As it is my tradition I will commence this February edition of "Dave's GEN" with a list of those of you who kindly sent me a Xmas Card or New Year Card. The list might also be of interest to other former colleagues who can then read that "old so and so is still around" I have followed the list with brief extracts from any letters or comm- ents on your cards. Thanks for monies included. Brian Bale, Mike Bettenson, Gerry Bhagat, lan Boniface, Ted Blanden, Len Bovingdon, Cliff Bourne, Jim Beard, Ted Brown, Chris Broome- Smith, Neil Caldecourt, Ron Cooper, Derek Crane, Brian Conroy, Ken Denny, Steve Dickens, Andy Ellen, Norman Froggett, Mike Faulkner, Denis Fisk, Terry Griffiths, Roger Glover, Reg Hooker, John Hammond, Paul Hindell, Tom Halsey, Dave John, Harry Jenn, Les Knightson, Frank Kehoe, Dennis Laing, Norman Lawrence, Stan Mitchell, Brian Martin, Barry Moore, Fred Martin, Paul Mathew, John Neil, Dave Oliver, Derek Oswald, Pete Perry, Mike Reid, Keith Rich, Cyril Rose, Les Roberts, Brian Shillum, John Sutton, Cyril Seabrook, Ken Stinton, Arthur Snewin, Mike Stanton, Frank Skinner, Dave Stanford, Peter Stroyan, Ron Tattam, Mike Tamblin, lan Torrance, Claire Towler, Doreen Tilley. Glen Travell, Roy Trussell, Roy Thurgood, Harry Vincent, Alan Williams Vie Ware, Dick Wakefield, Dave Walton, Hedley Warner, Derek Young. Now for the brief extracts from your cards etc. Pete Perry ... Thanks once again for all your efforts, it's really appreciated by us old fogeys; (80 in January) Perhaps there is something in the old adage "Only the good die young" Mike Tamblin ... Dave's GEN usually manages to stir up so many memories which are gradually receding into the distant past now. Keep up the good work. My only two contacts from those days are now Vie Ware and Eric Vogel. Dave Oliver ... I must thank you for your good work in producing "Daves GEN" Long may it last. Cyril Seabrook ... We have managed a trip to Brazil and Argentina this year . It was an organised tour which included playing bowls in both countries. Pleased to say the team won. John Neil ... Thanks for GEN it keeps us Old Studdiars in touch .. Betty & Harry Jenn (from Sunny South Africa) ... Thank you for your efforts in helping us (LTS members) to keep in touch. We won the Rugby World Cup for the Second time! ... Frank Skinner ... Many thanks for the continued dispatch of "The GEN" Without you, us in distant parts wouldn't have a clue about the happen- ings in the "Old Firm" Norman Lawrence ... Still enjoying reading the "GEN" - many thanks.. Derek Oswald ... Anne and I are reasonably fit. We went to Tenererife in November to get a bit of sun to help us to cope with the winter ... Peter Stroyan ... I don't hear much about old P.O. staff except through you. Life is as hectic as ever. We had 4 weeks touring France September to October. Pity I didn't get Mike Parish's address from you beforehand. Hedley Warner ... Thank you for keetoing the "GEN" going. ... 1 Les Knightson ... Thank you for keeping the "GEN" alive. I think I recognise" 1 or 2 faces on the second photo on page 8 of the October issue Paul Hindell ...Hope this finds you well and keepup the good work, commun- ication was everything while we were at work and should be afterwe finish ... Neil Caldecourt ... Thanks for the GEN and best wishes to you. Am going to have a second bionic knee this Christmas; ... Brian Martin ... I am still pleased I took early Retirement and have not regreted one moment, miss the guys at Studd Street, the wind ups mostly... Mike Stanton ... We have both survived our first year in Spain, despite various problems especially with the Correos(Post) and Telefonica, not like B.T. Now that we have retired, we try to keep active and there is plenty to do here. I have not received any Club Gens, are you still producing them? Yes, I am still producing them twice a year. Did not have your address. Tom Halsey ... I managed to break a bone in my foot in August, I was out of action for some weeks. Annoyingly, we missed our "Class of 56 Reunion" I hope your health is holding up (apart from growing (old) pains etc. Keep up the good work on the "GENS" ... Reg Hooker ... Another year, all getting older. Ron Cooper told me he is 80 this year and thought how marvellous it was to been retired for so long, 22 years I think. It reminded me that when I joined the LTS in 1950, a T.O. told me that the age expectancy of Civil Servants was 63 I think he had' only 2 years to go before retirement. There was another T.O. on Group 2 who had been brought back out of retirement to test Dials. He was 70+ so very old to me at 20 years. So long ago.... Len Bovingdon ... I was pleased to read the item from Derek Brown about the testing of teleprinter ribbons and paper, these tests were mainly Geoff Wigley's responsibility but whenever Geo was not available I did the things, I had entirely forgotten them until I read the item. I also enjoyed the item from lan Torrance about STC New Southgate. I had never thought about the history of the site and enjoyed lan's short history Like many others I spent a lot of time at STC and perhaps unlike mostothers later spent a great deal of time at other