“The person driving the tractor is my late father, Professor W Steeds, at the time head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham Wilts (now merged with Cranfield University).
The other people in the photos may be Dowty employees.
I don’t know whether the firm carried on with the experiment of Hydraulic Transmissions for tractors (or other vehicles).
I know that my father visited Dowty’s intermittently from the 1940s through to the 60s; he was there on 25 May 1959 when the photos may have been taken, or it may have been 1960, but unfortunately his diary for that year is missing
One of the photos appeared in the ‘Field’ magazine at around that time.
My father had close contacts with Dowty’s; he used to take parties from Staff courses (Army Staff not College staff) at the RNCM on visits, and he used his contacts to keep abreast of developments in the firms designs and manufacturing processes. He wrote textbooks on the Motor Vehicle, and on Engineering Materials and Production Processes.
The two photos taken at the Dowty factory, probably circa 1959, of him driving a tractor, fitted with hydraulic drive, up quite a steep test ramp. This wouldn’t have been on one of the Staff Courses but probably a demonstration organised by the factory; they must have asked for volunteers and he is being watched by a few bemused, if not concerned, onlookers!”
Our thanks to Robert Steeds for sharing his fathers story and use of the photos