I joined the Bata Shoe company in 1934 and that time lived with my parents at Grays, Essex in England. The company had only started the year before that in 1933 at East Tilbury, also in Essex. I was 16 at the time and had just left school and I remember before I started work, there had been much written in the Local Paper about the Bata Shoe Company being built at East Tilbury.
Because Jobs were hard to get in those days and much had been said about the jobs it was going to provide for the people in the district. I remember very vividly the day I started with Bata, the factory then consisted of only two small one storey buildings, one was the leather factory and the other the rubber factory where they made wellington boots.
I sat in the foyer of the office waiting for my application for a job to be considered. when the door leading to the factory to the Office burst open and out came this huge fellow in an old battered straw hat, he appeared very agitated and he leaned over the counter in the office, and seeing me sitting there beckoned to me to come forward "Looking for a job boy?" he said and I replied meekly "Yes" "Follow me" he said and lifted the lid of the counter for me to follow him into the factory. I learned later that he was Mr Schmidt, the Managing Director of the Factory, and he himself was doing a recheck of a batch of shoes that had come back and he wanted me to box the shoes again after he had rechecked them. He showed me how to box the shoes and I remember on my first day I worked late into the evening to get that batch of shoes out again. However that was my introduction to the British Bata Shoe Company, which incidentally, was a foreign company from Zlin in Czechoslovakia
Les and Vi Wade have recently celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in Australia where they have lived for the past 43 years. Below are some pictures of them celebrating with their family.