STC sites. Monkstown in Northern Ireland and Cwmcarn (if that is how you spell it) in South Wales. It always surprised me to see so many familiar faces so far from Southgate. Like so many other things it saddens me to think that it had all passed For a variety of reasons I lost touch with STC after the change to Northern Tele- com. Are they still there in Southgate? ... Jim Beard ... Another year gone, how time does fly. I find it hard to be- lieve that it is more than 22 years since T left "the firm" and I "^st say your GEN keep those memories alive. I enjoyed my working life at L.T.S. Here is the final paragraph of lan Boniface article in October GEN Those of you who had the privilege of working with the Joint Examiners will remember that not much work could take place until the tables were laid up by Supplies Department staff and once the afternoon tables had been graded and Sammy Dark had done his thing. There was therefore a certain amount of flexibility as far as time keeping was concerned. Mr. Liquorice ever mindful of the need to prevent the pure mind of a Y2YC being corrupted by bad ex- amples would appear around the corner of his office at such times and beckon me in to explain the finer workings of the process and explain that staff had to leave early to visit other depots. It did not take long for the ex- planatory material to run out and in any case the AEs also had to visit these Places and so, while at Goswell Road I often had a head start on those at btudd Street to disappear down the tube at Angel Station. Ian Torrance ... In the October 2007 issue there was a picture printed on the last page, of 8 youths. I have the same mug shot when I had hair on my head but there was no reference to this picture by lan Boniface. So, I would like to comment that there were many compulsory engineering courses at Stone and at Sydenham to do as part of our training But it came to our notice that there was a scheme, I think concocted by the then Government in 1948/9 for people to volunteer to gain experience by doing some other kind of work. Cheap labour more like it, for the eight of us were sent to a "works" near Guildford Surrey which turned out to be a 2 market garden whereby we had to either pick, select, grade and pack tomat- oes. I know I was in a packing shed with John Reynolds putting the fruit into crates ready for market. There were other groups on this scheme att- ending and many of us got to know various girls on this weeks course to gain further experience as well;; Memories; Paul Reid ... I recently discovered the LTSSAC website and was pleased, after some fruitless searching on Friends Reunited, to re-establish con- tact with a few of my former LTS colleagues. It's been great to be reminded of names I'd forgotten and it's good to see that there are (still) quite a few LTS folk around. I was at Studd Street from 1961 as a Y2YC and T2A until I moved to Stone as an Instructor in 1966. (I still recall the whole 1961 intake being packed into the Studd Street gatehouse (it was on 4 September 1961) before we were led off to the training room. My subsequ- ent telecoms career took me from Stone to Loughborough University in 1970 on a PO scholarship (and transmission maintenance in Leicester Area during the vacations) then to Martlesham (1973) before moving in 1991 to the Euro- pean Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in the south of France, where I am still working (only part-time now though) I have been responsible for seconding BT staff to ETSI and finally had the opportunity to second myself; Having burnt my bridges to BT, I subsequently found myself without a job, and spent four years working freelance in France. My main clients were ETSI and SITA, the airline telecommunications company. But because I was getting so much work from ETSI, I managed to persuade them to put me back on the payroll. The standards activity still puts me in contact with lots of BT staff, but I think I've only encountered a couple of Studd Street veterans - John Rogers, who I think was in the Class of '62, and came to standards meetings from time to time. I haven't seen him for a couple of years though, and I suspect he may have retired. He was involved in satellite standards and was still with BT I believe (or maybe Ofcom?) And George Wicks (same intake as me) with whom I corresponded a few years ago. I reminded him that I recalled going to Stone on a course with him in the 60s, not long before I trans- ferred up there, and how we listened to "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" in his room. Unfortunately, I don't think I have any pictorial relics of my time in the LTS, but I do have many good memories, especially of the NE London outstations (Enfield factory, Plessey Ilford, and Arnos Grove espec- ially) Looking back over all the years, I consider LTS to have been a great place to start my career; ... Brian Conroy ... Our year has revolved around looking after three grand children, the sailing Club and ourselves. The year kicked off well with a 9 day cruise down the Adriatic around the toe of Italy and up to Rome, visiting Dubrovnik, Ismia (for Ephasus), Athens, Rhodes