Merchant Navy lost a sailor. - 1966
When Bill Herbert, of Dept 404, started with British Bata 32 years ago, he had no idea of staying half as long at East Tilbury - he intended to remain a short while, and then go to sea.
Two things caused him to decide otherwise - he got married, and he liked the work and the companionship, on the ground floor of the leather factory, so he became one of its several long-service operators.
Congratulations are extended to him this week, on his fiftieth birthday, which was on Tuesday.
Bill can do almost any operation in Dept 404, but his main work has been on heels = wooden, rubber and plastic. He is a craftsman, and a conscientious worker. For 13 years he lived on Bata Estate, but is now again living at Tilbury, where he was living when he heard of the possibility of work at British Bata.
“I started in Dept 404, when heels were being bought,” he said, “and not made in the factory. I clung to the idea of going to sea until my marriage, and until I found myself liking the work so much that I did not want to leave it. I still like it - there is a grand spirit here - as in all the manipulation workshops, and fellow-workers are all friends.”
Bill, who has a family of 11, is one of the longest-serving members of the Bata Fire Brigade, which he joined 19 years ago, and still regularly attends drills. He has been a consistent prizewinner at drill competitions. During the war, he was a despatch rider in the Royal Armoured Corps. He rode motor cycles regularly until three years ago. He is still interested in them, and acts as a “doctor” to engines of machines used by friends and relatives.
He has a son - John, in the rubber factory and a daughter - Margaret Herbert, in the hosiery department.