HISTORY OF THE
MILK MARKETING BOARD
CREDITON TRANSPORT DEPOT
COVERING THE YEARS 1965- 2000

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My name is Jimmy Wills. I was born near Bow Station
in January 1945. I have always had a great interest in transport. I admit I even drove lorry’s before I had the full licence to do it, in lanes and private roads. When 21 I used to go to Bristol and load home with various products fertilizer, cattle feed being some. Aged 23 I joined the Milk Marketing Board as a driver. Lorry licence at this time was “Grandfathers rites” when you were 21 you automatically got your HGV. In 1978 I took a test to drive articulated lorries and obtained a class 1 but I rarely need to use this licence, I was happy driving 4 wheelers and 6 wheelers.

I worked as a churn lorry driver initially at the Crediton transport depot from 1968 until 1978 when I finished on churn collection and churn collection ceased in July 1979. After the churns finished I became a bulk milk tanker driver for the 22 years until I retired in Jan 2000.
Some of the information I have gathered is from some of my old workmates those include Brian Ponsford,
Derek Saunders
Victor Matthews, Alan Packer and Byron Cousins.

I went to see Mr Les Rich who gave me a brief history of his part in milk collection. Les tells me his father started the dairy by the church in Crediton at with an associate
Mr A Stoyle sometime around 1943 The dairy at this time was called Miloko. They then collected milk for the Milk Marketing Board until the board took over the milk collection on their own August 1965.

One day I was building a wall at the end of Mill Street when Denny Dance stopped by and told me there was a job going on the milk lorries as a chap called Jack Broomfield had been taken ill and would be leaving the job. I told him at the time I had so much work on I was not interested. However the Foreman Bill Tucker on his way home to dinner called up around and said you can have the job, start Sunday.
I told Bill no way as I had lots of work in advance but Bill said there is a good pension scheme and pretty regular employment so in the end he sort of persuaded me to give it a go for a couple weeks and see how it went.
Well 32 years 5 months later I took early retirement at age 55, just prior to the Crediton depot closing .

Our working day at this time 1968 would be 7am, until you finished. I always used to get in a little bit earlier to check over the lorry before we went out on the road. The general idea was you would leave the lorry ready for the next day.
With the exception of a couple bouts of “cideritis” I can’t say I was ever late in all the 32 years I worked there.


My boss at this time was Jack Goss as we were at this time a sub depot of Wellington MMB depot.
Our depot was situated behind the railway station in Crediton in Hoskins Yard. I worked here for a while but the depot moved down to Lords Meadow industrial estate at a depot now owned by Daffyd Steel. Our stay here was not long before we moved to Marsh Lane Transport depot.
By this time Ambrosia factory at Lapford closed and we took over the running of the transport making our depot a lot bigger. We also took over the Ambrosia drivers too.

some of the drivers from the early days
George Trickey Alan Jewell ,Russel Lashbrook
Eric Eastman
Bill Edwards, Reg Hill
Brian Ponsford, Byron Cousins, Denny Dance,
Ron Knight, Herbie Hammett, Victor Matthews
Bert Call, Ivor Parker, Ron Reed, Alan Packer ,Bill Way

Idwall Evans, Trevor Evans, Percy Bennett
Frank Hookway Then later---
Derek Sandercock, Bob Bradford, Bill Saunders,
Roger Yates Bill Glavville Tommy Glanville, Ron Lewis
Mike Roberts Jack Butt, Ern Shobrooke Brian Rowe
Victor Watts, Dudley Palmer then a little later --------
Kelvin Heath, Edward Southcott, Chris Endacott
Phil Clarke, Bert Sandford, Gordon Weeks, John Odgers
Arthur Cooper, George Bryant, Bill Davidson,
Bill Alford, Alf Greenslade, Birdman, Rodney Hale
Les Cheriton, John Pearn, Ron Rooke, Graham Rookes
John Snell, Gordon Gatting, Michael May
Chris Smith, Dennis Bolt Phil Clarke Mike Winkworth
Tony Venton, Rodney Hale, Mike Tickner Frank/Cherie Curtis, Alan Lane Jim Latham.