and up through the Straits of Messina to Naples and then on to Rome. The passage through the Messina Strait was at night and the ship diverted a little to view the erupting volcano on Stromboli, a terrific sight; The Sailing Club continues to demand much of our time, currently I am the Commodore, it is quite a large set up, racing on Sundays and working on Wednesdays on enlarging and improving the facilities. It is though a pleas- ant place to visit and all are welcome, just call me 01992 713455. Thursday means golf to us now, the Sailing Club has a small golf society and has a regular slot at Panshanger Golf Complex near W.G.City. Still hol- idaying at Salcombe during August, we sail in the Club Regatta, it lasts a week. Still taking pictures, now digitally, processing and printing athome. fhe computer, the Internet and WWW provides the tools for managing all the above, I am no expert, but we would be lost with out it. Our Steven and Gillian are still with BT and keep us up to date with its "progress" DEATHS. Pam Schroder, who ran the LMS Stores at Studd Street from the early 1960s until we left in 1988, died on 2nd January 2008.(Derek Brown) It is with great sadness that I am writing to tell you that my Uncle Michael - Tamblin of Ely Cambridgeshire died on Wednesday 5th December 2007. Although he was scheduled to have an operation in early January there were no indic- ations that he was seriously ill, and come as a great shock to his family. 3 Norman Froggett ... Here is the latest news from the Froggett household: Since being diagnosed with Leukaemia late last year the last few weeks have shown great improvement health wise which has been the result of excellent care and medication by the Haematology department of Exeter Hospital where I have to attend for a check up once a month. So, I have at last been able to get on with some work, much of it being converting 8mm cine films to DVD, payment for this is being donated to "ELF" That is the "Exeter Leuk- aemia Fund" in recognition of the excellent work being done in that depart- ment. I must also put on recor'l the wonderful care my wife Anne has given me through the illness. I have also been able to get my car on the road once more, mainly now only for local trips, last year I really thought my driving days were over. So, things here are almost back to nprmal. All my best wishes to Ex Test Section colleagues who are reading this latest GEN. Paul Hindell ... OZ SAGA 7 Well, it's safe to say that "due to the quantity of people who wish to spend their last days in paradise" Nothing has happened on the immigration front, that is to say that we are still waiting "patiently" to get to the top of the list, according to the immigration calculator on the website there is still some 2,500 ahead of us. Our annual trip to the UK was eventful. Problems getting flights back to OZ, it appears that it is the most popular time of year to fly into Mel- bourne, something to do with the horse racing fraternity out of the Middle East. U.A.E. to be precise. For the "Spring Racing Carnival" and "Melbourne Cup". Plus sorting out mum's problems, at 81 they are getting more complex. Freezer not working, still under guarantee from Comets.Insurance companies trying to get them to save pennies by amalgamating their pol- icies this only helps the insurance companies as they can restrict the amount of times you can call them out before defaulting on the policy. It's a con worth looking out for. Then there was changing her gas, electric and phone back to the original providers. As it is easier for her to control. Then on top of it all according to her solicitor, from November 1st I can no longer be named as power of attorney in their Wills as I no longer officially reside in the UK. So I am no longer a son except in name only. Foreign in the UK, foreign in Australia and dead in four countries includ- ing China where I died in a plane crash, and I thought I was the onlyPaul Hindell in this world. My mum kept telling me they broke the mould when I was born. Apart from all that we had a good time in the UK. Ashamed that I couldn't get to the Albion, even though I was in the country at the time. Beryl and I are both fit although I had Brighton beach in my Gall Bladder and had to have it removed in November. All went well and I am now as of when this was written, on the way to a full recovery. Looking for- ward to a good Christmas. The first, for a few years, without gross stom- ach pains. Regrets, too few to mention. Happy days, too many to list and the twain shall meet. Loosing weight and feeling good, Happy in love, what more could an old man ask? 'Till next/this yesr wishing that you will all read the instalment, meaning that you are still here to do so and that I am still here to write it. Ron Cooper ... Many thanks for the continued supply of your GEN. The photo on the last page of the October 2007 issue shows from the left - John Towler, Pete Perry, Peter Moor, Stan Billet, Fred Wright and 3rd up on the right is George Cooper.