Obituary of Harold's brother Bertram, known as Tram

"Tram" died in Birkenhead on 29th March 1969.

He spent his Boyhood af "Lingdale" near "Manor Hill", went to Birkeshead School and Rugby School and then went straight into "George Jager and Son" the Sugar Refining business founded by his father and grandfather. There is a cartoon of him on a "25 Club" Menu (at "The Old Garden") showing him dispensing treacle at a penny a jar, from a little trolley in a Liverpool back street. This picture may or may not be founded on fact; "but it shows Tram's characteristics of enthusiasm, a practical bent (inherited from his grandfather), enterprise and social concern.

His mechanical gifts found scope in his exploits with the Century Tandem, a four-wheeled cycle-car which he shared with his elder brother. The passenger sat in perilous comfort suspended by Cee springs between the front wheels. Almost every turning on the old Liverpool Ormskirk road marked the loss of the high or low gear chain or some other breakdown; but once the Tandem was triumphantly nursed as far as Tyndrum in the West Highlands. David MacIver, who accompanied them on a "Rudge Multi", was soaked and exhausted on arrival and Tram rubbed him all over with "Chillipaste". It was agreed that this saved David's life; but Tram was never forgiven!

He married Ruth MacIver in 1907 and they lived for all their married life at "Fernleigh". In the Great War Tram joined up early and became a Major in the Royal Tank Corps.

After the War it was not possible to resume Sugar refining; but Tram's zeal in selling syrup and treacle extended as far as regular visits to Sweden, and his inventive talent was not wholly frustrated. His "Extrajector", an ingenious measuring pump for getting the right amount of treacle into each tin is no doubt still in use. The "Furmanite" process for repairing leaks in live steam pipe lines was not his invention; but was a device after his own heart, and he sold it with Missionary fervour. George Jager and Son, after achieving its centenary, was finally submerged; but "Furmanite(1929) Ltd" was his continuing pride and will go further yet. It was at the age of 70, while demonstrating Furmanite's efficiency on a vicious and deafening steam leak that Tram lost his hearing. His grandchildren and great grandchildren remember him as infinitely patient and kind but a sadly deaf old gentleman.

In the 20's Tram converted a "T" type Ford funiture van into a primitive caravan with lean-to tent. As it was the day of "plain vans" it came marked simply with the letter "Q". Hence it was called Quan. He and Ruth took their four children, and sometimes one or two others, touring in remote parts. One oddity of the "Model T" was that if starting was difficult, and it often was, it helped to jack up the back axle and let a wheel spin. Tram did this in Mid-Cardiff and elsewhere. In later years he and his family and many friends had the joy of a holiday cottage at Ambleside, and later at Low Water End, Coniston.

He was for ten years a Birkenhead Town Councillor and became Chairman of the Ferries Committee. As a Freemason he was keen and very loyal to his Lodge and advanced to high office in the craft.

He was a keen and devout attender both at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Birkenhead, where he was for many years an Elder, and also in the Church of England, which had the privilege of his funeral, and he was immensely proud when his son Teddy was ordained. Me was proud also of the other members of his family; and in his eighty's I remember his glee as he told tales about his grandfather George. But alas, I cannot remember the tales.

G.J.[GJ4]