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Published: 12 August 2015      

Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw

Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw, one of the leading figures in the fork lift truck industry, has died at the age of 84

With his brother Trevor Bowman-Shaw, Sir Neville built up the Lancer Boss FLT business starting from the early 1950s. Exports started early and in some cases the company accepted goods in exchange for FLTs because the customers in the emerging Eastern Bloc had no hard currency.

The business became a major employer in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, to where the company moved from London in 1959, making sideloaders and FLTs. It was responsible for major innovations over the years, including the 'B' series of "open mast" ECH mast trucks - at one time, the 'B5' was the world's top ECH mast truck seller - a "tricycle" configuration 30t-1200 ro-ro FLT and a heavy duty (36t-1200) FLT with hydrostatic drive (before anyone else tried it at such a lift capacity).

Lancer Boss went into receivership in 1994 because of difficulties at its German affiliate Steinbock Boss. Subsequently Lancer Boss was acquired by its arch-competitor in the small truck market Jungheinrich at a knock-down price in a move that completely bypassed the Bowman-Shaws, and it was closed down in 2003. Another Lancer Boss acquisition, Hyco in Italy in 1991, had also contributed to the UK parent's difficulties.

In 1997, Sir Neville founded Samuk and started importing Chinese-made Hangcha FLTs into the UK and helped the company develop its range. Sir Neville retired in 2012 and the business was sold.

Sir Neville served as executive chairman of Lancer Boss Group (1966-94), chairman of Boss Trucks (1959-94), chairman of Bowman Lift Trucks Ltd (1996-2005), and chairman of Samuk Ltd (1997-2012). He was a member of the Design Council (1979-84) and the British Overseas Trade Board (1982-85). A former high sheriff of the county of Bedfordshire, Sir Neville was knighthood in 1984 for services to exports.


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