(Sam Hawkins mentions also Ted Page? talking to Percy Prudence. The man with the spectacles behind being Stan Newman. Behind him holding empty glasses looks like Charlie West) (At the front on the right is Sam Hawkins then Norman Cutmore Ed) I joined L.T.S. in November 1944 as a Y2YC after an interview with a Chief named Prior who asked me if I could do simultaneous equations and having said Yes I was in. Still wondering years later when I would use such equat- ions. There were 13 of us Y2YCs that year including myself, Pete Moor, Fred Wright, George Cooper, Joe Wishart, Ken Warwick, Roy Tha.. the rest I do not recollect. Remember the football matches between B.T.S. & L.T.S. My wife and I attended one in Edmonton somewhere, as spectators. Fred Wright and Pete Moor both had open top M.G. cars (the better to attract 4 girl friends they told me) and after the match Pete Perry said "let's go up to my place at Stanstead Abbotts" Pete Moor said to my wife Margaret "come on I'll take you in my M.G. while Ron myself follows in his Ford Anglia" So, up the A10 we sped and afterwards my wife said it was the most exhilerating ride she ever had. Was that a reflection on me? Pete Perry if you read this I seem to remember opening a door to a toilet where you stepped down into a small closet with the toilet Pan almost level with the floor outside. True or False? Having settled down nicely in my retirement apartment which is in the ex Hoddesdon Council Office building, I have the prime apartment facing the High Street which has a balcony from which the Mayor used to wave to the crowd below, my lounge being part of the council chamber. Have had quite a number of holidays this year with my partner Maureen, to various places, such that we have had 104 days away this year. Have not been available for the Xmas meet up, as each year we have been in Cyprus at that time, perhaps I may make that in 2008. Am still swimming 3 times a week one session being early training with my Club The Hartham Masters on Saturday morning. Last June at the gala held at Borehamwood I became the Hertfordshire County Record Holder in the 3 strokes Front Crawl, Back Stroke and Breast Stroke and I have Certificates to prove it. April 2008 I will reach my four score years and hence will enter another age group for swimming in perhaps another set of Certificates. I am always the oldest com- petitor at the Gala most amazing how is it. Is it in the genes? Sam Hawkins ...(refering to the photo) I have no idea where tihe photo was taken but from the assembled com.pany I think it might have been a Brimsdown do. The reason we are all sitting there with empty glasses I can only hazard a guess but probably we were waiting for someone to volunteer to buy the next round; lan Torrance ... The Lee-Enfield Rifle Much has changed in the area around Brimsdown, Enfield in North London with its conglomeration of factories, Outlets, warehouses and the like, and quite un recognisable from the days when many of us spent time working at the P.O. Factory in Bilton Way in the 1960's and 1970's. You may recall that there was little in the way of buildings other than the Government Training Centre opposite and there were paths across open fields leading to the River Lee. I remember in the early 1960's horse drawn barges still plying its trade and off loading supplies to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock, famous for the manufacture of the Lee-Enfield Rifle, a short distance from the P.O. Factory site. Barges would continue past Ordnance Road for a further li miles to Waltham Abbey to unload materials to the vast gun powder works tliiere. Both sites are now huge housing estates, although part of the gun powder works is open to the public as a museum. In the days when the Ordnance Factory produced guns one could often hear, from the P.O. site, the sound of small arms fire when testing on their ranges. The Ordnance Factory employed several 100's of staff and it was very impressive to see huge workshops full of lathes and milling machines etc., a place of great activity. So it had been for well over a 100 years when it first produced the muzzle loading rifle in 1853 for the Crimean War. There are, in fact, two rivers, the original River Lea (spelt thus) which meanders through marshland and meadows and is unnavigable today and the canalized river with its many locks for the barge traffic. Now a haven for the Narrow Boat enthusiasts, which is called the RIVER LEE. I always assumed, and incorrectly, believed that the name of the River Lee was ass- ociated with the Rifle. Not so. So, who put the name LEE into the LEE- ENFIELD^Rifle? All will be revealed in the 2nd Part in the next issue of Dave's GEN. Today, the Rivers Lea/Lee are in an extensive Country Park with many habitats and reserves ideal for wildlife 5 Now follows the fourth part of lan Boniface's diary. The diary of a Y2YC After Goswell Road it was back to Studd Street and another Group. I cannot remember the exact sequence but another Group that Cyril and I were on in the earlier days of our training was Group 1, clocks, watches and cords. An odd combination but we were only allowed to marvel at the skills of the senior TO checking and repairing clocks and watches and so it was the study of cords for us. The Group was staffed by