When you signed off for the last time and came ashore ....

Shannoner
18th April 2008, 09:59
When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .......What did you do regarding employment?
I know a few ex R/Os who did well for themselves when they came ashore. So I was curious about others. Did you stay in the Radio/Electronics field? Or did you start a whole new career?
I finished college in 1980 with my MRGC and DoT Radar. Needless to say I couldn't get to sea as an R/O, no one was hiring juniors. I spent a year applying to radio and shipping companies with no result. But I then got a job with Decca Survey as a field engineer, next best thing to an R/O, got to travel doing a lot of offshore work in the oil industry. I packed that in after 5 years and got a job back home in Ireland installing and maintaining point of sale equipment. But due to the economic climate (mid 80s) the company went bust and I was unemployed again.
So I took myself off to New York, along with half the 18-40 age group population of Ireland. I undertook a wide selection of jobs during my 6 years in NYC, none of them in radio/electronics as they were too poorly paid, I even drove one of those horse and carriages in Central Park for a few months(EEK) .
I returned to Ireland in early 90s and worked for Gateway computers for a year and then joined Dictaphone installing and maintaining communication recorders.
After Dictaphone I got a job with An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) as a Telecoms Tech, and that is where I am today, along with a few ex R/Os.
I must add that I didn't undertake any further study and I got all these jobs on the strength of the MRGC and DoT Radar. Of course I did a lot of in-house courses with the companies that employed me, in order to keep up with technology, but I found that employers in the electronics industry here recognised R/O qualifications and had a lot of respect for them.

kottemann
18th April 2008, 10:16
Hello Shannoner

Fortunately I missed most of the dark 80s and early 90s because I was at sea. When I left the sea I did my cert in maintenance technology in Bolton Street, and like yourself ended up working in what was known as Quinnsworth now Tesco installing point of sale equiptment and computer systems. I worked for a security company after that installing 2 way radio systems. I started with IBM in 1998 doing component level debug on circuit boards and quicly after that became obsolete I was moved to their server divison as a field technician, but alas its been about 8 years since I have lifted a soldering iron or a multimeter. I still build the odd kit at home and have a big VHF that I liberated from one of my old ships that I like to tinker with. I also have a sideline repairing and installing sattelite systems and in car entertainment.

non descript
18th April 2008, 10:24
When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .......What did you do regarding employment?


I went from the Sea Staff to the Chartering Department and started all over again as a trainee, with a cut in salary of 79.2per cent - which was a little awkward for a newly married man with a mortgage.
(Thumb)

Shannoner
18th April 2008, 10:53
Hi Robbie and Tonga,

From your profiles I gather you were both Deck Officers. I assumed it was easier for R/Os and Engineers to find shore employment. But I often wondered what the Deck lads did, although I am sure anyone with a Masters ticket would be very employable in some kind of management role.

Dave Wilson
18th April 2008, 11:13
I think your assumption was shared by most although I often wonder what ex Radio Operators did. The obvious choice for ex Deck men was pilotage either abroard or in Europe (depending on batchelor status etc). Ship management was also a natural progression. Ship Management is probably more important now than ever as the system since the ISM has produced a new style of 'Officer'. The older generation are still in demand.

Shannoner
18th April 2008, 12:01
I think your assumption was shared by most although I often wonder what ex Radio Operators did. The obvious choice for ex Deck men was pilotage either abroard or in Europe (depending on batchelor status etc). Ship management was also a natural progression. Ship Management is probably more important now than ever as the system since the ISM has produced a new style of 'Officer'. The older generation are still in demand.

Uh oh Dave you may have caused offence in here(*)) (*)) (*)).
Radio Operators??? better read this thread http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=17110

Regards
Mick

Dave Wilson
18th April 2008, 12:15
Mick,
Don't read anything into it. You will find that those who take offence at a little thing like that a few. Experience is invarsely proportion to sensitivity!

BA204259
18th April 2008, 12:31
Mick,
Don't read anything into it. You will find that those who take offence at a little thing like that a few. Experience is invarsely proportion to sensitivity!

