Tuesday, 6 December 2011

H J Aldington

H.J was the man that took AFN and really put it on the map. He had taken the business over from Archie Fraser Nash and built it into the business it became, both pre and post war.
By all accounts from Nell Ledger, George Sneath and Harry Olrog, “The old man” as he was called by them, was a bit of a rascal and had sailed close to the wind on a number of occasions, but having been there myself, I can relate to him, even though he was of a totally different era.
I think John Aldington had worked things to remove his father, the other Aldington family members and other shareholders from real positions of power in the long-term interests of both AFN and Porsche. However, H.J. still used to come in to AFN on some days, although John Aldington had effectively ran the company for a number of years by that time, certainly by the time I worked there.
Usually Nell Ledger would tag around with H.J. but on one of these days, H.J. was wandering around the workshops on his own and he came into the engine shop calling out for George from the door. He approached firstly Frank and then myself each time realising that either of us was not George. He obviously could not see properly and it was a shame to see this man, who had made his personal mark on British motoring, who was a legend in his own lifetime, humbled in old age.
I remember Nell Ledger telling me a story of how the “Old man” had built and given his son John, a Fraser Nash one day, whilst John was at Dartmouth Naval College. I cannot recall all the details, but Nel told me he took the car down to collect John in it and John obviously loved this car. Nel had taken the car back to AFN sometime later and the next time he went down to collect John, Nel was in another Fraser Nash. John had asked Nel where “His car” was, but apparently the “Old man” had sold John’s personal car to a customer and had sent another one down to him. Nel told me that John was so angry that he would never forgive his father for that. However John told me many years later that he had and realised you take a profit if you can, knowing you can replace the car with another one.

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