His job is to keep the wheels turning. - 1948
Machines do not know any fixed working house, and when they decide to break down it is ten to one that it is Friday afternoon or about five o’clock on any other evening. This always means that the maintenance mechanic has to work late, or give up his weekend in order to get the machine into working order for the following day. Walter Gowers, of Dept 706, besides being a first class mechanic, can always be relied on to turn to any difficult task, regardless of the time, and to do a thorough job. Coming to East Tilbury in March, 1939, after completing ten years as a maintenance mechanic at Thameshaven, he started straight away in Dept 706 and within a few months proved himself so efficient and conscientious that he was appointed maintenance foreman.
After a few months the responsibility became too great, so Gowers asked to be allowed to work as a mechanic again. This request was reluctantly granted, and he has been more contented ever since.
Whatever spare time he gets, and there is precious little of it, Gowers likes to spend in the garden of his home in Grays, or pottering with his care or watching a television programme. But more often than not, something goes wrong with some machine or other, and, as a few weeks ago, he and several others had to work right through the weekend, and their job was only finished at 5.30 on the Monday morning.
Commenting on his work, Foreman F Stavjanik told Bata Record, “I have known Gowers ever since I came her in the middle of 1939, and I can honestly say that he is a first class mechanic - one of the best Bata mechanics I have met since my arrival in Britain. He is a most reliable man, and I have never known him to refuse a job because the hooter had gone or because he had planned to do something or other.