Former British Army Royal Marine Grant Easton is a happy Aussie truckie who drives a Volvo Fh-16 Euro5 600 for Brisbane company Barakel Pty Ltd.
The 54-year-old is an interesting driver who I saw parked up at the Bohle Puma north of Townsville.
“I served for the Royal Marines for about 12 years and have been a truckie here in Australia on and off for many years since then,” he said.
Easton had brought up furniture from Brisbane. “I came up here to North Queensland recently and got sent to Mareeba to pick up a backload,” he said.
According to Easton, parts of the coastal Bruce Highway need urgent work which is a sentiment expressed by many drivers. “They have been doing it up for decades and it still seems to be a problem in stretches. There is a lot of roadworks as well which slows us down,” he said.
Born in Scotland in the village of Ayr, Easton has no sign of an accent and said that there were definitely not enough suitable rest areas. “The ones there are usually are full of vans or cars and you have to drive up the highway to find something suitable which is a problem,” he said.
The first truck he drove was a White Road Commander and his main hobby when off duty is riding his almost new Triumph Motorbike. “It has only about 1000km on the clock,” he said.
Easton’s arms are covered in impressive tattoos. “I have one tattoo from every country I served in with the Royal Marines which I consider souvenirs. But they are expensive these days,” he said.
Easton said he lost some earnings whilst driving local around Brisbane at the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic but has bounced back.
“I started doing highway long distance work and now get a good pay packet each week,” he said.
When away, Easton keeps in regular contact with his partner and was talking to her the day I saw him.
I speak to more and more drivers these days who used to serve in the Australian Defence Forces where they drove different trucks. But this is the first occasion I have yarned to one who was a Royal Marine.
They all tell me it was that military service that helped them to get a job as a truckie when discharged.
Lots of youngsters from various regions are joining the ADF especially with a shortage of jobs in many industries but not so much in the road transport industry.