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Les Crawford: Early days with HMSO OMTS


Les Crawford joined HMSO as a mechanic in the 1960s and retired as Manager OMTS nearly 20 years ago. I first encountered him as Litho Foreman (he took over from Charlie Goodwin) and I remember his stories of once owning a 1925 Rolls Royce (he sold it for considerably more than the £250 it cost him) and if you had shaken hands with him you would have known that (like Frank Meads of Basildon) he had the grip of a boxer. Useful when a Chief Superintendent of Typists got out of control, but as usual I digress. He contributes the following:

‘You might be interested in how I came to join HMSO. In the late 1950s I was working for the MOD on Salisbury Plain, repairing Army typewriters etc. Then, in 1965, a directive from HMSO stated that in future all repairs and maintenance of office machinery would be undertaken by HMSO. Naturally I was a bit put out by this as my job was under threat and my colleagues at that time wound me up into writing to HMSO complaining that they were putting me out of work and what, if anything were they going to do about it?

In due course I received a card about the size of a visiting card saying that my letter was receiving consideration. This was followed by a letter inviting me to meet one Mr R Towersey (Chief Foreman, OMTS at the time: he joined HMSO in 1929 aged 14 and retired as Assistant Manager ). I attended an interview and took a trade test, then offered a post as OMRS Mechanic at Salisbury on a three month probationary basis. I was given a workshop, telephone, loads of spare parts and a mini-van, and told that all repairs to office equipment in Government Departments within a 30 mile radius of Salisbury were my responsibility. One year later  I was told that my three months probationary period was over and I could consider my transfer from MOD as permanent.’
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