Not to forget the mechanics too
Sid Matten Cyril Holland, Gerry Denford,
Dennis Webber, Rex Harris, Alan Parrish
Steve Parker,

By now Fred Wren had taken over the management of the depot, this for me was a lovely time to work at the depot.
Fred was a good and fair boss. I remember a few incidents around this time, I ran away with a loaded lorry on Jockey Hill in Crediton I lost the brakes completely and had to ditch the loaded churn lorry into the wall and rub it along until I brought it to a stop (Not recommended)
Another was in the town of Tiverton my gearstick broke off right in the high street, a traffic warden came up shouting his mouth off about move this vehicle, I was so peed off I handed the gear stick out the cab window to him and said here you are you move it, the look on his face was worth the hassle. Another time on a Sunday morning I was slipping along at Morchard Road when I was tailed by a speed cop,
when stopped the cop said what is the hurry fella, I said
I am afraid the milk will go off . I used this excuse for
the remainder of my working days as we all used to slip along.
I will admit we used to have a burn up on our way back to the dairies, Vic Matthews was the one to beat, his lorry
was a real go’er The farmers asked me one day “How long have the fire engines been BLUE” I have to admit I was only ever stopped that once in 32 years. I was occasionally pulled onto the Ministry of transport weighbridge near Junction 27 of the North Devon link road, but I would never overload, so I was always alright. I was encouraged sometimes to overload but I would have none of it. Once the computer on the tanker said full that was it.

Having some experience in building work I was asked by Foreman Bill Tucker if I would do some repairs to things our lorries may have hit or damaged. I remember one incident it was at Upton Pyne one of our lorries had hit a stone/brick pillar, leading to a big estate, I got out there and started dismantling the stones and bricks when someone came along and said morning, I said morning mate, he said I must ask you to call me “MY LORD“, I said afraid I only know one lord and that isn't you. He them ordered me off his land, so that got me out of that job. Repaired loads of milk stands too. A milk stand was a concrete block or wooden platform at the end of farm lanes.
My first route as a churn driver took me around Cadbury Thorverton and Shoebrooke my first ever pickup was Commander Bell at Coffintree cross on the Cheriton Fitzpaine road 32 years later I can remember my last farm I collected it was Mr Chugg at Chulmleigh.
However my second churn round took me around Dunsford, Moretonhampstead, Cheriton Bishop. This round ended up a road called Woodbrook Lane, this was one of the narrowest roads we had at the time that is why a Ford Thames Trader had to be on this round as the wheel base was a bit narrower than the Ford D series lorry’s that were replacing the Traders.


I can remember it was near Xmas 1969 I was still on these rounds when I went into a farm at the bottom of this Woodbrooke Lane it was called Wallen Barton and the farmer was called Mr Kilford, my daughter was about to be born and I asked him if I could use the phone, to see if my little girl had been born yet, he said of course. I remember he could play the piano and after I made the phone call he played a piece of music, I remember thinking how brilliant that was.
Around this time I was asked if I would become a relief driver which meant I would do other drivers routes when they were day off. At this time you could work 7 days a week and for the first 6 months I hardly had a day off. Health and safety would have a baby today if drivers did that.
The description of the job was “job and finish” so you could go home when you had done. I was once loaned out to Wellington depot I did Seven Crosses round for a month. The churns were the steel ones, a lot heavier .
Over the years I used job and finish to great advantage building myself firstly a house in Crediton and later a bungalow at North Tawton.

