Bill Hirst, who was the third person recruited by Joseph Bamford in 1947, died on 5th January 2020 at the age of 86.
JCB chairman Lord Bamford said: “Bill and his generation helped my father to build a company which became a real force in the world of construction equipment. Bill was very proud to have worked for JCB and will be remembered by many, many people from the early days of the company. I’d like to offer my condolences to Bill's wife Jean and all her family at this very sad time.”
Bill Hirst joined JCB as a 14-year-old tea boy on a salary of £1 a week when the company was based at stables at Crakemarsh, three miles down the road from current headquarters at Rocester.
Apart from a two-year stint of National Service – he was posted as a Royal Military Policeman to Kenya – he spent his entire career with JCB.
He spent 10 years as welding foreman, five in research and then joined the service and spares department as service engineer, later becoming warranty and final inspection manager.
He was awarded an MBE for services to export in 1975 and became technical services director in 1981.
He retired in 1991.