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Catís D6C Fondly Remembered

by Nick Drew  |  Tue 19 Oct 2021

Catís D6C Fondly Remembered

I’ve related the tale many times before, but to set the scene again, as a young 12/13-year-old kid I used to accompany my late father to work on the weekends during construction of the M27 motorway from Southampton to Portsmouth in 73/74.

One Saturday morning I was sat in the cab of dads JCB 3CII when the works foreman pulled up in his Land Rover, he came across to speak to dad and said, “Hey Jim, your nipper likes the machines doesn’t he, maybe he can help us out this morning”.

It transpired that the regular D6C operator, Tommy O’Sullivan had been on a heavy drinking session on the Friday night, and he was locked in his caravan, in an unfit state to work. The foreman said to dad, “The tip area is filling up, I just need someone to sit on the dozer and keep on top of it, I reckon your lad could manage it, can I take him down there for a few hours”.

Now I had previously spent some odd periods in that particular machine with Tommy, but always under his supervision, so it was quite daunting, but dad encouraged me to go and do it and so I agreed, a situation that would never happen in this day and age of course!

To cut a long story short, Laing’s had around 5 of their fleet of Guy Big J6 tippers running into the tip area on the day, and I was to keep the material pushed out and try to maintain the access route for them, which after my initial panic I managed to do!

It was a dream come true for me, and looking back now, almost unbelievable that I was let loose in a machine like that. It was quite a new machine at the time and had the Leverton style Westloade cab with sliding doors, powershift transmission and hydraulic blade so it was relatively easy to operate, although reaching the steering pedals and levers was a challenge for a little wee fella like me, seat adjustment was not really a thing back in those days!

Just before the 1pm dinner break Tommy the man himself arrived at the tip said he would take over and kindly presented me with a crisp £10 note for my efforts which in those days for me was amazing!

In my later working career, I never went on to spend anytime on dozers, not through choice really, I just never got the chance and preferred to stick with 360-degree excavators, I do though have this great memory of my morning spent on that D6C, a machine that I can never forget.

In the video below from our friends over at the You Tube sensation that is Awesome Earthmovers, we see a fine example of the model, owned by Clive Hurt in action at the Link Clubs 2020 working weekend event at Sibbertoft.







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