Being a churn lorry driver was a brilliant job I wouldn’t have changed it for the world we had some great fun and at this time we had great comradeship but as the firm got bigger some of this seemed to disappear but I remained great friends with most of the drivers.
One day Denny Dance took an empty lorry by mistake to do a churn round with no empty churns, he got to Newton St Cyres before he realised he had no empties and had to come back and get the spare lorry that had been loaded with his churns after he had gone home, as his regular lorry had to be in the garage for repairs, guess he never looked.
Churn milk collection finished on 31 August 1978

Around 1972 Ambrosia Lapford closed and we then took over their lorries and drivers. Bulk collection was already being used by Ambrosia so we inherited their Tankers so it was around this time that bulk collection began to gather pace. The method for loading this was by vacuum pump
creating suction within the tank on the back of the lorry
you would measure the milk with a dipstick and use a chart to compare the dipstick reading then would leave the farmer a ticket receipt.
This method lasted for a few years, in the early 80s flow meters were introduced that was to be the pioneer of what we have today but it has now become computerised.
I was always a relief driver on the bulk collection I used to cover a section of four drivers on a eleven day rota
After me being say a weekend off, I would come back covering Vic Matthews on the Monday, Alf Greenslade on the Tuesday and Wednesday, Tommy Glavville on the Thursday and Bob Bradford on the Friday Saturday Sunday
then it would be my day off Monday and so it went around like that. Sections changed over the years but the rota stayed the same until the change to Milk Marque in1994.
My section had changed then to still Vic Matthews then Bill Alford, Brian Ponsford and Derek Saunders I stayed covering those four drivers until Milk Marque finished.


The areas we cover changed from time to time as dairy’s closed. I started covering from Northlew in the west to Bovey Tracy in the south Tallaton in the east East Ansty in the north. Milk fields as they were called changed a lot over the years we ended up around Taunton as far as Budleigh Salterton, Ilfracombe as the farms gave up others got bigger and from an average of say 20-25 farms per load it is probably now 5-6. Tiverton also featured a lot in our collection areas Exeter & Exmouth too. Some of my favourite routes over the years was Butterleigh, Stoodleigh, Way Village, Spreyton, Monkokehampton. I made some good friends with farmers in these areas.

After Jack Goss and his side kick Harold Warren returned to running their own depot at Wellington, we became a depot in our own right. The boss at this time was Fred Wren with Bill Tucker as foreman other foreman we had was Jack Snell, Ken Jordan, Reg Edworthy. After this era Fred moved on and Ted Staite took over the running of the depot, this lasted until the formation of Milk Marque.

Milk Marque was formed as a result of the break up of the Milk Marketing Board, Margaret Thatcher sanctioned the break up and I can remember at the time some farmer were worried about their livelyhoods and I do believe they now have good reason but it’s too late for many.
When I started there was close to a thousand producers I dread to think what that is today.

