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100 years of Westland in Yeovil created as living history website

Photo: Steve Haigh and Dave Gibbings who jointly developed the Westland100 website


The story of Westland is being told through a series of recorded oral histories with people who worked at the Yeovil factory on a new website launched today.

The website – – features the voices of more than 30 former Westland employees and is the result of an 18-month project to build a spoken archive of aircraft manufacturing in Yeovil 1915 to 2015. A film about the world helicopter speed record set by a Westland built Lynx (G-LYNX) in August 1986 called Westland ONE can also be watched on the site.

The project – Yeovil’s Magnificent Flying Machines – provided media students at Yeovil College with training in editing and storytelling, and members of the Westland Retirement Association transcribed the oral histories. One highlight of the new site are the oral histories recorded with 103-yr old Mini Ostler of Higher Odcombe and 96-yr old Norman Pilton of Montacute who talk about working at Westland during World War Two building Spitfires.

Project manager Steve Haigh said: “The creation of this living history is an important contribution to the social fabric of Yeovil. The intention is for the site to grow with people uploading their own memories and photographs. Without this initiative, it’s unlikely any of this remarkable material would have been preserved.”

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