It's that time of year when I publish one of the issues of "Dave's GEN". So, as usual for the February issue, I begin by listing some of our former colleagues who sent me Christmas Cards.
Brian Bale, Jim Beard, Mike Bettenson, Gerry Bhagat, Ted Blanden, lan Boniface, Len Bovingdon, Cliff Bourne, Chris Broome-Smith. Ted Brown, Eric Clarke, Sam Coleman, Dave Coles, Alec Collyer, Brian Conroy, Ron Cooper, Derek Crane, Tony Darby, Ken Denny, Steve Dickens, Andy Ellen, Dave Eyre, Mike Faulkner, Denis Fisk, Norman Froggett, Roger Glover, John Hammond, Frank Kehoe, Dennis Laing, Fred Martin, Paul Mathew, Stan Mitchell, Joe Molloy, Joyce Muir. John Neil, Derek Oswald, Muriel Parr, Alan Portch, Keith Rich, Cyril Rose, Brian Shillum, Arthur Snewin, Dave Stanford, Ken Stinton, Peter Stroyan, John Sutton, Mike Tamblin, Ron Tattam, Roy Thurgood, John Towler, Glen Travell, Roy Trussell, Dave Walton, Mick Watson, Bill Werkendam, Geoff Wigley, Jim Wise, Derek Young, and Ray?
Now for brief extracts from the other Christmas Cards received, as well as letters etc
Norman Lawrence ... Still enjoy reading the "Gen" ...
Les Knightson ... Thank you for all your work in producing the "Gen" I am surprised at the vast range of activities carried, out by a lot of our ex-colleagues ...
Dave Oliver ... One more year gone passed Studd St, seems a long time ago but still interested in what my ex-colleagues are up to ...
Walter Keen ... Saw Les Roberts yesterday. Still enjoy "Bowls" ...
Barry Moore ... Thanks again for the "Gen" Keep 'em coming: I left work in May - no package, just fed up. Full story later ...
lan Torrance ... I have received a substantial amount of mail from Norman Froggett. He_is very talented with not only being a very able organist but well up in the electronics and recording equipment. Producing his own DVDs and CDs and it is a novelty for him (and Harry Jenn) about sending post or snail mail - rather than E-mails - and Text messaging - I'm really out of touch. By all accounts I'm supposed to be dead. Someone at a Club misheard (I guess) an announcement and thought it was me and from person to person and club to club the -sad' news got around over 30 clubs in Enfield, Ponders End, Waltham Cross and Edmonton. So from a Ghost who writes, wishing you a joyful and healthy 2005 ...
Brian Martin ... Thanks for all the hard work with the "Gen" throughout the year. Hope you are keeping well ...
Neil Caldecourt ... Another year has passed and thanks again for the efforts in maintaining the "Gen" ...
John Knight ... Another year gone and another good year for you in getting the Club Gen out. In October I became an elderly citizen and am now receiving my pension, it feels great. I'm waiting for a MR scan (5/6 months wait on NHS) to sort out either a Vascular or back problem. Otherwise I'm quite well. I'm still playing darts and I'm still doing gardens.
I was sorry to read about Jim Warner. It seems really like yesterday that I was down the basement with its electric light bulbs, but then everything about Studd Street seems like yesterday. We were talking yesterday about Studd St. Party at Christmas, partly for the kids and Robert my son (38) said that one year it was the only time he had seen me drunk. That was Brian Conroy's fault since he took a lot of home made wine
Frank Skinner ... Thanks for continuing editing and distribution of the "Test Section " news, it is much appreciated ...
Mike Stanton ... Hope you are well. My attempts to move to Spain have been temporary thwarted by my two sons who live at home. After an inspection tour in South Costa Blanca which added to our desire to move. Our two sons objected to losing their domestic staff - sorry parents, will try again in 2005. Further to my comments last year on "Bendy Buses" they seem to be multiplying very quickly. In fact there seem to be twice as many buses in London as compared to 1980 ...
Cyril Seabrook ... Hope everything is OK with you ... After 4 Xmas lunches in the past week I am now off to a keep fit class. It's a hard life!...
Mike Hayes ... Just to let you know that I'm still about enjoying retirement to the full. The golf has improved beyond my wildest dreams and at £180 per year fees, is great value for money:: Keep up the good work Dave, I always look forward to getting the "Gen" and hearing how the other "old lags" are doing. It was also great to see the Spurs beat Southamton 5-1 over the weekend. That really did upset a lot of my "Hampshire Hog" friends ...
