CATERPILLAR MAN DON STAYS IN TOUCH
THE CATERPILLER MAN!
Former Mone Brothers employee Don Hendrie, 90 next January, has a fair few tales to tell from his 43 years operating machinery for the Leeds-based recycling and quarry firm!
Don, who now lives in rural Staffordshire, retired at the ripe old age of 82 but still pays regular visits to Mone Brothers’ headquarters in Morley to catch up with his former workmates.
Born near Ilfracombe, Don spent his first 20 years in Devon developing a keen interest in machinery through his association with local farming.
Don explained: “I moved away from Devon to work for construction firm George Wimpey on a variety of jobs including one of the UK’s biggest oil refineries and abroad in Europe for a few years. In 1970 I started working for Mone Brothers through my association with Phil Mone who I’d worked with before he co founded the business.
“Between 1973 and 1975 I worked on the Humber Bridge on behalf of London-based contractors John Howard who had sub contracted Mone Brothers to carry out a lot of the muck shifting and excavations.
“It was an incredible job to work on with my excavator hoisted inside the two south side columns using a crane. I was working below the water line for most the time. It didn’t scare me one bit. I just got on with the job.
“I also worked on land for the rope anchorage foundations which involved digging down 300 feet where concrete beams were used to secure each of the many cables used to stabilise the columns,” he added.
To this day Don could tell you in detail all about the different layers of clay and sand that sit below the Humber river!
“I still haven’t been over the Humber Bridge but have viewed it from both the north and south sides. I’m still proud of what I did there. I still think it’s one of the most impressive examples of civil engineering anywhere in the world,” added Don who worked alongside good friend Johnny Gallagher, a veteran of 52 years service with Mone Brothers.
Don’s passion is for Caterpillar machinery which he describes as “reliable and hard working machines that just allow you to get on with the job.
“I’ve even got a few in my glass cabinet at home albeit the much smaller toy versions. I’ve spent a lot of my working life sat inside a variety of Caterpillars and I can honestly say I enjoyed every second,” added Don.