ROLLS-Royce at Barnoldswick is facing an uncertain future, as the aviation industry worldwide struggles to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of jobs are at risk as the company plans to reduce activities at its Bankfield site from autumn 2023 and combine its Ghyll Brow site on the border of North Yorkshire, into Bankfield.

But, almost exactly 75 years ago, in November, 1945, with people still celebrating Victory in Japan (VJ) Day, it was a very different story - there was a sense of great pride in Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick, after an aeroplane powered by jet engines built in the town set up a new world speed record.

The Gloster Meteor was powered by twin jet propulsion gas turbines designed, tested and built at Bankfield Shed - a former cotton mill taken over by the company.

The Meteor set up a new world speed record of 606.25 mph at Herne Bay, Kent on November 7,1945. The plane was piloted by Group Captain H J Wilson and over the same course an identical Meteor flown by Eric Greenwood averaged 603mph.

The Craven Herald reported at the time that both airmen easily beat the previous record of 462.22 mph set up by a German ME109 six years previously. During the flight a velocity of 611 mph was reached, but only the average for four runs which both pilots made received official recognition, reported the paper.

The Herald sent a reporter along and recorded that news that the record had been broken caused jubilation in Barnoldswick, especially at Bankfield Shed, but that work had gone on as usual.

The works manager, a Mr I W Buckler said Rolls-Royce had gained quite a number of speed records in the past and they did not look upon this new one as anything special. Production of the Derwent jet units had been part of their normal work, and he did not think there would be any specific celebrations at Bankfield Shed.

"We have factories in different parts of the country and we don't discriminate between one and the other," he told the reporter.