Fred Petrie ... Once again I must thank you for producing the "Gen" It is good to hear the news of those of us still left ...
Paul Hindell ... Thanks for the club Gen, its so nice to receive...
Doreen Tilley ... Thanks for Club Gen, it's so interesting to read so many names I remembered from Staff Duty, How time has flown. Looking forward to next "Gen" ...
Alan Williams ... Thanks for combining your good work on "Dave's Gen" Always a good read ...
Les Roberts ... Many thanks for the Club Gen, nice to know what's happening to all our old colleagues. Bumped into Walter Keen the other evening he was a C.A. in Studd Street. He seems hale and hearty. Hope you are keeping well. I am at present, thanks to God knows how many pills per day. All the best for 2005 ...
Terry Griffiths ... It is 46 years now since I left the Test Section
Tom Halsey ... Hope your health is holding up. We have had a reasonably good year so can't complain. One of these days I must go to a reunion As you probably know, the "Class of -56" had a get together this year; and we had a good old chat: ...
Bill Werkendam ... You are doing a great job ...
Vic Ware ... Keep up the good work Dave. It's good to receive the "Gen" and keep in touch ...
"Biddy" . Thank you for the regular supply of 'Gen' from some of the Oldums - I m beginning to experience "some of the indignities of advancing years" Now have to have a walking stick and have a Blue Badge for disabled parking in suitable locations. Funny enough my walking stick was a gift to me from Madge Jordan - it was Stan's - who some may remember in the last couple of years helped out many of the old lads around the Gp 24's circuits from the Studd St. Technical File. We had Madge with us for a couple of hours last week for a meal and a chat with some of the titbits from the October Gen ...
Dick Wakefield ... Had a visit to Spain with a view to living there, did not like it. Hope to visit Australia again next year ...
Denis Fisk ... I have retired from teaching, having reached the grand old age of 60. However, the BT and Teachers Pensions will not keep me in the luxury I am used to so I now have a full time laboratory technician job at the same school ...
Pete Perry ... Again my grateful thanks for continuing the 'Gen', Nostalgia is not what it was: ...
Bert Mead ... Many thanks for keeping the "Gen" going ...
Hedley Warner ... Thanks for publishing my piece on my dad....
Peter Stroyan ... Just a few lines to say that we have settled in here (Perth) very well and are progressing fairly, towards having the house as we would like it. I joined a golf club in the Spring and found out in October that, subject to planning permission, it is to be sold for housing development. This means that I shall receive free membership for life at another posh club or a substantial sum of money - still to be decided.
In June my wife and I went to Barcelona courtesy of two free air tickets from Ryan Air. Our visit coincided with the transit of Venus over the sun which we were able to observe using eye protectors left over from the eclipse of 1999. Not a particularly impressive sight but highly important scientifically and historically. It strikes me that a country like Spain can offer it least three suitable venues for the Olympics yet the UK is offering London yet again. What about Glascow, Newcastle, Manchester or even Bristol? I'm sure the national response would have been much greater if one of those had been proposed ....Have you considered distribution by e-mail? (NO:) I'd be quite happy to receive it in this form. My address is email@example.com ...
Fred Martin ... Thank you for sending me "Dave's GEN" Josh Hindmarsh used to pass his copies to me. I have been retired for twenty years(time passes qulckly) and I live a quiet life with my family. I moved to Southampton in 1968 with Josh Hindmarsh/Bill Peach/Mick Hayes/Frank Chanter to cover the Submarine Cable project at STC. I worked with you on the conversion of the "Bungalow" to a HT Lab (remember?) Happy Days. Please pass on my best wishes to all ...
Jim Beard ... My thanks for your recent splendid "Gen" - much appreciated all the hard work that you put into it. You must excuse my old fashion way of communicating i.e. pen and paper - I've failed to keep up with the modern age. I noticed Harry Jenn's comment that it's never too late to learn, he could be right so I'll bear it in mind!
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Warner but what a marvellous age. It was wonderful to read Hedley's memories of his dad and I agree with him, Jim was a true gentleman. I spent time with him at Group 8(STC) and you could not find a more reliable mate. I also reca11 the painting out of the photometry chambers - "of course in white" - I was quite boggled with the glare by the time the job was done.