In the years leading up to the end of the Milk Board we had a wonderful social club. The social club was formed in the front room of Denny Dance’s home when I joined the firm it was already up and running. We used to have some brilliant nights out. I can remember some laughable incidents at one party at Clapps Cafe at Tiverton ,Bill Tucker told me to hold back when the food was called, we then sat at a table with 4 chicken in the basket with just 2 of us to eat it.
Bill was reputed once to have eat a whole goose and a loaf of bread for a bet. At a party in the Rougemont hotel one Xmas Bill grabbed a wig off of a gatecrasher woman and danced around the rest of the party with this wig on. Priceless.
Every year there was Xmas party’s for the children and the wives organized and contributed the food. We had some BBQs too and some coach trips to shows at Torquay
Some of the most stressful times being a milk tanker driver was the winter when we had to collect milk all times of the day and sometimes night. The worst winter I can remember was February 21/22 nd 1978 when a blizzard was so bad a lot of our lorries were trapped out in the countryside unable to return to the depot. I remember it was a Wednesday or a Thursday and Derek Saunders and myself was sent to the Moretonhampstead area we collected a load of milk but it was a real struggle.
When we got back to Whiddon Down the road to North Tawton was closed, so we had to go around Okehampton
I was driving an Albion four wheeler and the old lorry seemed to go along alright once in Okehampton we turned right to head for North Tawton when we got to Appledore Hill the snow was so bad it was a white out.
Derek was with me, we had our nose pressed against the windscreen just to see a few foot in front.
Eventually we got to our destination but the snow was so bad we had to leave the lorry at the Cheese factory .Derek could not get home so for a day or two he stayed with us, in North Tawton. I have to admit with the snow being so deep I knew in my heart we would not be able to go very far the next day so I said to Derek would you like to go to the Fountain pub for a bevvy or two. We all went over, my wife too, my wife went home at 12 oclock (midnight) but I was in playing dart mode and cider mode so we stayed until 4 am.
I was right we couldn’t go far the next day but the headache was inhuman, guess it serves me right.
Derek stayed with us for almost a week before snow was cleared enough for things to move. We went down to the factory on the second day where some local farmers had loaded their milk in emergency containers and had made it to the factory with their tractors. relationships with farmers was very important to the smooth working for all concerned. I used to take farmers out a newspaper on many of the rounds. We were often offered a cup of tea I used to have a tea and a bit of breakfast at a few farms. Courtney Pring at Exton was one of the first he used to cook me a Walls sausage or two that was brilliant Later, on the bulk lorrys I had a bit of breakfast at Gerald and Vera Mills near Witheridge they were lovely people. I always went in for a cuppa with Fred Baulch near North Tawton he treated every driver the same, he is still my friend today. In fact there are too many to remember them all.
As well as snow and ice we used to have to travel through terrible floods, two places were to prove tricky down by Bickleigh castle and Stoke Cannon area. I have gone through it so deep it would come in the cab and that was scary. I recall the hurricanes of 1987 and 1990 after a very rough night like those I used to take my chainsaw with me in the cab and many is the time I cut limbs off trees to get through.
I also remember the drought of 1976 the ground became so dry any little thing would cause a fire to start.
Milk production fell away as farmers had very little grass and I recall farmers feeding animals in the summertime when there should have been enough in the fields.
Snow remained the biggest problem with hard day after day frosts you just had to grit your teeth and get on with it.
Once I had to light a fire under the lorry to thaw out the diesel, that is some cold.


I remember temperatures could get as low as -17c it was a bone biter and it stayed like this for some time.
Even after the snow had melted some of the back roads were so bad it was treacherous. I know for sure there is climate change, in the 70s you would get really cold weather from mid November until at least the end of February. I have known farmers dairies frozen up for maybe a month at a time no running water, now it’s as rare as a honest politician.
The milk was taken to several different dairies, Express Dairy Pinhoe Exeter was one of my favourite the unloading was good Johno and Gordon Tootell were right on the job and also the canteen was brilliant. You would never be able to beat their breakfast’s if you got in late someone would always put you up something

Other dairies were Lapford Ambrosia, Crediton Dairy, Quickes Newton St Cyres, Coushe at Tedburn
Courtlands of Exmouth, Youngs of Brixham, and latterly Cheese factory North Tawton.
Sometimes milk would be diverted to Honiton, Chard, Torrington, and in recent times Cullompton reload. Jersey
milk was collected separately took to Highbridge in Somerset. I am going to put some lorry pictures on here of some of the makes of lorry we drove. I have a few pictures of Torrington lorries later, on this site.

The transport had many names Milk Marketing Board, Dairy Crest Transport, Dairy Products Transport, more recently Milk Marque and present day Milk Link.
When Milk Marque came to fruition the running of the transport was taken over by GDL transport North Tawton.
We were issued with a new uniform and I must admit it was smart but one drawback was the fact we had to wear a tie summer and winter. It was ok in the winter but the summer it was much too hot around your neck.
I put out my temperature gauge on a hot day and it went up to 100f degrees in the cab, I had the chance to talk to a Mr Alford of Sticklepath about this and he said he would bring it up at a Milk Marque meeting, later we were allocated polo shirts brilliant.

Sampling for milk quality when on churns was done by the receiving dairy but it was the drivers responsibility when things went bulk collection. To start with we sampled farms once a week on a random basis, but latterly every farm every day I would imagine this would improve milk quality
a lot. Dairies got a lot more fussy about the milk temperature, if the milk was over 4c you had to ring back for instruction, this was a problem in the early days but when cab phones was introduced it was much easier.

