George Taylor, 1943–2018

The tunnelling community gathered with George’s partner Sue, his children Caroline and Graham and his wider family and friends late June 2018 to mark the passing of George William Frederick Taylor – Fitter and Friend. A service was held at Charing Crematorium followed by refreshments at Lympne Castle, Kent, where George had celebrated his 70th birthday some years before.

During the service the eulogy was given by George's brother, Philip, who had travelled from Australia, and a personal tribute was also made by David Shepherd (Crossrail/Bechtel) who had worked with George on many tunnelling projects. David spoke of George's friendly nature, talent as a fitter and very industrious work ethic.

George worked as a tunnel fitter for Kinnear Moody in the early 1960s, soon progressing to Foreman Fitter and working on many tunnelling projects including the Newcastle Metro with Thyssen and with Tarmac on the Suez Road Tunnel, before returning to England to work on the Selby access tunnels for Mowlem.

He then worked on the Carsington Aqueduct project in Derbyshire before returning to Egypt for the Cairo waste water project with Lilley's. This was followed by work with Balfour Beatty on a rock tunnel at Saltash and then the Channel Tunnel, where he was Mechanical Superintendent on the largest tunnel project in the world at the time.

George then remained in Kent working for Sir Robert McAlpine on the Ramsgate sewer system before moving on to the Jubilee Line Extension at North Greenwich and Durand's Wharf and then working for Angle Globe at Folkestone, Fineturret at Workington, and Costain at Great Yarmouth. His skills and expertise then took him to work directly for Herrenknecht in Germany, manufacturing TBMs. He later returned to England, working for Murphy as Lead Fitter on the HS2 project under-Thames crossings at Swanscombe, followed by the cable tunnels at the Olympic Park in Stratford before returning to Ramsgate, Kent, on a TBM driven pilot tunnel.

Such was his work rate and skill, he would perform a shield strip over a weekend. As well as repairing and maintaining TBMs and tunnelling plant on a wide range of tunnel projects he was also able to perform other essentials on site such as fixing up the miners' cars after the inevitable regular crash damage!

One of George's final efforts, was to build a fearsome log splitter at his home in Kent.

It was powered by a large diesel engine and supported by a bank of tunnel boring machine hydraulic valves and hoses. George was very proud of it despite his friends and family being rather wary!

George was an old school tunnelling character, and has been described as: great craic, reliable, modest, unassuming, helpful and an extremely talented fitter who was a great mate to those who worked with him on so many significant tunnelling projects. He will be sadly missed by our industry.

Since George's funeral his family has made contact to say that over the years George talked warmly about his many friends in the tunnelling community and they wish to express their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of his tunnelling friends and colleagues for their support and attendance on the day of the funeral.