I spent some good times in the basement workshop with Alf Lacey (remember him?). Incidentally, I too have a copy of the photo that Hedley found at his Dad's house. It is of a dinner held sometime around 1954 (can't be sure) but of course it is of the Branch Committee and was in "honour" and appreciation of Les Fox becoming president of th P.O.E.U. The venue was over a pub somewhere in the Tottenham Court area. A fine body of men - sadly, many not with us now, good memories though...
Harry Jenn ... Thanks for your "Dave's Gen" Keep up the good work ...
Joe Malloy...We have settled into village life now (Helpringham near Sleaford. Lincs) getting to know who runs the village and who think they run the village. The clientele at the local pub are now most welcoming though we have to be careful what we say about other people in the village (they are probably related!) Life is much more leisurely here, though it is difficult to get anyone to do any servicing or maintenance (bit like Studd St!!) I still travel to London once a month for a few pints and a chat. Once again thank you for all your efforts over years...
Pete Parry...The photograph on page 9(October 2004 Gen) I too have a copy of this. The occasion was the Annual Dinner of the Officers and Committee of the POEU at Studd St. The date was around mid 1950's. I seem to remember it was held at a pub somewhere in the Holloway Road. I am second on the right of the back row next to Buzz Billett. I remember most of the names but a few escape me. You'll note Les Fox, then President of the POEU, on the top table. I have a book of the history of the POEU. I anyone would care to borrow it, I would be pleased to send it.
Len Bovlngdon... Just.a short note to thank you once again for the newsletter, as I always enjoyed the latest issue with its news of old friends and colleagues it's always good to hear what others are up to.
Roger Glover's web site is well worth a visit. Loads of photos and snippets of news, the list of those ex-LTS members who have died makes depressing reading. It used to be everyone's aim to be number one on the TO seniority list, perhaps the goal now should be to be the oldest surviving member ...
Bill Walker ... I was interested to read Cleavers Coblers because I think that I was probably the "bearded wonder" referred to. Peter shouldn't feel too bad about not remembering my name for he was not alone. Now you
may think that is a bad thing - not to be remembered that is, but it stood me in good stead when I worked for the Test Section, particularly before I transferred to Bridgwater, for most of my early life with the Test Section was spent 'out' of Studd St. and at contractors - mainly because very few people could remember my name so when I did go out to contractors works I usually stayed out for a long time!!
Astonishingly, I have been retired for ten years and can still find plenty of useful things to do to fill my time, what with walking, cycling, gardening, DIY and, as Secretary, helping to run the Village Hall which, I must admit, takes a fair amount of time. My Wife and I purchased a tandem at the end of '03 but, due to health problems, we did not do much cycling last year but this year we both seem to be OK so it will be the year of the bike.
My health problems were due to my prostrate gland - I had developed cancer. I have had the offending organ removed, quickly, efficiently and painlessly, by courtesy of the wonderful NHS, and fortunately, the cancer had not spread. Now, I would not normally bang-on about this, but most of us "gentlemen" do, at some time or other, experience waterworks problems. My advice would be, do not delay in seeing your GP, for the earlier it is treated, the better the chance of recovery. Here endeth the lesson ...
Roy Lavrance ... Thanks for the latest "Gen" and all your work producing. I was also sorry to hear of the death of Len Wise. He and I were contemporaries in the early Fifties and knew each other well at that time. He
followed me into the "Traffic Officer" grade a year after I had departed the LTS and I bumped into him next and for the last time in one of the Telephone Managers Offices in East Anglia - Ipswich or Norwich I think.
I was making a HQs inspection visit and Len and I commiserated with each other over the parochial attitude in provincial offices. We agreed from his experience there and my recent experience in Canterbury, before promotion to HQs, that TTOs were not expected to think or make decisions for themselves, unlike mere TOs in the Test Section. We had both made ourselves unpopular with our provincial bosses fir taking too much on ourselves. By this time, TOs pay had leaped above TTO pay and there was no longer any incentive to stay except the difference in promotional ratios,
which in Traffic was 2 TTOs to 1 Level 1.
Two other contributions interested me. Kidbrooke was mentioned and caused me to remember marking hundreds of candlestick telephones (Tele 250s?) for scrap. What would they be worth now? Also, Malmesbury came up and I remember visiting the Pye laboratories in the early 80s when I headed the HQs marketing group which, in conjunction with engineers based at Anzani House, Felixstow, had spent 2 years trying to approve the first computer based large PABX from Pye. Was it the Bell Hotel there? Most of my work was done at Cambridge, however ...
