Joe D'Amant Snr
Joseph Alexander P D'Amant (1903 - 1971)
Joe D’Amant was born in Islington on 19th October 1903, and joined Herbert & Sons in 1925 having only a few months previously completed his apprenticeship with the railways.
He started in the then newly formed electrical section in Cowcross Street, Smithfield, engaged in receiving mincers from the docks, preparing and installing them. At that time we were importing the Steiner electric mincer from the U.S.A., a comparatively new machine taking the place of hand operated or belt driven units. Initially we offered no service contract, however as the mincer business developed so Joe transferred full time to the service department.
Joe married Lily Pryke in 1926, and their first son Joe Jnr was born in Islington on 31st March 1927. Joe Snr was delighted to be joined in the service department by Joe Jnr when he came out of the army in March 1948.
In September 1954 Joe made the change from Service Engineer to Salesman – always a difficult move, and after some soul searching months made a great success of the job, always gaining the confidence of the customer with his friendly and frank manner. The Lion News reported that ‘The keynote of Joe D’Amant’s character is loyalty and service. Always ready to go out of his way to help anyone to whom he felt a responsibility at any time of the day or night, whether a problem was with a customer, the Company or a friend.’
Joe retired on 24th December 1970 after 45 years with the Company, the Lion News recording that ‘Mr. Skates made a presentation of a gold watch on behalf of his colleagues and Mrs. Walker presented a bouquet for Mrs. D’Amant. Mr. A.J. Herbert in a few words thanked him for his loyal service to the Company’ and he was ‘presented with an engraved silver cigarette case and cheque’ at a later ceremony.
Joe and Lily settled into a bungalow in St. Albans, and Joe continued to put in a few hours each week with a local butcher, but unfortunately he collapsed and died only 4 months after retirement, on Saturday 24th April 1971.