On Thursday afternoon on the 24th April 1975 I was called into the chief draftsman's office
and asked if I could go to Japan on 30th April to take the place of the Contract Manager. My
immediate reaction was "yes please", but I did not have a valid passport. That was not a
problem as I could get photographs, fill in application forms and send to the London office
that day, and they would arrange a passport. I departed early morning from Newcastle for
London, together with a cine film in a can, which I had to keep close by me in my hand
luggage. I picked up the passport from London Office and my tickets from the travel agents
and caught the flight to Tokyo, via Anchorage, from Heathrow. This was a brilliant new
experience; travelling intercontinental in a Boeing 747. I managed to find others on the plane
who were on the same mission and we all gathered for bus transport to the city centre. All
the members were staying at the same hotel, but I was booked in at the Palace Hotel, opposite
The Imperial Palace. I picked up my case and set off across the city to the hotel, arriving
early evening. I felt extremely lonely in this strange city so I decided to find the bar, which
had a semi circular counter and seating. I looked around and could only see two faces that
were not Japanese, taking evening drinks. When these people went home I made my way
across to one of the English looking faces and asked if he was English, to which the reply
was "True Brit Man". He was the Export Sales Manager for Bell's Whiskey.
The event was the second British Marine Equipment Exhibition held at the British Export
Marketing Centre, which opened in 1973. The exhibition coincided with a visit by the Queen
and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Doxford Engines exhibited models of a 67-J4 and Seahorse Engines. I was assisted by a
Marine Manager and a female interpreter from our agents in Kobe. The young girl was
extremely keen to learn about the engine and took over once the exhibition started, only
requiring assistance when someone asked an awkward question.
Doxford's MD and Sales Manager from the London office also stayed a few days in Tokyo.
The week ended with a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh, who stopped at the stand and he had
obviously been well briefed by his staff on our participating members.
The MD and Sales Manager left for Australia the next day. I packed the engines up to
transport them back to England, and packed the film again in my hand luggage. I left Tokyo
after a very educational and enjoyable trip, and returned to Newcastle where, on arrival, I was
paged to call at the desk to be told to return immediately to Doxford's and on doing so I was
relieved of the cine film which was to be sent back to Australia for the MD's use. This
becoming a very well travelled film. This film is now deposited with the museum and the
reason the Contract's Manager could not attend was that he was busy on the 58-JS3 Engine
contracted to Appledore, the engine type which is on show at Beamish. The Seahorse Engine
was responsible for some of the design features of the three cylinder engine.