P.S. Wasn't the man fourth from the left in the top photo the President of the POEU?...
Stan Bristowe-Stone is believed to have had Altzeimers Disease and had a fall causing a fractured hip. In hospital he got MRSA and died Easter Sunday 2004 age 87 years, (one month from 88).
Norman Frogett phoned to say that Frank Miller died 6th December age 81.He had Pneumonia.
The origins of the travelling funfairs of today can be traced back over many centuries to the times of the Roman Empire. . The very word "Fair" comes from the Latin "Feria", meaning holiday. The Roman festivals gradually vent into decline, being replaced by pagan and later religious festivals and feasts. Many were trading fairs and travellers from all over Europe would attend these events to trade goods of every description. Other fairs were known as hiring fairs, where people seeking employment would congregate to negotiate terms with those who had jobs to offer, these were mainly in agriculture.
Over the centuries fairs gradually changed, becoming more associated with entertainment and amusement. In the days before the advent of the cinema there was very little in the way of entertainment, so these travelling fairs were eagerly awaited from one year to the next in every town and village all over the country.
Early fairs were predominated by a wide variety of shows, ranging from the smallest peep show to the large portable theatres, with scenes from the latest naval battles of the day to the most skilful acrobats, jugglers, wire walkers and.actors. Only crude forms of roundabouts, swings and big wheels existed.
As with many industries, the arrival of the steam engine revolutionized the fairground. It was adapted to drive the roundabouts and the Showman's road locomotive was developed to-'haul the loads of the shows and living wagons from one fair to the next; and when fitted with a dynamo it could be used to generate electricity to illuminate the fair at night.
Roundabouts and shows gradually became larger and more elaborately decorated with richly gilded,and painted carvings, cut glass mirrors and twisted brass rod. The fairground organ, that normally stood in the centre of the roundabout, provided strident music to accompany the riders and was also driven by a small steam engine. The steam being provided from the boiler of the main engine that was used to drive the roundabout. The first harnessing of a steam engine to a roundabout is credited to Sidney George Soame of Marsham, a village about ten miles North of Norwich, it was used to drive a roundabout at Aylsham fair in the mid 1860s.
Notable builders of these steam driven fairground machines included, Savage of Kings Lynn, Tidman of Norwich and Walker of Tewkesbury Builders of steam road locomotives included Burrell of Thetford and Fowler of Leeds. It should be noted that many Showmen were pioneers of the cinema industry and the first sight of moving .pictures to the public in general would have been at a Bioscope show on the fairground.
For many years the Burton-on-Trent firm of Orton and Spooner had specialized in fairground decorating and carved work, show fronts and living wagons. About 1912 they started to produce the electric driven scenic railway, a development of the steam switchback. These machines consisted of eight electrically driven cars, each seating a dozen or so people, that ran on a circular track with two Hills of some 50ft. in diameter. The cars were carved in the forms of Dragons, Whales, Peacocks etc. A large fair organ stood in the centre and to the rear of this there would be scenery, probably in the form of a waterfall with water cascading down. It is generally thought that these roundabouts were the grandest of all to have stood on the British Fairground
Steam powered machines gradually gave way to electrically powered machines and amplified music has replaced the fair organ. Thankfully, there are still a number of Showmen who operate old time equipment and they should be thanked for giving us a chance to sample the atmosphere of the fairground of the past. The Showmen who travel the fairgrounds of today are descendants of families who have attended the same fairs and, most probably, have set up their shows and living wagons on the same spot for a number of centuries. There can surely be very few other groups of people apart from the Monarchy, who can make such a claim about their heritage. Fairs of all kinds were established only by a Royal Charter and the Lord of the fairground would farm out his rights to a lessee who would then pay a rent for his patch and Trade Fairs became a traditional way of life.
A fair may well be held in the town or in the countryside. Tan Hill Fair near Marlborough, Wiltshire, was purely for selling and buying sheep. Nottingham was known for selling geese and Hull specialised in steam yachts. There were also "Mop" fairs where various tradesmen and servants seeking employment went around carrying the tools of their work, be it a flail, hammer and chisel or a mop etc.
