Obituary 11 Mar 2021

Dai Heycock – 1933 - 2020

The industry lost one of its more colourful characters when Dai Heycock died last July.

Born in Neath, Glamorgan in 1933 Dai, a keen rugby player in his younger days, started his working career in the coal mines of South Wales in the UK where he was promoted to Overman.

Dai in his element, underground on the Angel Station upgrade in London in the early 1990s
Dai in his element, underground on the Angel Station upgrade in London in the early 1990s

In 1963 he moved into civil tunnelling, joining Kinnear Moodie on the construction of the Victoria Line of the London Underground at Oxford Circus. He was responsible for the complex upper ticket hall work carried out beneath the temporary decking erected to keep the traffic flowing around this major junction of the city.

From there he moved on to a succession of projects around the UK including sewer and water contracts in Coventry and Milton Keynes, on the Newcastle Metro, the Dinorwic pumped storage hydro project in Wales, the undersea Channel Tunnel between France and England, and the London Underground Jubilee Line and CTRL, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link as the first dedicated high speed railway in the UK.

Dai also work overseas on the Kariba Dam project between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Greater Cairo Wasterwater project in Egypt and on the underground MTR, Mass Transit Railway, in Hong Kong.

Through his career Dai became technically competent in both soft ground and rock tunnelling and was of the school that preferred to spend a lot of his working day with the working teams.

There cannot be many of the senior members of the BTS, British Tunnelling Society who have not encountered Dai in their working careers. While in Hong Kong, Dai was one of the founding members of the Hong Kong Tunnelling Society and was its first chairman.

Dai was a great character who will be remembered by all those who worked with him for his sense of friendship, humour and many humorous sayings. Dai is remembered as saying, when asked for a reference: ”I don’t remember him, and if I can’t remember him then he couldn’t have been much good”.

Many of the tunnelling fraternity will have their own fond remembrances of Dai who will be missed by those who knew and worked with him.


Add your comment

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and comments. You share in the wider tunnelling community, so please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language professional.
In case of an error submitting Feedback, copy and send the text to
Name :

Date :

Email :

Phone No :

   Security Image Refresh
Enter the security code :
No spaces, case-sensitive