Retired army officer finally tracks down rare find after searching for a lifetime
- Credit: Archant
It is a lifelong search which has got a man and his family from mid-Norfolk into a spin.
And now, a retired army officer and cattle breeder from the Dereham area has finally tracked down a rare First World War propeller built by the company that his father and grandfather were part of.
Mike Hodges, 77, worked as a director for more than 40 years at the Norwich-based furniture company Trevor Page and Co until it folded in 2017.
The company, founded by Henry Trevor and John Page, was called on to manufacture propellers for the war effort between 1914 and 1918.
Now, after years of searching, the former Colonel Hodges managed to stumble across the very item that his father, Budge Hodges, had spent most of his working career trying to find.
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Mr Hodges made the discovery online after his son bought him a tablet.
'I began researching Trevor Page furniture,' he said. 'It is now classed as antique and when I searched for items online, this propeller appeared. I could not believe my eyes.
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'I sent my son Charlie to view it for me and we ended up buying it and bringing it home.'
The 'high value item' is in immaculate condition although its hub has now been fitted with an mechanical Smiths bulkhead ships clock.
A 1917 wooden aircraft propeller would have been made for a First World War Royal Flying Corps Scout Experimental 5 – the fastest British biplane fighter aircraft of the Great War, and also one of the most agile. Mr Hodges purchase it from Carlton Clocks Ltd, after discovering it on the LAPADA website – the association of art and antiques dealers.
He added: 'My father was also a director at Trevor Page and began working there both before the war and after
'During the Second World War the bombings in Norwich meant all of the company's factories and shops were gone. I remember it as a bomb site from when I was a child. Only a few items were left.
'My father always wanted the propeller. He had a photo of the factory works with one of the propellers they'd made hung up in the factory. Now I have one, I'm very interested in it and I will be doing research on it.'
The propeller is a wooden sculpture, made of mahogany, and has makers decals to each blade, and a barely discernible crow's foot mark indicating its history in the British military forces.