Notable towns in the past having fairs where there was a mixture of events, sales of goods and beasts, to name a few, were at Kings Lynn, Witney near Oxford, Cambridge, Teignmouth, Kettering, Stevenage and Hert- ford. The most known were held on Hampstead Heath and at Barnet In Herts. "Combing ones barnet" became the Cockney slang for Hair, rhyming with Barnet Fair - it wouldn't have sounded the same, somehow,"to comb ones Hampstead"!
Fairs, wherever, became great attractions with the Razzle
Dazzle, Cakewalks, Coconut Shies and Dodgem Cars etc. The Gondolas,
Switchbacks, Roundabouts and Swings were at first man driven, later horse
driven and, as Gondolas got bigger, were powered by 4H.P. and 6H.P double
cylinder engines and the showman's large steam engines. Then, when people
felt hungry, they would go to a charabanc converted to fry and sell fish
and chips - in 1939 cod and chips cost all of l/6d. I went to a traditional fair about two years ago, in Derbyshire, and was delighted to see an
old single decker bus converted as a mobile fish and chip shop - only the
chips cost over a pound for a bagful. The National Traction Engine Trust
provides a complete calendar list of events around the country, often
including showman's engines and organs.
Anyone interested can send an S.A.E. to P.O. Box 102, Wrexham, LL13 OZS ...
Mike Petrie ... Just a short note to tell you about the reunion of the
1956 intake of Y2YCs that took place on 19th November. Earlier in the year
I logged on to the LTSSAC web site mentioned in your "Dave's GEN". It
turned out that it was run by Roger Glover and I sent him some photos including of of an earlier reunion of the same group of YITS held in 1986 or so. I also added my e-mail address.
A couple of weeks later I got an e-mail from Derek Young who had seen the photo and wondered if it was time for a repeat. From the web site I got some e-mail addresses, an old diary gave me some other(real) addresses and BT.com gave me some other contact points. I was able to track 12 out of 15 Y2YCs who started in August'56 (another, Ted Felstead, died in 1982) and of the 12, 10 showed up at the Holiday Inn at South Mimms, where we had an enjoyable evening. I just thought that you might like to know that "Dave's GEN" was responsible for the link that enabled us all to get together once again.
We are going to repeat it next year, and maybe again and again ...
Now then, where was I at the end of the last edition of Dave's Gen.
Having been awake all night with the vomit virus (and the rest), my mind was spinning along the travels of yesteryear and I did warn you all last rime, of a certain account that happened whilst visiting a supplier in Berlin, circa 1984. Well as ever the intrepid, I happened to have had the good fortune to visit this supplier (quite a few times as it later transpired) with a team of BT personnel.
Setting the scene. Lots of big money contracts in the offing, so you can imagine the entourage. Representatives from Technical costs, a couple of Contracts chaps, Tech.design wallahs from Martlesham, me and my boss (who shall remain nameless). Well, with so much at stake for this German company (a large organisation similar to GEC/Plessey and the like) and for BT, the 'Berliners' fielded all their big guns. The MD of the outfit, great chap and good company, about 40-ish six foot four and built like the proverbial. A really humorous and care-free multi-millionaire industrialist in charge of the family firm. I could have imagined him, in the nicest possible way, of standing in the conning tower of a Panzer tank.
The rest were (to me) a sprinkling of likeable beer festival drinking Sales merchants (could almost imagine the lederhosen), techy people and in particular, one guy 'Herr Doctor', a bit scary, who could all but prevent himself from clicking his heels when you met him. You know the type, tall, thin, thinning grey hair, rimless spectacles, humourless and with a clipped accent. I took to him like free falling without a parachute. Nevertheless, he was very precise and new his stuff. I guess you are wondering what all the excitement was about, well it was the revolutionary introduction of insulation displacement connectors (IDCs) into our network. Quite common now, every line jack and mainframe have these IDCs fitted in them, but back then, we were there at the start of rolling these out, you can imagine the changes required within BT to move from the old type screw terminal and soldered joint technology to poking a wire into a tag with a special tool.
