Nash & Thompson

The FN-20 4-gun tail turret on an Avro Lancaster
FN-5 2-gun nose turret on a Lancaster

Nash & Thompson was a British engineering firm that specialised in the production of hydraulically operated gun turrets for aircraft. The company was also an important manufacturer of hydraulic-powered radar scanners, used on radar systems such as H2S and AI Mark VIII.


Nash & Thompson was established in 1929 at Kingston upon Thames by business partners Archibald Frazer-Nash and E. Grattan Thompson[note 1] and registered as a limited company in 1936. The company was formed to develop the turrets that Frazer-Nash had originated at his automotive firm, Frazer Nash, and the designs were consequently numbered in a series prefixed with "FN".

The company's major competition in the UK was from Boulton & Paul, which had licensed the designs of the French company S.A.M.M. (Societe d'Application des Machines Motrices). The FN turrets used hydraulic power produced by the aircraft's engine: the BP designs used individual hydraulic pumps for each turret supplied from the aircraft's 24 volt electrical system.


FN-121 turret incorporating the Village Inn system, as fitted on a Lancaster.

Nash & Thompson built a wide range of turrets for aircraft. All were powered hydraulically and carried 0.303 inch (7.7 mm) Vickers K or Browning machine guns, except where noted. Many were built by Parnall Aircraft which took over their patents, patent rights, designs and contracts in 1935.[1]

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See also


  1. Esmonde Grattan Thompson died Roquebrune, Cap-Martin 19 January 1960, Managing Director of Parnall Aircraft. Obituary, The Times, Wednesday, Jan 20, 1960; pg. 15; Issue 54673


  1. The Times, Wednesday, Jan 20, 1960; pg. 15; Issue 54673
  • Tarring, Trevor and Mark Joseland. Archie Frazer-Nash ... Engineer. London: The Frazer Nash Archives, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9570351-0-2.
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