Model hobby takes off
PUBLISHED: 10:58 31 December 2010
MATCHSTICKS and plastic may not be the same as wielded iron and steel, but one aircraft enthusiast from Locking is still managing to relive his career as a RAF serviceman.
Robert Dockrell helped build and modify some of Britain’s most famous post-war planes including the Mosquito, Canberra and Gloster Javelin during his 24-year career in the RAF.
And now, at the age of 83, despite stress problems with his hands, Mr Dockrell is putting together his own collection of the aircraft – using model kit sets.
The Grenville Avenue resident has made about 80 models of planes, all associated with Weston’s RAF Locking.
He said: “Every plane I make is like a study, I not only love putting them together but also enjoy researching each model and making my own modification where necessary.
“It started as a few, but now I’ve got plenty and they are beginning to fill up shelves rapidly in my house study.
“It’s the satisfaction I get too from the building which makes it so great, it’s like going back in time to when I worked on the planes.”
“I hope one day I can donate the collection to Weston Museum for a display.”
Mr Dockrell began work at RAF Locking in 1949, fixing furniture in barracks before moving to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire to work on Hunter and Camberra planes.
He returned to RAF Locking to help put together and test Gloster Javelins, then worked for Bristol Aeroplane Company in Filton and Westlands in Weston. Finishing work on aircraft in 1973, he became a civil engineer and helped build Portbury Dock before overseeing building contracts for Greater London Council until he retired in 1990.
As a pensioner, Mr Dockrell built a microlight with his son, before turning his attention to model planes.