Anyway, back to the juicy bits our visit. The Hospitality shown to us was never to be matched. Following being wined and dined in the equivalent of the Dorchester, you know the set up, rows of cutlery, glasses for this and that course, I was all about done in at about 11pm. Then the MD suggests we go on to this 'club', to see a show!! He gets the waiter to call the club, the waiter returns to say they are holding the next performance till we arrive!! This MD had some serous influence in Berlin. (By the way, the prelude to this meal was cocktails in the lounge where by they created a new concoction in respect for our visit)
Well off we go to this club, it was banged out, full of people, but no worries. When we arrived, the club staff turfed off the people from their front row tables (not best amused) and gave the poll positions to our party. We were then treated to some weirdo Wagnering music with skimperly covered people prancing and cavorting about the stage. I must admit to feeling a shade uncomfortable, with things being wobbled in my face. Being naive it took me a millisecond or two to realise that these 'actors' were Transvestites, along with half the bloody audience. We eventually left in the early hours, got a little shut eye, ready for the car to collect us at 7.30am to take us back to the factory. As many a well travelled will have experienced, our trusty hosts were trying to wear us out, trying to make us not so alert round the production and contract meetings...
To be continued... hopefully next issue will feature more accounts from Berlin and of seriously tarty eastern European bar gals with a bath on stage!! Not to mention the Snail house, the Berlin philharmonic, trips round the city and the rumble of heaver Tanks.
Thanks once again for the copy of "the Gen". It has been a good
year but trying. My mother broke her hip in March and had to have
a replacement. I was very close to rushing home, but as my sister
pointed out there was nothing I could have done but got in the
way. As it turned out even at the age of 78 she was up and about
in 3 weeks and after 5 weeks fully recovered and no limp. Lets
hope that ability to mend is hereditary.
Just before our visit to the UK in July the right side of my face became swollen, I put it down to sinus. On arrival the problem exascebated and the right eye closed from the swelling, still treating it as sinus, I took painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. No joy. After a visit to the doctors he prescribed strong antibiotics and codeine which cleared the problem. He believed it to be a spider bite. ,. Pain and swelling gone I thought no more of it. Till back in Oz the swelling and pain returned. It turns out to be an abscess on the root of a tooth. Perhaps the spider bite would have been kinder. Because of the problem our visit was effectively reduced by a week while I recovered, so we didn' t get around to seeing all the people we would have liked. However our stay in the UK next year might have to be increased to two months minimum. Such that we could be sble to get to see more friends.
We have just had the back garden done over 60% is now concrete patio and walk way, 20% is flower beds and veggie patch which only leaves a very small area of lawn. It makes it much easier with the push along mower now. We have also had a Pergola constructed covering most of the patio such that BBQ's now aren't affected by the weather; neither rain nor baking sun stops us.
I have been out on our friends fishing boat a few time and there's nothing better than a day on the open sea rolling waves and all the fishing you can handle plus there's a BBQ on board (well it is a sixty foot fishing charter boat). Also, now I have my boat licence, I skipper his 5.5 meter cruiser for him and another mate to go diving, it just means sitting on the boat and picking them up when they emerge from the depths. Too relaxing for words. I'll keep you all updated as regards visas and the like and when it's all over we will be able to tell the whole story hopefully. "Is that beer cold enough yet Bez I've done all I can with this" Stay good and livelong. Best wishes from the other side of the world.
In my contribution for the previous issue I promised not to include too
much domestic detail. However, with great sadness I have to mention that
Sarah has passed away and life's routines are completely changed.
Although being in poor health for many years she fought valiantly to give
a presence of concern, interest and jollity to people she met. The passing was mercifully short, within hours of admission to hospital. Little
did I realise when I wrote in the previous Daves GEN "the format will
have to change".
Elsie Hilda Sargeant (Sarah). We first met in Feb 1931 at a Wimbledon Technical School Dramatic Society production. We were married on 1st January 1938 having started to buy our house in late 1937.
This detail sets the scene for the following Eulogy. Sarah, like so many of our colleagues' wives over the years had to share the time spent together with their husbands' commitments such as Detached Duty and Staff Representation work. This was emphasised during the war years when Training Courses at Cambridge and various Inspection Duties away from London. This was a period before we became parents so it was lonely at times, which she bore with great fortitude. Sarah was a very important person in her own Commercial Commitments for many years but when we became parents the parential responsibilities were shared automatically as far as it was possible and our Son and Daughter have responded to perfection.
I have tried to acknowledge the debt we hold to our partners in days of separation and readers will, I hope, forgive my poor effort so to do. Meanwhile, it may start them thinking about this situation and how they would cope. Thank you for reading so far ...
Norman Froggett has passed on to me a photo from lan Torrance ..
Dave Eyre .. With another year nearly gone, I thought I would drop you a few notes. It may help you fill some space in a future 'Gen', but you seem to be getting more and more articles flowing in.
