My family was in the haulage business in the 1970's. We had a contract with a Bermondsey firm to deliver goods all over Merseyside. The London articulated lorry would arrive at 6 am and we would unload it onto our smaller lorries.
One morning the unloading was disrupted. One of our drivers had spotted a crate with the label "1 human specimen", destination Ireland (via Collingwood dock). The initial reaction was disbelief and laughter. The crate was stacked under a consignment of cheese power and assorted other crates.
The boss (my mam) went ballistic. She rang up the Bemondsey firm at 8am ( their office hours) and gave them down the banks, mainly wanting to know what was in the crate. The phone lines were hot, and a couple of hours later the mystery was solved. Bermondsey had been duped into relaying the crate by another firm. The crate contained a dead man returning from Australia to his Irish homeland. The story has many twists and turns, but I'll get to the ending.
My mam put the triplicate consignment sheet for the crate into her Olivetti typewriter and typed boldly;-
TREAT AS ONE OF YOUR OWN
My brother, Les, was given the task of delivering the crate to Collingwood dock, his lorry being made as tidy as possible. His arrival at the dock carrying a solitary crate was already expected. A cortege of dockers helped unload the crate and escort it on board the ship.
Hopefully the Irishman's journey ended peacefully, RIP.
What happened to the cheese powder? Well, that's a story for another day.
PART 2 A tale of cheese powder in the 1970's summer heat