Frederick James Pennell (1903 – 1971)
Fred Pennell was born in Lambeth on 10th December 1903, and started work with the Company as an apprentice in 1918. His father had been killed during shelling in WWI, so as the only son Fred took on much of the responsibility for his widowed mother and younger sister.
In 1924 he left for a spell as a London Policeman, but returned after some 14 months with the Force.
After completing his training as a scalemaker, Fred spent his working life on scale production, and was for many years a foreman of the scale shop. It was Fred who in 1943, when Eddie Wheeler visited the Company to celebrate the award of his DFC, presented him with an inscribed barometer.
When the Company moved to Haverhill in 1968, Fred chose to remain in London, working in the new service depot at Edmonton.
Fred retired on 31st July 1970 after almost 52 years with the Company, and at a small luncheon on that day he was presented with a cheque from the Directors. The following week at a gathering in Edmonton of service mechanics, Bert Baines presented him with a gold watch from his colleagues, and Mrs. Walker gave him a bouquet of flowers for Mrs. Pennell.
Fred Pennell died in November 1971 after a short illness. The Lion News reported that he was ‘A man with great strength of character moulded by a lifetime of varied experiences, wonderfully helpful, loyal and hardworking with a strong sense of dignity and discipline. Direct and somewhat fierce on first meeting, he mellows with a charm and friendliness all of his own after a longer acquaintance. Normally very taciturn, he has however a fund of hair-raising stories to tell on the right occasion, ranging from a crash landing in one of the earliest gliders, to chasing the first so-called "Cat Burglar” across the roof-tops of London; and from racing horse drawn gun carriages cross country while in the Royal Field Artillery, to breaking weight lifting records and boxing with world title holders.’
Fred is pictured here (centre) with Wally Phillips (left) and Eric Sorrell (right) enjoying a break during the servicing of a weighbridge at Tyrers Chemical Works in Stratford in 1948.
The second picture shows Fred (left) with Mr. Crayford repairing a platform scale in Goswell Road in the 1930s.