Some of the roads we had to travel on was very narrow and some farm lanes poor quality. There was one road on the edge of Dartmoor so narrow you would be lucky to get down through this road without scraping some part of the lorry.
Bridges too could be tight to cross over, one near Bellever on Dartmoor you scraped the wheelnuts every time you went over it. North Bovey in churn days was narrow, Bondleigh and Seven Crosses were also very tight. Bill Alford had the worst rounds on milk collection for 14 years he did Dartmoor round. Summer, he had the holiday makers and in the winter he had to cope with adverse conditions. Bill was a really good driver. I was his relief driver for a year or two, considering his territory he didn’t have many scrapes. He did have one though, Miss James in Manaton he knocked down a wall.
Another little job for me, took me a week to repair, could only do a bit a day “wink” Tony Beard (BBC Radio Devon) used to send a churn or two, his milk would have been on a milk stand in this area.

North Tawton cheese factory held some great memories.
Following a messy divorce, I had to get out of a house I finished building myself in Crediton. These were hard times for me. I went overnight in 1974 from a lovely 3 bedroom house to a mobile home I parked at Bow Station, near where I was born. In 1975 I met my now wife Margaret in the cheese factory canteen where she worked. She offered me lodgings as the mobile home was so cold in the winter and I was able to help Margaret repair her cottage that needed some serious attention. We became good friends and guess we fell in love, she changed my life for ever. I lived there until we married in 1982, she has always been my best friend, I could never picture a day without her.

Made some good pals in the cheese factory, the unloading staff were good Trev Rounsley John Leahey Peter Fewings Mike Ball other staff Chris Lewis in the lab, I was brought up in Bow where Chris lived and we are still in touch today.
Arthur West was the manager I knew Arthur from delivering in Crediton Dairy he was also management in there. Some nice chaps were managers there too Ron Isles, Roy Pickard
Great girls in the canteen too Jean Hopkins, Betty Endacott, Margaret Arscott, Christine Reed, Frances Brookes
Marion Hooper, Annie Barber, my wife Margaret too.

I remember us drivers used to go to the canteen most afternoons while our lorries were washing out (inside the tank) first one in the queue would buy the teas I recall one driver in particular would hang back so he never bought a tea, what some people will do.
At this time we were able to use the canteen facilities and toilet area but today I don’t think drivers are allowed in the canteen how times have changed.

Some of the best laughs in the canteen was around banter to each other. Graham Rookes was a great sport, he could micky take and you could have a laugh at his expense.
Once he came in and I casually said to him I gave someone you number last night, he said oh! yeah why, I said I was in a second hand shop when someone came in looking for a “dictaphone” so I gave him your number.

Job description when I joined the firm was job and finish
I used to get finished on churns about 2 pm and on bulk tankers 3pm give or take an hour or so. This was a great help to me as I bought a house half finished in Crediton and finished it off but only lived there 18 months before being kicked out. Then built myself a bungalow with Margaret’s help in North Tawton in 1982.
When my ex wife decided to sell the old matrimonial I received a third share £7000 and with this bought a building site at Gostwyck Close in North Tawton and with the value of Margarets home we together built a bungalow.
We lived here for 15 years and eventually sold and moved to Crediton part of the plan to take early retirement.

Margaret bought me some great birthday and Xmas presents I left my former home devoid of anything whatsoever . Bitterness was rife and all my personal possessions were destroyed, My best present from Margaret was a video camera which I used to take around with me in the lorries.
I have lots of video some I have never watched hope to get to that very soon.

I keep in touch with a few of my old work mates, some of them have helped me put together this story of Crediton milk depot, input has been by Brian Ponsford, Derek Saunders, Alan Packer, Byron Cousins, Victor Matthews and I went to see Mr Les Rich who was the milk collectors before the MMB.

