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In 1938 I was 12 years old.  That was the year that the city of Glasgow hosted the British Empire Exhibition at the Bellahouston Park. Countries from all over the world were asked to come and display their wares and the things that the countries were most proud of and known for.  Come they did from far and wide.


In due course it was announced in the East Coast of Fife that a special train would be made available for school children to make an early in the morning till late in the evening, all day visit to see the fair.  The upcoming trip created a whole new level of excitement in our lives.   


Finally the day came and with brown bag lunches in hand we all got on the train which took us right into the park.  Oh what a sight met our eyes.  The place was a wonderland and a beehive of activity.  My first amazement was to see people of features and colour unlike anything I had ever seen.  I knew that such people existed but to actually see Aboriginees, Maories, peoples from the Philippines, India, Africa and many other countries was a mind expanding experience to say the least.


Along with these peoples came their animals; lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, reptiles, koala bears and many more.  To a young boy from the remote village of Earlsferry all of these new sights and sounds created great excitement.


All day long we went from pavilion to pavilion and ooh-ed and aah-ed at all the amazing and different things that were on display.


As our day of wide eyed wonderment was coming to a close, one last exhibit stopped me dead in my tracks.


On a pedestal stand was mounted a cut-away Rolls-Royce, V-12 Merlin aircraft engine.  Attached to it was an electric motor that slowly turned the engine over to show all of the inner working mechanisms of the engine.  Gears meshed, the crankshaft rotated, connecting rods and pistons went up and down, intake and exhaust valves opened and closed, all in perfect timing. To me it was a mechanical marvel.


I'm pretty sure that moment in time decided my future.  I was completely enthralled.


I forgot all about elephants and tigers.  My world would be the world of machines and mechanical things.


As events transpired when the future and the  very existence of Britain hung in the balance it was the power and reliability of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that enabled the brave young men, who piloted Spitfires and Hurricanes to win the Battle of Britain. It was the inspired and dedicated people at Rolls-Royce that enabled Winston Churchill to pen his words of national gratitude.


"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few"



Over Sir Henry Royce's mantelpiece at Elmstead which was his home

in West Wittering is his Latin inscription----






Learn about the life and accomplishments of Sir Henry Royce.


Boeing's latest 787 Dreamliners will have either Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or GE Aviation  jet engines.