Sailor - Laster - Sailor - Laster. - 1947
The man with the double barrelled name and the two piston drive and vitality, Alan Skingsley-Brown, has within the past twelve months become one of the best known workers in the leather factory. It all started when he was elected to the Management Advisory Committee last summer to represent Dept 423. He quickly established himself as one of the most active and forward looking members of that body and his election as one of the four M.A.C. representatives on the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration set up recently was no surprise to his fellow workers.
More recently still he has been elected provisional president of the Bata branch of the Nations Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, and so has become recognised as one of the leaders of his fellow craftsmen.
Still another claim to prominence has this skilled and pushful shoemaker, good authorities say he is one of the two best toe-lasters in the leather factory.
He came to East Tilbury in October, 1937. He still retains a faint remembrance of a seaman’s roll in his walk, for the sea was his first love and he went down in the ships that plough the deep waters as soon as he left school.
Then romance came to the sailor, and Alan decided that a married man ought to find himself a permanent port on dry land. His brother was working the building department, and so Alan came to Bata.
Pulling over in Dept 424 for a few weeks and then came a chance to go on lasting. Lasting it has been ever since, first in Dept 424, then as instructor in the school department.
Except for the five year break when he went back to the Merchant Navy at a time when the life lines of England were threatened, bombings, mines, u-boats, troop carrying at the invasions of North Africa and Sicily, running cargoes of petrol into the shattered Normandy beaches - “but only once,” he recalled, “was a ship blown from under me. That was in the Channel.”
Last March he was back on a lasting machine in Dept 423.
In his spare time, what there is of it, he is an ardent supporter of Southend United, a keen player of chess and card games.