Joint Project Leader at Kingston Aviation & Member of The Hawker Association
David's father-in-law, the late Charles Plantin worked alongside Sir Sydney Camm when Hawker Aircraft occupied Claremont from 1940 to 1945. Charles was in charge of the Upper Stress office where the room 'Louise' is today. David shares photographs, memorabilia and anecdotes from Charles' time at Claremont and the variety of historic planes designed here:
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 was to have a dramatic effect on Claremont as a school. Following a number of visits from the War Office, the decision was made to move the 32 boarders and 2 day girls to Llandrindod Wells in Wales.
At the same time Hawker Aircraft, with Sir Sydney Camm at the helm as Chief Designer, were looking to relocate their Design and Technical offices from Kingston to reduce the risk of being bombed. The Claremont Estate was leased to Hawker Aircraft for six years between 1940 – 1946 and the mansion housed the main offices.
The windows were boarded up and camouflage was used to protect from bomb blasts and the Belvedere was used as a watch tower by the Home Guard. Claremont did in fact receive some bomb damage to the roof and the grounds, but considerably less than Kingston did during the War.