Former Leamington factory rugby team player is putting together a digital history of the club - and is appealing for former players to share their memories with him

Mike Wilson was the captain for AP (formerly Lockheed) RFC in the 1960s.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 12:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 4:04 pm
Team sheet for The Lockheed RFC team in 1963.

A former Leamington factory worker is putting together a digital history of the company's rugby club for which he was captain for the first team in the 1960s.

Mike Wilson came to Leamington in 1960 to start a general apprenticeship with Lockheed Hydraulic Brake Co Ltd residing at the apprentices' hostel in Lillington Road with 15 other young men.

Within a week he had been drafted in to play for the second string of the company's rugby team.

Lockheed RFC team photo from 1959.

Despite never having really excelled at the sport during his school days, Mike soon impressed enough to be picked to play for the club's first team as a scrum half and by 1963 he was made captain - a position he held for four years.

Mike said: "The club must have been desperate as several older players retired and some went to Leamington RFC to play at a higher level.

"Throughout my time with the club the only position I did not hold was treasurer.

I did have a brief spell at Leamington when they moved from Fords Fields to Moorefields but eventually went back to Lockheed.

Lockheed RFC team photo from 1957 to 1958.

I think the company amalgamated all the divisions in the 70s to Automotive Products plc so we should have changed our name but we decided to call the club AP(Lockheed) and no objections were raised by the thriving sports and social club.

"We were allowed to take over the old rifle range hut as our drinking and socialising den with a cable slung over the wall from the works to give us electricity.

"Eventually we took over the groundsman’s hut in the pavilion and turned that into our headquarters.

"Health and safety would have had a field day with the antics that went on.

Lockheed RFC team photo from 1952.

"In 1988, the ground was sold and we moved lock stock and barrel to Old Warwickians where I was able to play one game at scrum half to my son David’s fly half but mainly played in the seconds until I gave playing up in 1993 but still stayed on helping to run the club until about 1999.

"I completed 39 happy and eventful years at AP until I was able to retire early in 1999."

Mike has been compiling the digital history throughout lockdown by mainly using his friends Tot and Sheila Daniell’s scrapbooks which include articles and photos from the club from 1978 to 1988, paper reports and team sheets with scorers.

He has also been using copies of Precision, the AP house magazine , British newspaper archives and his own memorabilia.

If you can provide Mike with more information about the teams over the year call 07854 422205 or email [email protected]