Shelvoke & Drewry Enthusiasts' Club
Newsletter - Spring 2021.
S & D
Memories No. 2.
“You couldn’t make it up!” A well-heeled saying which sums up this story perfectly!
Having completed several deliveries
of brand new refuse vehicles successfully in my new role as
Demonstration Driver at S & D in 1969, I came to my first
Demonstration. This was in a TY 70 cu yd Pakamatic, sadly I cannot
recall which authority we visited, I say ‘we’ as I was accompanied by a
more experienced Demo Driver on this first demo. It must have
gone successfully as I was soon out on my own on these duties, often
being away for a week at a time. One of my very early Demos was to
Brentwood Urban District Council as it was named prior to the local
government reorganisation in 1974. It was probably a three-day
demo as most were in those days, occasionally we might get a four or
even five-day one, especially if the Council concerned had a couple of
its own vehicles off the road for servicing!
This particular week was with the TN
20 yd Pakamatic. Single cab, so, space just myself and two
loaders. All went well the first day if recall. The next
morning we were working in one of the plusher areas of Brentwood, along
the route of their side-loader. Some of the properties along this
main road laid back some way from the road, so normal practice was to
drive down the driveway to collect the bins. There was room to
turn at several of the properties, this system saved the guys an awful
lot of walking.
We did just that at a very smart
looking house with lovely garden, I drove along the tarmac drive.
Now at this point I was nearly full, so probably weighed around 8
tons. I was directed to the rear of the property which was ‘L’
shaped, and instructed to turn in to what was the crook of the ‘L’
shaped building, at this point we couldn’t be seen from the road.
The men jumped out, I reversed in to the crook, my rear end then being
quite close to the house in order to negotiate a three-point
turn. Suddenly I had this sinking feeling! I was going
down! The TN being far heavier than their side-loader was too
much for the lightly laid tarmac through which the rear of the TN sank
up to the rear axle! The guys saw it happen and I jumped out to
examine the situation, the vehicle was leaning over to the off-side
with the top corner of the body about 3-4 inches away from the kitchen
window – we had a problem!
I decided on a tentative move
forwards to see what reaction the vehicle would make. The only
direction I went was down even further with the front axle breaking
through the tarmac as well! We had by now established there was
no one in. One of the guys informed me it was the house of a
local Vicar. It would have been fairly easy to communicate in
this day of mobile phones, but not in 1969. One of the chaps
decided to walk back to the road to find a phone-box. In doing so he
flagged down a Council highways wagon, a Bedford tipper, probably a 13
tonner. He came back in that. The crew on the tipper had a radio,
so managed to call in to the depot. Meantime we decided to try
and haul my stricken vehicle out of the mire. Chains were
attached and with me engaging gear the tipper driver tried valiantly
but hopelessly to move me. The vehicle was simply to light and
its rear wheels spun wildly.
A Council van turned up to survey the
scene, probably the Foreman or similar I believe. A discussion
took place and another call to the depot resulted in an empty 16ton TY
Pakamatic trundling down the drive. We shunted the Bedford and the van
out of the way to allow the Pakamatic to position itself, chains were
again employed, not sure what they were attached to on the TY, but the
result after several attempts was the same, I was still stuck fast and
had now leant a bit further towards the Kitchen window, now perilously
close to actually breaking through it.
A TN Pakamatic. Jaap Mikkers photo.
So there we were my TN stuck fast, a TY Pakamatic, A Bedford Tipper and
a Council van all in this back garden. Another call to the depot
managed to procure a JCB Digger. Now this was a bit meatier, it
came down the drive, the driver in it had a good laugh when he saw us
all and our predicament. We shifted the TY out of the way, it was
getting a bit crowded now as you can imagine and the lovely rear garden
was beginning to suffer! Chains were again brought into use and
attached to the digger’s bucket, again I engaged gear and with the
power of hydraulic rams we managed to pull me out of the hole. A
quick study of the underside of the TN revealed no apparent damage,
apart from one of the rear wings had bent rather. So there we
were relieved and congratulating ourselves on a job well done, all
standing there in the midst of my TN, the TY the Bedford tipper the
Council van and a JCB Digger! At this point I happened to look around
the corner of the house to see a green Triumph Toledo heading along the
drive towards us. It was the vicar! He pulled up alongside
me in full view of the instant lorry park that his garden had been
converted to and just uttered those immortal words “Oh my God”.
It took some time to clear all the vehicles from his garden.
Although I related the incident to Gilbert on my return to Letchworth I
never heard of any repercussions about it, the story quickly circulated
around the works though! I presume the Council footed the bill
for the Tarmac and landscaping of part of the chap’s rear
Barrie C. Woods 20th August 2020