RECENTLY we courted controversy by publishing quite explicit pictures of car crashes in the mid-1960s, when primitive automobiles offered little protection to their passengers.

One of the pictures, which was later used in a police campaign against drink-driving, showed a coffin strategically placed in front of a wrecked car on the A1 north of Darlington.

“I found the article very interesting, especially the photo of the fireman removing a body from the crashed car. I'm 99.9 per cent certain that the fireman is my dad, Denis Kipling,” writes John Kipling.

“He had no qualms about removing dead folks as a result of accidents – he was the 'go-to' fireman for this type of job on his watch.

“His experience lead to him being asked by the Dennis company in the late 1960s to be involved in developing the 'Holmes Wrecker' (what the firemen called it) which Darlington introduced around 1970.”

A Holmes Wrecker consisted of a Holmes crane mounted on a Dennis chasis that was sent out to deal with motorway wrecks.