several Adult recruit Tech 2As, mostly young men recently demobbed from the forces. The AE George Hicks (senior for those who remember his son, also George) was also respon- sible for the teleprinter room and spent a great deal of his time up there on the third floor. The relative freedom this gave meant that there was always lots of discussion on the issues of the day and a lot of laughter which sometimes annoyed the senior members of the Group. One incident which sticks vividly in my mind was when Major Cooper the Engineer (later EE) rang wanting to speak to George Hicks. Now Major Cooper had a stammer and who should pick up the phone but Jack Nye who also had a stammer, madeworse when he realised to whom he was speaking. Minutes later a furious Major Cooper appeared on the Group demanding to know who was taking the mickey. This situation was not helped by the whole Group bursting into uncontrolled laughter. Poor Jack tried to apologise but nerves made him almost inco- herent and Cooper just walked out. One of the uses made of Y2YCs was the duplication of notices of all kinds. The high tech method used in those days was to make a tray of jelly and press the original onto the surface of the jelly once it had set thus tak- ing an impression. Duplicates were then made by pressing blank paper onto the impression. This was quite a long winded and messy process and only produced a very limited number of copies. For some reason it was always done in the First Aid Room. Talking of First Aid, Bill Day the Training AE was a senior member of the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade and one of the more popular tasks given to us was to take packages to the Brigade's Headquart- ers at St. Johns Gate in the City - popular because we were usually not ex- pected to return to Studd Street and so could go home a little earlier than usual. We were also sent to other places such as I Branch Headquarters at Little Briton in the City with packages or messages. On one occasion I was sent with a package for Engineer H.B.Harris at Creeds Teleprinter Works, Croydon. Mr. Harris known rather disrespectfully as Tojo, did not seem at all grateful and gave me a ticking off for appearing at a Contractor's works casually dressed. I think he thought that I should have known I might be sent or should have gone home to change into a suit. As it happens the only suit I had was my school uniform, I wonder what he would have said if I had turned up in that; Look out for the next thrilling episode when we discover that we can get time off with full pay to earn even more money and work even harder helping to feed the Nation. Brian Conroy ... I apologise for not making the Christmas gatherings, there is a reason and it is a littir selfish. The LTS pub meetings are invar- iably on a Thursday which coincides with a Christmas function that inv- olves a small golf society that is an offshoot of the Sailing Club at Waltham Abbey. Incidentally the Society plays at Panshanger (near Welwyn Garden City) early on a Thursday morning, if you want a round call me. Better still if you are in a Society let's have a match; Through "Dave's GEN" could I thank Mick or was it Dave Bettenson that found my long lost uncle; A telephone call from him one day, some four years ago advised me that "He had found my Uncle Stan" Indeed yes, it was my uncle having telephoned him to confirm the finding. It appears that Stan was chatting with the barman at the Working Men's Club, Mick Bettenson, and having determined that Mick had worked for the "GPO", Stan said I have a nephew who worked for the "GPO", his name was Brian Conroy - did you know him? Mick rang me and we have been in regular contact Auntie ever since. Sadly, Stan died two years later, but his wife Betty still lives in Herne Bay and Edna and I now travel there quite often to take her shopping, or to the hospital and the like. She will be 90 years old come the end of 6 January and a reunion-cum birthday has been planned, with the inclusion of two other nieces and their families who currently live in Yorkshire. Still racing sailing dinghies every Sunday, mainly at Fishers Green'Sailing Club near Waltham Abbey, apart from three Sundays in January that are set aside for maintenance. These working weekends allow the Club to rejuvenate itself and be ready for the new seasons racing. The racing is arranged as a series of some 10 or so races based on the Seasons and run much like the football league. The Club provides training, in sailing and power boat skill and it has a strong volunteer maintenance and construction team - called the Wednesday Mob, they are all retirees. So there is not much time in the week for idleness especially with three grandchildren and a lawn. Harry Jenn (in South Africa) ... I keep in touch with Norman Froggett and lan Torrance.As I said in my last letter to you, about the unfortunate incid ent at a Game Park with lions mauling the owner. We made a plan to go to our local Lion Park instead, where you can fondle and put a cub on your lap, 3/4 month old lion cubs. Between the three cameras they had brought with them, they must have taken over 600 pics'. The park