SITTING in his home in West Street at Lindley, William McCaw still seethes at the founder of one of Huddersfield’s most famous firms.
“My father had nothing but contempt for David Brown – as do I,” he said.
William, 83, is angry that his father William Sr has never been recognised for the design work he did for David Brown Tractors more than 60 years ago.
He said: “I was disgusted when I read the David Brown Story. There’s no mention of my father in that book.”
William McCaw Sr was born in Glasgow in 1908. A skilled designer with glowing references from every company he worked for, he started at the fledgling David Brown Tractors in 1937.
William said: “He worked on the Vak 1 agricultural tractor. My father designed everything except the engine. When the tractor went on display at the Windsor Great Park Agricultural Show in 1939 it was a great success and David Brown got plenty of orders.
“But David Brown brought in a man called Dr H E Merrett as director. He interfered with my father’s work.”
William Sr left the company in 1939 and moved down to Yeovil with his wife Margaret and young William.
However, he was forced to return to David Brown after war broke out.
William explained: “In May 1940 the Government brought in labour control, which meant the entire nation’s workforce was nationalised.
“In late 1940 he got his papers sending him back to Huddersfield. My father was gutted and David Brown was furious.”
In 1941 William Sr returned to David Brown to design a tractor for towing aircraft. But relations between the two men remained frosty.
William said: “David Brown didn’t speak to him. Again he brought in Dr Merrett and again he started interfering.”
When William Sr’s work was complete he left for Steels Industries in Sunderland, leaving his wife and son behind.
William said: “My father was very industrious. He lived for his work. He had put in so much work at David Brown that it broke my family up.”
William worked as an apprentice engineer at the company, while his mother was employed by the tax office.
Despite designing two important vehicles, William Sr was not mentioned in the 1960 book The David Brown Story, nor in subsequent histories of the firm.
William said: “I think my father should have got credit for what he did.”
William Sr retired in 1984 and moved to Newsome, where he died in 1995.