Motion to celebrate Leeds factory’s war efforts

BYGONE DAYS: Nancy Blezard working at Avro Yeadon Airport in 1943.
BYGONE DAYS: Nancy Blezard working at Avro Yeadon Airport in 1943.
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A Leeds aircraft factory where the famous Lancaster bomber planes were produced during the Second World War has been commended in Parliament.

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has tabled a Parliamentary Motion commemorating the historic role of the Avro factory, in Yeadon, during the conflict.

The motion recognises the critical role the factory provided during the raid by Lancaster bombers on the 70th anniversary of the Operation Chastise attack on German dams.

The Royal Air Force No 617 Squadron, subsequently became known as the Dambusters, following the operation during the Second World War.

The factory, which was built in 1939 alongside what is now the Leeds-Bradford Airport, was the largest single building in Europe at the time, covering an area totalling a million and a half square feet.

Called a ‘shadow factory,’ the Avro unit significantly contributed to the aircraft production necessary for the war effort.

The roof of the factory was camouflaged with fields, hedgerows, dummy buildings and even a duck pond to foil airstrikes.

Greg’s motion praises the “significant contributions to the war effort by the thousands of individuals employed at the factory”.

It also recognises the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters strike which was carried out on May 16 and 17 in 1943 in Germany. The attack used the specially developed “bouncing bomb” invented by Barnes Wallis and saw the Mohne and Edersee Dams breached.

During the height of its operation around 17,500 people worked at the site before the factory closed in 1946 following the end of the war.

The Leeds North West MP said: “I was happy to table this Parliamentary Motion to commemorate the incredible contributions of the Avro aircraft factory and its legion of employees to the war efforts during the Second World War. Great Britain’s contributions to the war effort were invaluable, and I feel fortunate that a site as historic as the Avro factory is located in my constituency.

“Though decades have elapsed since its operation, it’s important that we remember, perhaps when driving along A658 past the industrial estate, the historic nature of the factory and its employees.”