274 Les Hilling Interviewer: Alan Lawson, Syd Wilson Synopsis
Born 1914, Castelnau, Barnes
Brackenbury Road School, Hammersmith. Left at 14 years.
Started work at gents’ outfitters Charles Barker & Co, Hammersmith - left at 17 years. £1 per week plus commission. 1932, started same type of job at Clapham Junction, stayed 2 years.
12 relations working in studios – mainly Gaumont British – including father. First visit to studios age 12 – this was Lime Grove when it was all glass.
Started at Gaumont British at 19 – rate 1/- per hour. Worked for cousin Lofty Hilling.
Age 21 started as stage hand. ¼ ¾ S/D. Met Jessie Matthews, Paul Robeson, Margaret Lockwood, George Arliss.
Engaged to be married in late 1930s, married September 1939 – called up just after and in Army until 1946. During the war London Transport made money up for his wife. Joined King’s Shropshire Light Infantry – Church Stretton, Shropshire, for basic training. 1942, regiment changed to Royal Artillery. 17-pound anti-tank guns. 1943-1944 to Leicestershire Regiment at Warwick.
Sent on small arms course, became full-time small arms instructor. Sick with swollen foot – large bunion, given special shoes. Became fire point instructor, 1944-1945 – still at Warwick. Also had gingivitis.
Demobbed 1946 - returned to London Transport, driving bus. Job lasted 6 months. Had all teeth extracted.
Started at Southall Studios as camera grip. Ernie Steward was camera operator.
Next at Twickenham, then Riverside Studios, then Pinewood as chargehand , props. Left home 6:20am, usually home 9pm or 10pm.
Joined Technicolor – phoned June Axton, personnel department 1952 – uncle in Camera Department. Offered job in Solutions Department. Approached Roy Mitchell for job in Printing Department. Interviewed and given job in Matrix Printing Department.
Started to buy house in 1955, aged 40. At Technicolor 27 years – received gold watch. Took early retirement December 1977.