This year has seen some changes -1 passed 60 back in the summer and it was 44 years ago that I first walked through the Studd Street gates. I remembered this as I had to make out a CV for the first time since I started with the Test Section all those years ago when I was applying for a new job. It stated when I got back from holiday in the summer and was surprised and pleased to have received an e-mail from a head hunting company. They knew what I had been doing for the past few years and had a job they thought suited me.
Well, at sixty you think it's too late for such offers, but I followed it up and had an interview. The company then decided not to proceed with the job, so maybe I did not live up to their expectations!
The feedback from the recruitment company was very positive, so I started to read the job adverts. I spent two days at home getting application forms off of the web (its that way most companies work nowadays), doing a lot of background research to find out what the various organisations did and finished up putting three applications in. They all said that if you do not hear within three weeks, you were not being considered.
As it turned out, several weeks later I was contacted by all three organisations to go for interviews. All three were interesting jobs, so I set about really understanding what the organisations did and what they wanted. I attended two of the interviews and was offered a job by the second one. I am now on a 2 1/2 year contract with my local council involved with regeneration of two local areas. One is the industrial area at Belvedere and the other is Crayford Town centre, which many of us who were based at Crayford Depot will remember. So, you can expect quite a few more stories from me over the next couple of years. (Yes, the Dukes Head is in the patch!).
Whilst mentioning Crayford Depot, since BT left the site all the buildings have been demolished and it is now an industrial estate. Some very big tin sheds have been built, which are used as distribution depots. There is still a lot of the site to be built on though. The road in front, Thames Road, is about to be turned into a dual carriage way (at last) and the two arches of the railway bridge down the road are to be replaced with a new single span bridge. It will be interesting to watch that being built and slid into place. Who remember the flood under this bridge in 1968? A number of people had trouble getting in to the Depot to work for a few days.
This will do for now. Best wishes to you and keep up the excellent work with the 'Gen'. It's great to receive it., even if there are many names I remember passing on.
Ian Boniface ... I have recently bee reading the Alan Clark Diaries and I thought I could do that, but when you read the excerp that follows you will probably think that the man's kidding himself. Anyway it might provide
some amusement if you need something to fill a space in "Dave's GEN"
Tuesday 22nd September 1948. I went to see the careers teacher at school as Dad says I must do something about getting a job. He said that I should go to see the Headmasters Employment Bureau in London. He rang them and made an appointment for tomorrow.
Wednesday 23rd September 1948. I kept my 9 o'clock appointment at the Headmasters Employment Bureau near Victoria station. The man asked me what kind of job I would like. I have no idea, but research sounds nice so I said that. He told me that he thought research was very repetitive and I might find it boring but that a job had come in the post this morning which sounded as though it might interest me. He said they didn't know much about the job but suggested that I should go and find out about it and let them know what it was all about. He made a phone call and arranged for me to go straight to a Post Office building in Studd St. Islington.
When I arrived I was taken to see a Mr. Merroni and when I explained that I come to find out about the job for the Headmasters Employment Bureau he said that he would ask his engineer to explain it to me. In the meantime he asked me to tell him the colours of some wires. I did but he told me that I had got one of them wrong. The one that I said was grey was in fact slate (what's the difference?) I was taken to see Mr. Merroni's engineer, a Mr. Mew who had another man with him, a Mr. Harris. They asked me a lot of questions and then asked me when I could start. I explained again that I was there to find out what the job was all about, which they hadn't told me. Mr. Harris asked me what school I went to and didn't teach me to say "sir" but Mr. Mew said he would ask Mr. Day the training officer to show me what went on in the Section.
Mr. Day explained that he couldn't tell me much as he didn't know himself because he had only been there twelve years and so he passed me on to a Mr. Hydes who took me around all the workshops and explained what they all did. He told me that it was called The London Test Section and they tested all the equipment used by the P.O.
I went back to the Headmasters Employment Bureau and told them what I had found out and then I came home. My Dad asked me all about it and started to get quite excited because he recognised the place as where his friend Harry Gatwood had worked before he retired and went to work with my Dad at Muirheads. He said that's a good job and I should take them upon their offer.
Thursday 24th September 1948. I rang Mr. Merroni and he asked if I could start on Monday. It seemed very quick but I said yes.Monday 28th September 1948.