I can recall some more sadder times in my years on the milk
one was the death of Bert Call in an accident by the Imperial Hotel Exeter, another the death in service of Dave Grey, he was a quiet chap but we used to meet at the Kings Arms Crediton for a game of darts and a drink.
Gerry Denford , Alan Parish, Len Quick also died
Roger Yeates, Chris Smith, too.
Darts and social side of the Milk Board was real good.
I once organised a dart competition held at the Burston Bow
Taking into account I played regular for teams in several leagues I might have been perceived as a likely winner but I had an off night and was knocked out in an early round by an American tourist who had to ask what he had to do, still you cant win them all. I played for quite a few teams one being Thelbridge Inn, I used to go in to the Gillbards at Bishops Leigh for a cuppa and a snack when the son Colin asked me if I would play for them that night. Well he finally persuaded me to play against a team from South Molton. I did very well and won for him that night and played for the next 7 seasons and won a lot of trophies with the team.
In all I won more than 220 trophies in my dart playing days, I am glad I played while I could my joints have gone a bit now, I recon I would now be useless.
We used to organise Bingo around local village halls and party’s too and we had a BBQ or two, good times.

In the early days when I was spare driver I used to work in the garage servicing lorries and repairing side rails and floor boards on the churn lorries. Sid Matten and Cyril Holland were the fitters at the time, other mechanics that came on after this era were Steve Parker, Alan Parrish, Gerry Denford, Ben Cartwright, (not the one out of bonanza)
Dennis Webber, Rex Harris, Ron Rooke he later went out driving Byron Cousins, went driving also.
I recall one incident with Rex he was set out to go collecting milk but poor old Rex didn’t quite make it 4, lorries were having a “tare up” in other words a burn up but down by Ashley rubbish tip near Tiverton Rex bit the dust in fact he cleared the hedge and when I came along the wheels were in the air and still going around, at least Rex was alright.
Few others bit the dust I believe one if the first was Victor Matthews he came to grief in Pascoe lane near Bow.
I have a picture if this which I hope to put in here.
I have to admit I had one or two bad accidents once I was hit by a tractor and silage trailer near Rackenford, then one day a Marina pickup hit me head on near Shoebrooke park. It was a farmer called Cuthbert Burrington he seemed to be looking into a field and not at the road, next thing I knew he had hit my lorry and gone flying through the air. Well when I got out he was bleeding so much it ran down the road. I never thought the human body contained so much blood, however the old chap survived. The thing I remember most about the accident was his loaf of bread went about 20 foot in the aid and landed on the hedge as well as serious it looked comical too.


My last boss was Mr Ian Wyatt, I have to admit I got on very well with Ian. I used to work around the depot towards the end of my working days on the milk.

From churn days I did a lot of repairs with my old pal Phil Clarke. We even did a few jobs for farmers in the transition from churns to bulk, plastering out a few dairies getting ready for bulk collection. Biggest building job I undertook for the Milk Board was the reconstruction of the drainage system in the depot, previous drains having collapsed .
The depot had a letter from South West Water that too much oil and residue was making its way to the sewer works the fiberglass underground tank split with the constant weight of the lorries. Ted Staite manager of the time asked me if I would help out and rebuild the underground tanks.
I agreed to do this and me and Phil Clarke and Malcolm Brown undertook the job. Chris Endacott dug out the old tank and we were left with a hole 24ft long 14ft wide and 15ft deep I took a trip over to the engineering department of the local council, and a right nice chap gave me some advice on how to do the job to there specification. We then started the job 4 compartments each filtering into each other and the water came out pretty clean , well it passed the SWW tests.
I remember we made up a sign and put near the site


The makes of lorry varied over the years, churn lorries would have been Ford Thames Traders and Ford D Series
Some inherited Bedford TK
Bulk milk tankers were AEC, Albions, Leylands.
Leyland Clydesdales, Leyland Freighters.
I remember one KM Bedford , Dodge.
A couple Volvo some older type Scania
some Mercedes and new type Scania.
and now today in 2008 artic collection vehicles and draw bar trailers, how times have changed.
I recall the Dodges causing the most trouble in breaking down but all types had there day, vacuum pumps were the most likely to play up. I have known myself have 3 different lorries to complete my day

While I had a good relationship with almost all farmers there were a handful that was really awful .
I could never get my head around why some farmers and some vets parked their cars and tractors right in front of the dairy door knowing the lorry would soon be about.
This sort of thing caused no end of grief for the drivers as management would never support drivers on this issue or many other petty things, which was a shame and it led to poor relationships all round.

