Letrobe

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hoggie
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Letrobe

Post #1 by hoggie » Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:19 pm

I remember a company called Letrobe had four TS14,s on hire but struggled to keep them going and got the name one load Letrobe


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Re: Letrobe

Post #2 by bigkit » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:07 pm

Letrobe......a legend! I'm too young to remember him but a lot of the local hardcore shifters new of him and his antics!!!


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Re: Letrobe

Post #3 by Martyn Henley » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:04 pm

They were from out Pluckley way in the Weald of Kent, i can remember seeing them in action back in the early 70's when they were working on the Downs in Herne bay, the job was stripping a 100ft clay cliff back to a 45% slope.


Pluckley was also the setting for Darling buds of may.....

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Re: Letrobe

Post #4 by modelman093 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:18 pm

Believe the name was actually LaTrobe. Earthmoving contractor, farmer and rally driver. Remember visiting his workshops at Pivington Works at Pluckley doing a parts survey when I first started work with Caterpillar. Recollect that his chief mechanic's name was Ken Hollowbread.


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Re: Letrobe

Post #5 by Martyn Henley » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:24 pm

Would that be Ken Hollowbread who went on to Spencer Kings, Angus ?

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Re: Letrobe

Post #6 by modelman093 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:58 pm

Martyn Henley wrote:Would that be Ken Hollowbread who went on to Spencer Kings, Angus ?


Very probably. Equally possible that with the passing of time I may have confused where I met him.
I joined Cat as a management trainee in the Sales and Service Dept based at the Glasgow Plant in 1966 and hadn't been there more than a couple of months when they said we want you to go down to S. London, Kent and Sussex and do a parts survey - find out what was bought genuine and what pattern and pricing etc. All a bit daunting for someone straight out of college but fortunately I knew the area and had also worked on/driven a variety of Cat kit when as per-college student I spent two years on a big arable farm with D2s,4s, a 3-cylinder D6, and TD14 so at least I knew a bit about it!
Among others I visited LaTrobes, Moons, Spencer King, Dickie Benge, a character called McCarthy in Dartford and a few more that I can't recall. To my great relief I wasn't told to" B****r off" by anyone, consumed several mugs of tea and had some good chats while ticking boxes. Think that everyone was a bit curious as to why Cat themselves had sent someone to see them!
Harry Copeland was the manager at Leverton's Ashford Depot and I think the parts guy's name was Ted Howard.
Last edited by modelman093 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Letrobe

Post #7 by Dowsett Boy » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:43 pm

I knew a driver for them Hughie Nicholls who came from Pluckley ,always made me laugh when he refered to them as one load La Trobe.


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Re: Letrobe

Post #8 by Kenham » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:24 pm

I saw John LaTrobe earlier in the year in a local eating place, looking very well as he must be well into his eighties. Pivington mill was a most interesting place as it was a Flax mill I think during the war.In the late seventies Rob .......? was the fitter a very nice man but I can't remember his surname, had his work cut out for sure but he kept the old eights going.Robs workshop joined what they called the dungeons where the Flax was soaked in concrete tanks this is where he kept his spares. Hughie is a good friend of mine and still making everyone laugh. Phil Pritcher was another driver still around but a good age, I remember him telling me about the time John bought an armoured D8 after the war. He said it was alright but he had to stand up to drive it, after a while they cut the armour off which made it better! We had some laughs with Phil on a Blackwells job in Ashford, another nice man with a wealth of plant knowledge. I will try to remember a few more names if anyone is interested. Dean Bicknell a local machinery dealer was a scraper driver and I think Ken Hopkins was on a blade and Les ......? another blade driver. Ken


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Re: Letrobe

Post #9 by eucliddave » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:32 pm

When I was ganging for Dick Hampton at Tonbridge, Latrobe had some Dw21s at the Quarry Hill end of the job and they were more often broken down than working. At the Sevenoaks end there were 4 TS14s with Leyland engines, always blowing up engines and one scraper even broke in half when the swan-neck's welding came apart. It took days to change engines and they were fitting secondhand Leyland engines which came out of London Transport buses. Next Year the fitter Michael Herdwhite [from Burma I seemed to remember and lived near Maidstone] reconditioned some secondhand GM engines, and they gave good service for many years.
I drove for Latrobe at Keymer Brickworks, Burgess Hill driving a D8 with blade, push loading the Ts14s with blue and yellow clay for making hand-made tiles and bricks. From there we moved the Ts14s to Arundel and I remember seeing a rear propshaft disappearing over a hedge,[it could have killed somebody as it weighed about 2 cwt] also another scraper's gearbox gave up, only one was still working when we arrived!!!!!
A year later driving for Richards & Wallington at Bluebell Hill, Maidstone, a new D8 sheared several bolts holding the cleats to the tracks, and no new bolts were available, but Latrobe searched in their piles of "junk" at Pivington Mill and found us enough to put the machine back to work. Lots of Hanomags etc littered the workshop in bits and I was told that in the Chalk pit at Charing they had buried dozens of old machines !!!!
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Re: Letrobe

Post #10 by modelman093 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:03 pm

Just re-visiting this thread and the name Ken Hollowbread comes to mind - mean anything to anyone?


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