JCB mourns death of one of its pioneers

Aaron Morby 8 years ago
Share

Tributes have been paid to one of the first ever people to work at JCB who has died at the age of 87.

John Wheeldon was the sixth person recruited by company founder Joseph Cyril Bamford in August 1948.

He went on to become the company’s first ever demonstrator, before going on to set up JCB’s Training School and later becoming visits manager.

He retired in 1990 after 42 years’ service, later returning part-time as a tour guide.

Father-of-two John, formerly of Combridge, near Rocester and latterly of Uttoxeter, also started a family tradition of working for JCB.

His daughter Jane Staley is JCB Chairman Lord Bamford’s PA and this month herself marks 50 years’ service with the company. The great-grandfather passed away peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday at his home.

Lord Bamford was taught how to drive JCB machines by John. He said today: “I knew John from when I was a very young child because he was one of the first people my father employed.

“He was a true gentleman and a very loyal employee. My sympathies go out to Jane and all the family at what is a very sad time.”

Before becoming one of JCB’s first employees, John Wheeldon also had the distinction of being one of JCB’s first customers.

He worked on farms between Uttoxeter and Alton before he joined the company and when he decided to buy himself a screw-tipping trailer in 1946, he purchased one from Mr Bamford.

January 1964 and John Wheeldon (right) carries Mr Bamford aloft with colleague Bill Hirst after a £250,000 employee bonus is announced
John Wheeldon helps to carry Joe Bamford aloft after a company-wide bonus was announced in 1964

In an interview in 1995 to mark JCB’s 50th anniversary, Wheeldon recalled: “I was one of Mr Bamford’s earliest customers and after I bought one of his screw tipping trailers, he would send other customers to see me to understand the capabilities his products.

When I joined JCB, Mr Bamford said I could work as a general hand but I would have to learn how to weld and he would teach me, which he did.”

Latest plant news

Vac UK puts in another giant order for £10m of machines

20 new Longo Rhino excavators add to specialist's impressive fleet
4 months ago
Vac UK

Construction materials cost increases hit 40-year high

Steel and timber soar quickest with rises set to continue next year
9 months ago

Cementation Skanska switches all large-scale plant to bio-fuel

Piling contractor commits to Green D+ fuel after big HS2 site trial
9 months ago

JCB targets first hydrogen diggers by end of 2022

Plant giant is investing £100m in developing super-efficient hydrogen engines
10 months ago

House builder backs plant warning cameras on all sites

Countryside commits to AI proximity warning cameras on all site telehandlers
1 year ago

Police launch specialist plant theft busting unit

ACE unit will focus on tackling organised plant theft gangs
1 year ago

On-board breaker takes suction excavator to new level

Specialist manufacturer cracks problem with world first design innovation
1 year ago

Construction plant shortages start to bite

Smaller excavator delivery dates being pushed to 2022
1 year ago

Laing O’Rourke joins switch to electric cars

Plan to transition 1,000-car fleet to all-electric by 2025
2 years ago

JCB to hire 400 agency workers in production push

Demand for machines has rebounded sharply in Europe and North America
2 years ago

Strong trading lifts hirer P Flannery revenue to £116m

Revenue soars to record high for fast-growing plant hirer
2 years ago

Plant hire firm plans £33.8m tourism development

Perthshire site will see construction of hotel, lodges and transport museum
2 years ago

New pothole machine delivers road repairs four times faster

JCB Pothole Pro machine can repair a pothole in under eight minutes and at half the cost of a road gang
2 years ago

Wernick acquires Robert Purvis Plant Hire’s portable accommodation fleet

Wernick boosts presence in Scotland
2 years ago

Plant hirer fined £220k after crane nearly hits apprentice

Court hears how apprentice forced to leap for his life
2 years ago

JCB launches electric telehandler and dumper

Stand-alone rapid charger unit also unveiled to support E-Tech range
2 years ago

City Hire expands guaranteed tool hire service

Equipment delivery time guarantee extended beyond London
2 years ago
City Hire

Three sisters set-up plant hire business

Finnegan sisters buy first kit after securing funding deal
2 years ago

Fox Bros snaps up north west hirer Clive Hurt

North West haulier and earthworks contractor now on the hunt for bigger jobs
2 years ago

Speedy trials electric taxis as tool delivery vans

Converted red taxicabs can carry two pallets up to 800kg
2 years ago

Major plant hirer Vp sees revenues rebound

Hire revenues back to 80% of pre-Covid level
2 years ago

Flannery trials first electric tele at HS2 site

Skanska Costain Strabag JV to roll out more machines across HS2
2 years ago

Tower crane lifts end long climb to work for operators

Laing O'Rourke trials mast climbing lifts for tower crane operators at London site
2 years ago

JCB powers up first hydrogen fuelled digger

JCB in race to lead the world on hydrogen-powered plant
2 years ago

Self driving plant to be standard on road jobs by 2035

Highways England launches 15-year plan for a 'digital revolution'
2 years ago

JCB switches to online sales for first time

Micro, mini excavators and one tonne dumpers can now be bought online
2 years ago

JCB plans to cut 950 jobs

JCB chief warns furlough scheme was never going to be enough to cope with demand halving
2 years ago

New trainee plant operator scheme ready to launch

Industry and client-led apprenticeship will help to train next generation of operators
2 years ago

JCB resumes production at five UK factories

Thermal imaging cameras to be used in factories to ID workers with fevers
2 years ago

Plant theft soars as construction sites close

Thieves taking advantage of coronavirus impact to steal site equipment
2 years ago

Contractor services