Aircraft built in city furniture factory

I recently mentioned a factory at the end of Morgan Road, Milton, Portsmouth, where fuselages for Mosquitos were made during the war.

The Rev Philip Mason, of Ditcham Park, near Petersfield, tells me he started his apprenticeship with White & Newton’s furniture factory in January 1946 after leaving St Luke’s School, Southsea, in December 1945.

The firm had been established in 1922 and Mr Rook, the managing director, gave a £5 note to all men who joined the colours in 1939.

It was at this time the factory was converted to produce aircraft parts. Some were stored in a large garage in Grove Road North, Southsea.

Philip lived in Smith’s View a few yards from the garage and on August 24, 1940, Grove Road North was bombed and even then, he wondered if the garage was being targeted.

In 1947, Philip attended a 25th anniversary dinner held at the factory. The menu was stencilled on thin plywood which had been used for the fuselages of the Mosquito aircraft.

The name of White & Newton was held in high esteem in the furniture business, but the factory closed in 1980 with the loss of many jobs. Houses were later built on the site.