Gerry Carroll’s interest in aviation started as a boy. His wartime years were spent watching Squadrons of Lancasters and Halifaxes flying out of Middleton St George and Croft airfields on their wartime missions. By the time he left school Gerry’s family had moved to Wolverhampton where he began five year engineering apprenticeship with Guy Motors. On completion he transferred his newly acquired skills into mining engineering, installing and maintaining the hauling mechanism to bring men and coal to and from the working face.
An opportunity to enter sales provided a new direction. As with many, Gerry learned his trade with Peal Insurance (as it then was), before transferring to join the Rootes Group, whose Hillman, Humber and Sunbeam cars represented a significant part of the Coventry motor trade. Based at Castle Bromwich and later with major Birmingham motor dealerships Gerry took on the task of competing with the locally produced Austin vehicles.
Gerry’s selling skills were further honed by a period with Hoover, whose sales training methods were held as second to none. Their products introduced Gerry to the domestic sector. Combined with his engineering background this led to his final move into the hygiene and safety sector, initially as a medical sales representative progressing to advising food manufacturers, the brewing and leisure industries and livestock breeding establishments on production and storage hygiene.
Retiring at 58, Gerry found more time to devote to his interest in aviation. Invited to serve on the Committee of the Barnes Wallis Memorial Trust in 2000 Gerry saw this as the ideal opportunity to combine his joint interests of engineering and aviation. Gerry soon became one of the Trust’s leading protagonists and served as its Chairman for two terms. Under his guidance the Trust established a strong presence, and built a loyal following in the Humberside area which had been home to Wallis and his young family in the 1920s while he was working on the R-100. It is from this sound base that the Foundation now seeks to expand its activities.