Stan spent most of his working life at London & Overseas Freighters starting with them in 1949 as Company Secretary which post he held until 1965 when he became Assistant Managing Director. He was made Managing Director in 1976, became Deputy Chairman in 1978 and retained the post of Chairman from 1983 until his retirement a year later. Here Noris Jackson offers some personal reminiscences.
SS was a very private person in the office and seemed blessed in avoiding circumstances whereby staff could have a good laugh at his expense. I joined LOF in 1953 and was employed at sea until February 1963 which was when I first got to know SS. Before I met him I met his 6 litre with 5 carburettors. To my engineering mind it never seemed a logical solution but to SS, an accountant, the greater the number the better.
It was not until I read ‘Motoring My Way’ that I found out about the five carburettors.
One day he arrived at the office in his 1910 Mercedes. An urgent call to the Engineering Department because of a problem with the Mercedes resulted in the luggage rack being removed in order to make headroom to enter the company garage in Balfour Place. LOF engineers were also involved in the production of a radiator cap but to the best of my recollection not the one mentioned in ‘Motoring My Way’.
The ‘Lincoln’ also featured in LOF life when some members of the staff had to prove that it was possible to sit in the boot and have a picnic.
I had occasion to visit him in retirement and used my everyday transport a motorcycle. During the course of the evening I was invited out for a ride in the Turbo R with the words ‘If you think your motorcycle can accelerate and corner, get in the passenger seat and I will show you what this is like’. A suitable section of duel carriageway was found to demonstrate the acceleration with the return journey being made along country roads to the exclamation of ‘If this was an ordinary car the door handles would be on the ground by now’.
The photographs are an illustration of one aspect of his life in shipping. He was responsible for organising launch parties which he did with the attention to detail that the BDC (Bentley Drivers Club) know well. The locomotive being but one part of the arrangement, the service on the train journey being unequalled. The actual naming ceremony was organised by the shipbuilder and the ensuing dinner and reception after the launch was a joint effort.
One launch in Sweden was organised such that the ‘Owners Party’ and the ‘Staff’ had separate functions. Some of the staff from the London Office was invited to fill up the seats on the chartered plane. SS left instructions that we were to enjoy ourselves which we did by inviting some of the locals to join us until there was, what is now called, a ‘rave’ in progress. The most junior member of the staff was instructed to sign the bill which was beyond belief. When SS received LOF’s bill for the evening’s entertainment, he was speechless and blamed the engineers who could always ‘spend money faster than I can make it’.
When Heath was PM and pay rises over a certain salary were not allowed, the senior members of the Technical Department, ex Engineering Department, were given company cars. Previously only Department Heads were allowed cars. The memo from SS stated: ‘I want your private motoring to cost as little as possible’. When he found out that we had all opened accounts at garages for petrol as well as service, he got quite excited and when confronted with his memo replied: ‘Never mind what I said you knew exactly what I meant’. I think that he was upset more because it was so long before he found out rather than because of what had happened’.
From a booklet (144 pages) published by ‘Bentley Drivers Club Ltd, Long Crendon, Bucks, England’ Printed by Munro & Scott Ltd, Perth Scotland.
Extract R.G. May 05