Down memory lane, December 22 2017

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A recent Down memory lane solved part of the problem posed by the Facebook picture of the famous West Coast Leyland Royal Tiger Middle Door bus, SB 8500 and its driver ‘Lord ‘ Jock McKay and colleagues.

The picture was taken on Tarbert pier  in 1959 and the two other drivers were Ian Campbell from Lochgilphead and John McDougall from Tarbert.

The mystery bus conductor was identified, by John Martin from Gigha, as schoolboy, Ronald Roberts, working at a holiday job on the buses.

In addition the conductor himself got in touch. Professor Ronald Roberts, who now lives at Ardnacross, said he was not surprised so few people recognized him, as he himself had forgotten what he used to look like with so much hair.

However, he well remembered the occasion.

From the Heritage Centre collection Mr Roberts found another couple of pictures taken at the same time.

One gives a better view of the bus, the first real luxury coach in the fleet, for which Jock McKay was the trusted driver.

The other shows Jock McKay and Ian Campbell along with Dolly Johnson and two Barra girls, waitresses in the Tarbert Hotel .

Summer student conductors were a feature of the Tarbert bus route at that time and most of them went on to successes in their subsequent careers.

Apart from Professor Roberts, who among other things, in his post bus conducting life led UN Missions and was honoured by the King of Thailand, several other West Coast conductors also had distinguished careers.

Peter McKinlay became an international badminton player, head of the Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish Tourist Board.

He hit the headlines as a submarine motorist this year after sumerging his car at Portavadie on his way to a Campbeltown school reunion.

John Jackson McKay became a government minister and deputy speaker in the House of Lords. Archie Smith McGlynn became HM Chief Inspector of Schools.

Roberts reckoned that the West Coast job was the best he ever had and Jock McKay was his mentor for all sorts of useful things he never learned in school.

Jock McKay, Ian Campbell, Dolly Johnson and two Barra girls. NO_c51buses01_jock_mckay

John Martin from Gigha. 25_c50memorylane01_John_Martin