This Leyland Motors retirement was a bit of a bombshell

James Sumner retiring from Leyland Motors in 1966 after 51 years service
James Sumner retiring from Leyland Motors in 1966 after 51 years service
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Leyland Motors was a special place for David Sumner.

It was where he began his career, but it was also somewhere he worked with his dad for some time.

The 73-year-old, who now lives in Australia, shared this photograph of his dad, James, retiring from Leyland Motors in 1966 after 51 years of 

Joe Naylor, who was the night shift superintendent, presented James with a gift.

David says: “He was foreman on nights in the Farington tool room and had worked there for a long time.

“I am not sure how many years but I know he was there during the war.

“I know he was well liked and was known as Jim, but he was no known relation to the James Sumner, one of the founders of Leyland Motors.

“He started there in 1915, working in the research department in south works and worked on the straight eight racing car and knew Parry Thomas who was killed racing it on (I think) Pendine sands.

“I served my apprenticeship at Leyland Motors starting in 1959 and left in 1968 going to work as a draughtsman at Baxi Heating in 
Bamber Bridge.

“When I started at Leyland Motors there were 150 apprentices taken on in the same batch as me. How things have changed.

“There were a lot of skilled guys working in the tool room and the machine repair which was next door.

“Next to the tool room clocking on station was the casing of the large bomb that was dropped onto the tool room but didn’t explode.

After the war, the aerial photo the German pilot used were found. The pilot used to work at Leyland Motors before the war and knew where the bomb would do most damage.

“Strangely after working for a few other companies I returned to the Farington works in 1995 managing the construction of a new foundry in the old and empty BX building. Now of course, it is all gone.”