed Hercules being ordered for the RAF. Provided much other support to RAF aircraft.

1974 Knighted

1989 Retired as chairman of the Marshall Group but continued to take a keen interest in the company; succeeded by his son Michael.

2007 Died in Cambridge.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of Sir Arthur Marshall, ODNB