Reports and other aeronautical papers of A. V. "Val" Cleaver whilst at the Propeller Division of the de Havilland Aircraft Company.

Scope and Content

A collection of memos and reports covering Val Cleaver's work at de Havillands, primarily concerning the development of aircraft propellers during World War II. A small number of papers also relate to Cleaver's time at the de Havilland Engine Company.

Administrative / Biographical History

Val Cleaver was born in in Horspath, near Oxford. After school, Cleaver joined Westminster Electric Company and also started a part-time degree course in Mechancial Engineering at Action Polytechnic, but in 1936 left both when he joined de Havilland's Propellers Division.

Whilst at De Havilland Propellers Cleaver's main preoccupation was to decide which propeller design was suitable for many different aircraft types, but also played his part in building up the number of propellers available to the RAF. He ended the War as Chief Project Engineer.

In 1946 Cleaver joined de Havilland's engine company as Special Projects Engineer and worked on jet and rocket propulsion projects.

It was whilst at de Havilland Engines that Cleaver began to work in an area of personal interest, rocket engineering, with some of his first jobs investigating the German wartime rocket research programmes. He was ultimately responsible for the Sprite, Super Sprite and Spectre rocket engines.

Cleaver resigned from de Havilland's in 1955 and in 1956 was appointed by Rolls-Royce as Chief Engineer of their recently formed rocket department, and led him to work in projects such as Blue Streak and ELDO, the European Launcher Development Organisation. From 1973, until his death in 1977, he worked on future aircraft propulsion systems.

Access Information

Open for consultation.