Nice surprise for chauffeur

Chauffeur Bill Goater is given a light for his farewell cigar by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Jack Blair in the driving seat
Chauffeur Bill Goater is given a light for his farewell cigar by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Jack Blair in the driving seat
The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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This was the day the tables were turned on chauffeur Bill Goater.

It was the June day in 1970 when he retired after 44 years’ driving for Portsmouth Corporation, a period which included chauffeuring 13 lord mayors.

The cigarette case presented to chauffeur Bill Goater on his retirement with the engraved names of all the lord mayors he served.

The cigarette case presented to chauffeur Bill Goater on his retirement with the engraved names of all the lord mayors he served.

He is seen here being given a light for his celebratory cigar from then lord mayor Councillor Jack Blair before Portsmouth’s first citizen drove him around the city for a farewell tour.

The photographs come from his son Cecil, of Henderson Park, Eastney, who recalls some of the moments during his father’s long service.

He said: ‘I remember in the 1940s, when I was an apprentice motor engineer, he used to pick me up at lunchtimes to run me home in the Rolls.

‘The car had been owned before the war by the Japanese embassy and had the Japanese rising sun flag inlaid in the dashboard in mother of pearl.’

He said that if the lord mayor had to make an early start his father would bring home the chain of office the previous night.‘My mother would worry like mad in case we had burglars. I wonder what the insurance company would have thought about it,’ he said.

Cecil added: ‘He used to drive lord mayors to garden parties at Buckingham Palace.

‘The drivers had to park at the rear and one night a lady came out to see if they had everything they needed.

‘It was the Queen Mum and dad never forgot that.

‘He drove right up to his retirement and as far as I know he never had an accident.’