Vic Heighton

Does anyone remember Vic Heighton? If the name is familiar but you can't can't quite place him then he was a refrigeration engineer who had worked with the New Zealand Shipping Company before transferring over to Overseas Containers Limited (OCL) in the 1960s. The book British Box Business - A History of OCL edited by Alan Bott OBE makes mention of his importance to the company in those early years:

"One of the first shipments of refrigerated container cargo to Australia, a large consignment of fish fingers, was found on arrival to be inedible. A bonded resin known as GRP, used in the construction of the container lining, had tainted the cargo. Considering the many technical issues that the R&D team had dealt with successfully and that, in Vic Heighton, OCL had the services of an extremely competent refrigeration engineer, the occurrence of styrene taint was a cruel, costly shock. It meant that all the 'reefer' containers had to to be taken out of service and their linings replaced. In old age, Monteath could still not account for how the problem had gone undetected. He recalled an inspection visit to the container manufacturers, Bonallack's in East Anglia, when Howard Wilson, James Harmer, Vic Heighton and I went into several containers to check the quality of construction. He concluded we must have thought that they just smelt new.... Bonallack could not have realised that there might be a problem But there was no doubting the expense of putting matters right. Despite every practical indication of its success, accumulated losses for the Australia service in 1976/70 and 1970/71 would amount to £8 million, of which more than half were attributable to the Dolphin service. OCL's Europe-Australia service would not come into profit until 1972, the third year of full operation. During 1972, the Principals decided that these losses should be written off."

[Pages 78/79, British Box Business - A History of OCL edited by Alan Bott OBE]

Vic Heighton sadly died in the mid-1980s. His family have approached us to ask if we might be able to put them in touch with anyone who worked with and remembered Vic. If you do, then please get in touch by sending an email to

Many thanks.