I arrived at Studd St. to start as a Youth-in-Training. There were three other people starting the same day, Cyril Hawes another Youth-in-Training and two adult recruits Pete Perry and Bob Craven. We were all given notebooks and telephone circuits to copy into them And so I set foot on the first step of a trail of adventure to rival Indiana Jones (or was it Mr. Bean?) ...
Cliff Bourne ... This is a travelogue (not another travelogue!) Yes, this one with SAGA to the province of SABAH in North Borneo. North Borneo is sandwiched between the Phillipines in the north and Indonesia in the south.
Last November I went with 12 others, 5 pairs and 2 single women, first to Kuala Lumpur and then to Kota Kinabalu, on the west coast of the Island on the South China Sea, where we stayed in a 5 star Hotel the Shangri-La for 2 nights.
After this we flew again with Malaysian Airways to the east coast, to Sandakan on the Sula Sea, past Mount Kinabalu at 4100m, where the British Army got stuck in a gorge one mile deep.
At Sandakan, during WW2 the Japanese force marched 2750 POWs to Ranan some 130 miles away (2000 Australians and 750 British) 6 Aussies managed to escape and bear witness and 2744 did not and died. We were taken to the camps and memorials at both ends of the March. At the coast we stayed in huts some 10 feet off the sea and land, with showers, air conditioning, fans and mosquito nets. Not now difficult to imagine the effect of a Tsunami where we were. On Turtle Island, where else, we saw turtle laying eggs which were caught as she layed them, for transfer to a controlled safe reburial. There were 5 ft monitor lizards on the prowl. Also handled were the young turtles eager to enter the water. We were to place them some 5 yards from the sea to taste the salinity of the water, the sand and a magnetic GPS bearing, so that the females can come back 20 years later.
During our 9 day return journey to Kota Kinabalu we were to see in the wild, various monkeys, Orang-Ufcan, long and short tailed Macaques and Proboscuses, the male of which, so we were told, was always ready to oblige a female. In the air and dense forests there numerous raptors, egrets, birds of paradise and hornbill toucans - a twitcher's paradise. In the National Park on the Kinabele slopes there were orchids over 100 varieties.
On our return to K.K. we stayed for another 2 nights in the Shangri-la before returning home. The latest SAGA travellers news has a marvellous article "In the Land of the misty mountain" describing SABAH & N.Borneo,
Brian Shillum ...Many thanks for latest Dave's Gen, full of interesting events, and news on the sad loss of Jim Wamer. Hedley will remember an incident when he first started as a youth in training. They were being taken on
a tour of the groups and as they entered the photometry group another youth made a remark about a funny man in there. Hedley was quick to put him in his place by informing him that he was his father. The
undated photographs also amused me since the two Brede Brothers looked younger than ever I remembered them.
We went to New Zealand in March for four weeks and it was awesome. The scenery was fantastic with hills, mountains, valleys, plains, volcanoes, ice fields, glaciers, boiling mud, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, rocky chasms, weathered rocks and rain forests. We visited both islands mostly travelling by train but with a coach back up. We travelled on the entire domestic rail network, all available preserved and private railways including a waterworks train and a cable railway (gondola). We also travelled on two London Transport buses, trams, float plane and a five seated plane. Over water we used the inter island ferry, catamaran, jet boats, fishing boat, steam tug, paddle steamer, small powered craft and even a bum boat in Singapore. Of the wild life we saw penguins, kiwis, possum, seals, dolphins, kia bird, sheep and glow-worms. We saw a gold/silver mine and even panned for gold successfully. We used both digital and film cameras taking over four hundred photographs, more than when we went to Egypt.
We have had our digital camera for over a year now and apart from its small size find the results far better than from conventional film. One interesting point is that the digital camera can adjust for differing light conditions unlike film with a fixed colour spectrum. We were most pleased with the digital photos of New Zealand but the colour rendering was quite different to that of the film. Although it was their autumn the film photos gave the scenery a more red cast than we had seen, the digital photos being more like we remembered
We also had two weeks walking the Yorkshire dales and wolds June/July using our flat in York as a base. Because we pay community charge up there we get a bus pass that allows us to travel on a variety of buses at half fare throughout north Yorkshire. We can also travel on the local buses all day for fifty pence.
For those who might be interested "Dave's GEN" will be reprinted on the LTSSAC website together with some pictures of the past at:- www.ltssac.org
Dave Fairhurst, 31 Roedean Avenue, Enfield, Middx. EN3 5QJ Tel:020 8804 1959
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