Urgent RAF expansion 1938 led to big order for HP Hampden bombers placed with EECo., at former Dick, Kerr works at Strand Road, Preston. Built 850, then 2,145 HP Halifaxes; tooled up for Folland F.19/43 but this was replaced by D.H. Vampire, nearly 1,200 delivered. Sir George Nelson and board decided to remain in aviation, collected design team under W.E.W. Petter in former bus garage in Barton St, Preston, and result was Canberra (13 May 1949), 1,352 built including 901 by EECo. P.1 supersonic aircraft (4 August 1954) led to Lightning interceptor (338). Vast new development/production centre grew at airfield at Warton, west of Preston, which together with guided-weapons division at Stevenage/Luton formed English Electric Aviation Ltd 9 January 1959. On 1 January 1960 this company became 40% of British Aircraft Corp., original name vanishing as BAC Preston Division 1 January 1964.

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