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• On May 13 William McMillan was elected national chairman of the Road Haulage Association. If circumstances 40 years ago had been different he might well have risen to prominence in a profession quite unlike transport. As an academically minded young man in the sixth form of Glasgow High School his heart was set on medicine and his eye on university. Normally this would have been his path, but these were the abnormal times of the depression, and so instead he was persuaded to leave school and join his father in the business which the latter had just bought after disposing of his own transport interests.
William McMillan does not now regret that his career was changed. Medicine lost its attraction for him years ago, and to the fascination of transport is added the absorbing insight into many of the trades and industries it serves: in his case, the chemical and food industries in particular. Although James Hemphill today is noted as a major tank operator, it was not until 1937 that the firm bought its first tanker—a steam waggon hauling tar. Its success was shortlived: customers were so insistent on sharing the cost advantages of bulk transport that the rates soon became uneconomic. It was not until after the War that the brothers William and Stewart McMillan took the plunge into bulk liquids—spurred on by the exclusion of this traffic from road haulage nationalization.
Mr McMillan has been an RHA stalwart since post-war days. and his national chairmanship follows sub-area and Scottish area chairmanships, bulk liquid chairmanship, many years on the national council and nearly five years as a national vice-chairman. Now in the saddle, he is encouraged to hope that the current progress in transport labour relations in Scotland may, during his term. provide a pattern for the rest of the country— and show the way to disbandment of the Road Haulage Wages Council. He hopes, too, to see a Training Board more tailored to the requirements of the industry than the present RTITB, and he speaks as one who has served on the Board itself.
Precise, quietly spoken and gentlemanly in manner, William McMillan does not show his 57 years. He keeps fit with golf in the summer and strenuous Scottish country dancing in the winter, and enjoys bridge and reading when his job and his RHA duties allow the time. B.C.