also had the rare White Lions. It had vastly improved from when we took Sue & Carol those many years ago. There was other game to view, BUT not for handling. Another place we had visited was the Sterkfontein Caves, but now very up- market called "The Cradle of Humankind". It now has an Exhibition Hall with fossils and bones of earliest mankind (so far found) Drawings and commentar- ies add to the interest. With a 1 hour guided tour, we sent them down to explore, (too long and tiring for us "oldies") while we sat in the very lov- ely restaurant they have built, (mostly for the toursts I should think) and had a nice cuppa tea and toasted sandwich at a reasonable cost.Out of season-? We had short breaks to catch up with all the news, review the pics. ate at home. We had hoped to see how well the Grandchildren could ice skate, as we have an ice rink very close by. The blades were so blunt as to be useless. We made preparations for visiting a much nearer Game Park than the Kruger Park. The Pilansberg where we had booked two 4 bed self catering chalets for 2 days and a night. We left early so we could book in and go on a late afternoon drive.Saw some of the big five. One was a bull elephant straddling the track, neither of us were quite sure what to do, but the kids were thrilled to pieces, eventually he turned away so that we managed to get to the gate before it closed. We were in two separate chalets but right next to each other and as we had brought salads and Braai meat, we joined theMonty's had wine and a Weber cooked meal outside under the stars. For June it was unusually quite mild and very pleasant. The family after six Autumn & Winter in Canada felt it was quite warm enough to walk around in T-Shirts & Shorts The Monty's went for an early morning drive while we had a lay-in and then packed up our things ready to leave later. They saw more game and were back for a breakfast at the Restaurant, included in the price. They took so many pictures between them and were going to show them to their school friends, wild live animals instead of seeing them on TV or in the zoo. I think they really enjoyed their short holiday with us, we miss them very much now that they have gone back although it was pretty hectic trying to fit everything in and it took us quite a while to get back into our routine In August Betty and I celebrated our 60th Wedding Anniversary. We were not invited to celebrate the event with Queen & Prince Phillip, as we were for our 50th. They were also married in 1947, but in November. That is another story I could tell. John Sutton ... The other Sunday, we invited to luncheon with a number of friends whom we have known since the fifties - and one or two before then; Ah, John" said one, "I was going to ring you earlier, I'm having problems with my telephone extension bell" It transpired that the bell in the house when he bought it, and was probably used with a candlestick phone (Telephone 150). Having had broadband installed, he now needed to wire it to a jack to connect it to the broadband filter. However, his first attempt to connect two wires to the jack had 'blown up' his broadband connection; Searching the www with the aid of Mr Google had produced many results for bell sets, but none like this. 7 I may be able to help you with a wiring diagram" I said. The thought had occured to me that I still had a copy of 'Atkinson' - and one of 'Renton' lurking in the depths of my loft where they had been put in December 1990 following my early retirement (pause to utter up many, many grateful thanks) And sure enough, under text books entitled "Project Management and Materials for Engineers" at the bottom of the box, there they were in their original cardboard boxes with postmark "January 1955" There amongst the pages head- ed "Principles of Local Line Signalling" and "Subscribers Apparatus" were circuits of bell sets. These I faxed to him and await his call re their usefulness. Incidentally, it was the first time I had used my fax machine since having broadband, and transmission was really slow - a consequence of the filter? Post Script, I now realise that I returned the two books to the back of my loft without another glance at their contents - that's perhaps I am too busy with retirement to regain an interest in work? Roger Pye ... One That Got Away (Joined the LTS in September 1953 as a YiT) In Spring 1962 I received a letter asking me to appear before the I Branch Selection Board for promotion to A.E.E. I got a grilling from the Staff Engineer Mr. Brown. He finally rounded on me and said perhaps I wasn't as much of a fool as he thought I was. I left the interview feeling somewhat crestfallen. A week later I received a letter saying I had passed the Board for promotion to A.E.E. in the Cable Test Section. A lot of my colleagues said "You don't want to go there. You spend all your time travelling the country and living in pubs" I retorted that sounded pretty good to me. I joined the Cable Test Section in June 1962, the first few weeks were spent with colleagues learning the job. Most of the measurements were pretty basic in those days but the accuracy of the testing was pretty tight