BBC Program

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Alf

Established Member
Joined
22 Oct 2003
Messages
12,079
Reaction score
2
Location
Up the proverbial creek
BBC visits Ardmore for oil industry documentary

By Steve Biehn
Staff Writer
Web posted January 9, 2007
Forty-four Oklahoma oil workers are so historically significant that a BBC television crew is in America this week producing a program about their role in the British oil field during World War II. The American "oil patch warriors" helped England increase its petroleum output tenfold, which was crucial to that country's survival.

"It was called 'Churchill's Biggest Secret,'" said BBC producer Tracy Williams. "It was an incredible secret -- a secret that has survived even today."

In 1942, the United Kingdom imported the vast majority of its oil, and German U-boats were sinking Allied oil freighters with alarming regularity. Although a small oil field had been discovered earlier in England's famous Sherwood Forest, British petroleum technology lagged far behind that of the Americans.

"We couldn't produce it fast enough to get it out for the war effort," reporter Marie Ashby said.

With oil reserves shrinking to dangerous levels, British Petroleum representative Sir Phillip Southwell traveled to Ardmore to ask well-known oilman Lloyd Noble for help. Noble agreed, and his company, Noble Drilling, was designated as project manager. Noble and his partner in the project, Fain-Porter Drilling, accepted Southwell's offer on the condition they receive no payment from the British government.

Under cover of the dense forest and utilizing advanced drilling techniques and sheer willpower, the American oilmen drilled 94 producing wells for their English allies. The roughnecks worked 12-hour shifts seven days a week and lived under difficult conditions in a monastery on the edge of the forest. The project continued undetected for 12 months, and production levels in the Sherwood Forest oil field rose from 300 to 3,000 barrels of oil a day.

"It was hard work, but we were getting $29 a day and doing something for our country at the same time," Chris Watson recalled during a 2001 interview.

Scottish historian Hugo Manson credits the Americans with playing a pivotal role in the British war effort.

A 7-foot bronze statue was erected in 1991 in the Dukes Wood area of Sherwood Forest to pay tribute to the American oil field workers. A duplicate Oil Patch Warrior statue stands in Memorial Square in downtown Ardmore.

"It seems to be more well known here," Williams said Monday while working at the Noble Foundation. "It's a fabulous story."

Williams, Ashby and camerman Chris Sharman are scheduled to be in New Orleans today interviewing Lewis Dugger, who may be the last surviving member of the 1943 group. Dugger participated in a Profiles and Perspectives program at the Goddard Center in 2001.

Williams said the oil patch warrior segment will air on "Inside Out," a BBC current affairs program in about a month.
Hope they don't mind me registering as D Duck... 8-[ :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Travis Byrne

Established Member
Joined
4 May 2004
Messages
253
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma, USA
Thanks Alf
I guess that my computer had a cookie that me let in.

I guess that I just wanted to show that all American were not always in it for the money as apposed to nowadays. Yet, one cannot paint everyone with the same brush.

Just a little bit for the history buffs.

Travis
 

Losos

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2004
Messages
1,469
Reaction score
0
Location
West Suffolk
Thanks Travis & Alf
I find that really interesting. I've often wodered how it is that a handful of events has had such an impact on events.

Another one is that, alegedly, the one & only machine for 'stamping' Spitfire engine crankshafts lived in a Sheffield factory, and the night the Luftwaffe targeted that area of the town it was covered in heavy fog and they couldn't see the factory, thus missing the target, and never went back, enabling the Spitfire engine production to continue.

Don't know if that's true but the American Oil workers in Sherwood forrest undoubtedly is, and once again shows that while we may occassionaly joke about our American cousins we do certainly owe them, and I'm happy to acknowledge that fact.
 

Johnboy

Established Member
Joined
22 Mar 2004
Messages
600
Reaction score
0
Location
Rochford, Essex
Cynic hat on. The exchange rate in 1942 was $1 dollar equals 25p so they were earning £7.25 a day or £36.25 for a 5 day week. My Dad earnt about £10 a week in the late 50's and bought up a family of 4 kids on that. Sounds like a lot of money to me. How much were the soldiers crawling up the beaches under German fire earning? Cynic hat off.

Didn't know anything about this though, very interesting.

John
 
Top