Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drivi9ng Ambition Lasted a Lifetime

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drivi9ng Ambition Lasted a Lifetime

Article excerpt

Byline: sarah.jeffery

DRIVING has always been a passion for a former taxi driver, William McNeill, and it all started with a Rudge motorcycle.

Born in May, 1916, William grew up in the West End of Newcastle on Farndale Road with his family. As a young child he can remember paying a penny to get the horse drawn bus over the High Level Bridge.

William's passion for vehicles and driving dates back to the early 1930s, when he learnt to ride a motorbike as soon as he could get his licence.

At the time, this also enabled sixteen-year-old William to drive a car.

Soon after this William took his HGV and PSV licenses, as he knew he could get a job as a driver as there was a shortage of drivers in the 1930s because only the relatively wealthy could afford a car.

William then got a job with Howe''s wedding and funeral company, where he drove a Rolls Royce even though most of the hearses were still horse drawn at that time. He then moved to Tyne Taxis when it started and worked there until 1939.

When the Second World War broke out William was conscripted into the RAF and joined the Transport Command when they discovered he could drive all vehicles. He was stationed in Northern Ireland in February 1940 and spent the following two years working in the docks unloading and delivering all the armaments and armoured vehicles which arrived on board ships from the United States. These included cranes, low loaders and different parts of planes, which were then distributed across the country.

William was billeted with Mr Andy Paterson, of Paterson''s shortbread biscuit company, and a Mr Eccles in Limavady, Northern Ireland. The three of them used to drink in a pub in Limavady run by Annie Quigley, who allowed them to drink in the back room of the pub.

After spending 18 months in Northern Ireland, William was posted to North Africa for four years mainly in Alexandria, Egypt where he continued as a driver. …

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