and became onerous when testing large number pair audio cables. Pat and I were living in a flat near my parents at the time, and our first child was on the way. I had progressed on to Coaxial Test Acceptance by now and it was about to become the worst winter for many years - not much fun digging your way into remote rural repeater huts; But it became a challenge. I quite enjoyed the work on Cable Test. It was not all repetitive testing on Audio Cables. There were carrier systems to be balanced, special tests on new types of cable, and fault finding on the many submarine cables that terminated in the UK. Some of my senior colleagues even went abroad to the other ends of the submarine cables. I once got as far as Ostend; My family got used to me travelling, usually at short notice. There appeared to be no reason to actually live in London so in October 1963 we moved out to a small house in Newport Pagnell. Good motorway links to London and Birm- ingham plus large telecomm centres at Oxford and Cambridge gave me the chance to get home more frequently. After the birth of our second son we moved to a small village just north of Stony Stratford. In 1967 I was sec- onded to Dollis Hill for trials on the new 60Mhz cables. Later that year I was devoved to Eastern Region with HQ at Colchester, out stationed at Bletchley. In 1968 I went up for the 1st of 3 attempts to pass the EEs Board but failed. I wasn't particularly bothered. To improve my experience I made a sideways shift on to Transmission Acceptance Testing. I was soon testing the Eastern Region portion of the 60 Mhz Birmingham - London system. The first PCM Digital Systems in the junction network appeared followed by Coaxial Cable Digital systems. By now I had passed the EEs Promotion Board, but with the posts mainly back in HQ in London, I was happy where I was. In early 1984 I was responsible for acceptance testing on the world's first production Monomode Optical System between Hitchin and Luton. In August 1984 I successfully applied for the Level 2 post as the Operations Manager of Milton Keynes TV Cable System. After getting the system up and running I found myself the whipping boy for promises made by sales and programme changes out of my control. In March 1986 I obtained a post in Trunk Network Operations, who were re-locating to Milton Keynes. It provid- ed support for Trunk Systems on Copper Cables and Submarine Cables within the British Isles. 8 For 4 years we had a great time. I had a team I could trust and depend on. A boss who dragged me along to meetings or sent me to visits in the Channel Isles, The Isle of Man and Dublin. We had Courses at Phillips in Holland and visits to Alcatel in France. Unfortunately with a QA background I got lum- bered with BS5750. In addition to my own work I was made the QLO for the Group. So I took advantage of Soverereign. BT and I parted company on Dec22nd 1990 after 37 1/2 years where most of the time I had looked forward to going to work. 3 months later my wife persuaded me to help out as a temporary clerk at the Open University. I finished up working there till just after my 60th Birthday. I worked in an office with 30 women. I learnt more about the fair sex there than I have done in 47 years of marriage. In addition I got a good grounding in computers. We both play bowls in Stony Stratford, where I am also Assistant Green Keep- er, Tour Organiser and Committee Member. I am a charter member of Towcester Lions Club. We have 2 allotments, enjoy gardening, swimming and our Family. Both boys happily married and we have 3 granddaughters aged beween 18 & 10. The eldest boy has risen through the ranks in Royal Signals to Captain and soon Major. The younger is maintenance electrician supervisor for Milton Keynes Centre. Pat and I love travelling and since 1990 have done New England & Florida, Canada, Alaska, Thailand, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Kerala, Singapore, Malaysia, Israel, Tunisia, Cyprus and Turkey. TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930s 40s 50s 60s and 70s! Firstly, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints. We had no child- proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING: We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms. We fell out of trees, got cut, broken bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that;; The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law; This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever: The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovat- ion and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL: And YOU are one of them: CONGRAT- ULATIONS; You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good. And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it? The first Cash Machine was at Barclays, Enfield Town. 9
I wonder when these photos were taken? Let me know for October edition!
The next Islington meet up will be on Thursday 20th March at The White Swan near Highbury Corner.
Dave Fairhurst, 31 Roedean Avenue, EjiQeld, Middx. EN3 5QJ 020 8804 1959.
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
This site, http://www.ltssac.org/ © LTSSAC