The Milk Board took part in a scheme run by
RoSPA
This was to encourage you to be a safer driver.
If you completed a year blameworthy accident free
You were presented with either a certificate or a medal.

My most favourite lorry of all was the little 4 wheeler Leyland Daff that was the last lorry I drove on the Jersey milk run. Jersey milk was collected separate from farms in Devon and Somerset and was taken by long tom tankers up the country and used in the manufacture of products for diabetics.
At this time milk collection had become every other day collection the farmers vats being ice cold, milk would still keep in good condition.
The rounds were in two areas Budleigh Salterton, Wiggaton, Newton Poppleford Awliscombe, Taunton.
Next day, Stockleigh Pomeroy, Witheridge, Blackmoor Gate,
Illfracombe, South Molton.

Some funny incidents occurred in my days on the milk, once I had a pickup hose (the hose that loads the milk) jump off the tray on the side of the lorry and unknown to me manage to wrap itself around my back wheels and dragged the lorry to a standstill, when we unravelled it, the pipe was twice as long as before more than 30ft. I laughed for some time about that.
Another of our drivers had done a round for years but in the dark and in the fog managed to go up a lane leading to a field and got stuck and bogged down and had to have a crane to get him out, he has not yet lived that down.(no names but he is still working there)
Snow created some hectic moments. I was almost to the top of a icy hill, just couldn’t make that last little few feet. I came to a stop so I got out and got my shovel from the box on the back of the lorry hoping to dig out the hedge just to get away from the little patch of ice, when all of a sudden the lorry started sliding back the hill and with the road being so narrow the lorry chased me backwards down the road. The lorry went about 30 yards and smacked into a tree, not nice.
Black ice was the worst, you never knew where it was.

I had a pretty good relationship with my bosses, I used to get on fairly well with the managers but I found some of the supervisors tended to be creepers just to impress the boss, I was not impressed with that, still it happens almost any firm.

I was so proud to work for the Milk Marketing Board in the early years. The comradeship was brilliant., There were loads of hardship in my personal life at this time. After my divorce from my first wife in 1974 I never saw my 2 children again, it took some getting used to, but sticking to my job and great support from some of my workmates saw me through. I never lost sight of the fact I was entitled to a life as well, so you just get on with it.

In my time on the milk I saw a lot of lovely things most of it the wild life. I was bitten by a few dogs, one in particular I swear he had more teeth than a circular saw. It was at Gerald Burrows farm at Morchard Bishop the old dog wasn’t supposed to be out but someone forgot the gate, it was a nasty old bite, had to go doctors and get a tetanus jab.
Other things I saw was a fair few stags, they were mostly Rackenford way, saw some at Spreyton too.
Most lovely thing I saw on the wildlife front was a brood of 8 little ducks on a stream at Washfield nr Tiverton. When I remembered I used to take them some little pieces of bread.
I saw a grass snake about a metre long at the top of Robin Bendings lane near Hittisleigh. Without doubt it was the biggest snake outside of a zoo I had ever seen. When I was on Dartmoor rounds on sultry days in August/September you would sometimes see an adder basking in the sun on top of hedges but it was rare. I was talking to a farmer out near Cawsand Beacon Sticklepath and he told me the road from his farm to the village was sometimes referred to as snake alley as summer evenings some were even lying in the road.

There are too many farmers I thought a lot of, too many to remember all but some special ones were
Fred Baulch, Arthur and Richard Heywood, Ken Toms,
Ben Lippiatt, Gerald and Vera Mills, Peter Morrish.

 












































































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