Roy Chadwick was born on 30th April 1893 in Farnsworth near Widnes, the son of a mechanical engineer. He began work with British Westinghouse in 1907 to train as a draughtsman.
On completion of his apprenticeship in 1911, following a boyhood fascination with flight, he joined AVRO, the recently established aircraft manufacturer, as the personal assistant to the owner Alliot Verdon-Roe. From this position he progressively became involved in the design of AVRO's aircraft playing a leading role in many WWI planes and being appointed Chief Designer in 1918 at the age of 25.
Roy Chadwick's illustrious career was cut short however when, due to a servicing error, the AVRO Tudor plane in which he was flying crashed soon after take-off.
Roy Chadwick is most remembered for his role in creating the aircraft that played a dominant role in the World War II. His design for the Anson light bomber (of which 11,000 were built) was followed by the Lancaster bomber. Of this latter aircraft and the team who designed it Sir Arthur Harris, then chief of Bomber Command, would later write
"...without your genius and efforts we could not have prevailed for I believe the Lancaster was the greatest single factor in winning the war".
Chadwick was awarded the CBE for his contribution to the design of the Lancaster and in particular for the adaptations he made to it in preparation for the low-level attacks on the German dams, recounted in The Dambusters.
After the war he continued to produce major design innovations including the first pressurised passenger aircraft and preliminary designs for the Vulcan bomber.
The image on the right shows an Avro Vulcan XH558.
Chadwick at Manchester
In 1907 he enrolled at night-school at the Manchester Municipal College of Technology (a forerunner of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology UMIST, currently University of Manchester), a part-time programme of technical education he was to follow for the next seven years.