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Lance Hopper

Lance was born in Bristol at the beginning of World War II, 1939. At the start of the war his family moved up to the North East and he lived with his grandparents at East Howdon.

Lance left school at the age of fifteen in 1954 and then started as an apprentice at the Wallsend slipway. During his first year he worked as an office boy, and then served a five-year apprenticeship. After his apprenticeship he worked for two years at Swan and then left to work at George Angus where he was there for twelve years. He returned to Swan’s as an inspector and eventually became a Senior Commissioning Manager.

Lance was interviewed by Laura Brown on 12 February 2007. The interview took place at Discovery Museum, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and lasted for 30 minutes.

Lance Hopper's Memories

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I left school at 15 – that would be 1954 and then started as an apprentice at the Wallsend slipway.

So this is how you came to be involved with Swan Hunter?

Yeah that’s correct. Well the first year was just an office boy, then I had a five year apprenticeship – done all the various parts, building these Diesel engines and turbines, bench fitting – all that kind of work. And then, of course when you were 21 you were more or less expected to go to sea, because if you didn’t you get called up for your national service! So I was a sea going engineer with the Esso petroleum.