Phew!! Well that's OK then, Skipper..(Jester)

Dave Wilson
18th April 2008, 13:17
Phew!! Well that's OK then, Skipper..(Jester)


Thanks for that.......Sparkie![=P] [=P]

Chouan
18th April 2008, 14:12
Did my penultimate trip with Maersk, which I thoroughly enjoyed, great crowd, 2 brilliant "dads", then did my first year as an undergraduate, then did what turned out to be my last trip with Maersk as a vacation job. First part was fine, then got an absolute b*****d as an old man, who reminded me of everything I didn't like about being at sea, which made my decision easier.
Because I was going back to university I could handle it, besides, what could he do? sack me? and what for? It was a strange feeling!
I went back to university, was offered work there, and never looked back; sort of.

David Davies
18th April 2008, 15:19
After 15 years in MN I came ashore in 1963. Started as a progress chaser and assistant buyer in an engineering stock holding company, went on to become the buyer and eventually becoming an exacutive director in 1977. When company was bought out by Multi-National in 1984 I retired at the age of 52 and have been retired ever since. Contrary to populay belief, the average ship's officer had much to offer an employer, the willingness to accept responsibility on his own back, the ability to get things done and not pass the buck and eventually to become, dare I say it, nearly indispensable.
In my time in industry I came across several ex ship's officers holding down very responsible positions in non maritime concerns, we all had one thing in common, we left the MN at about 30 and had all been 1st Mate. Perhaps another factor that influenced my advancement in the company was that I married the bosses daughter

sailingday
18th April 2008, 16:01
Ex steward waiter, first shore job in a factory, decent pay, home for every Christmas, weekends free to go to the match, but after a couple of years got itchy feet, luckily I got a job with British Rail (as was), as a dining car steward, more like the life I was used to and stayed until I was made redundant (virgin Trains) for 32 years

Jim Harris
18th April 2008, 16:18
[QUOTE=Shannoner;209477]When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .......What did you do regarding employment?



After leaving the M.N. I emigrated to Australia.

The Power of the Pussy.

I got in with a bad crowd and sank pretty low, only just
avoiding 'skid row'.

From door-to-door selling to Sales Director, I had a roller-coaster
career....and after 45 years in the workforce I returned to what
I was trained to do in the first place.... a Fitter and Turner!!

Regards,

Jim.

JoK
18th April 2008, 16:18
I went from the Sea Staff to the Chartering Department and started all over again as a trainee, with a cut in salary of 79.2per cent - which was a little awkward for a newly married man with a mortgage.
(Thumb)

I didn't take near that cut, but it was still painful when I came ashore!!

mikeg
18th April 2008, 16:21
On the 18th January 1987 I walked ashore at Tranmere from my last ship 'Serenia' and took the chance to collect redundancy payment as Shell were re-flagging at the time.
With my redundancy payment I started up a new company called 'Highland Analogue' retailing high-end hi-fi equipment, I ran the company as a sole trader for 12 years. After that I officially retired and got involved with local and hospital radio. After studying to be an SQA Assessor for the 'Certificate in Local Radio' I co-presented a live two hour jazz programme broadcasting every week for five years on 'Moray Firth Radio' along with my wife whilst also presenting programmes on Inverness Hospital Radio. I also do PA and sound reinforcement for bands
I was voted chairman of 'The Highlands & Islands Community Broadcasting Federation' for the last two years which I've now stood down from to concentrate on building a Community Radio station for Inverness, I was awarded a Community Radio licence for Inverness by Ofcom last year and I hope we should be on-air by October, www.nessfm.org. Lastly, I hope not finally! as if my retirement wasn't busy enough, at 64 years of age I'm learning to fly to earn the PPL..so watch out above you if you're in the north of Scotland.... your life is at risk (EEK)

Shannoner
18th April 2008, 16:22
David, I was very impressed with your post and I thought "Here is a guy who has done very well for himself after coming ashore."
Then you ruined it all by giving the real reason for your success......
Perhaps another factor that influenced my advancement in the company was that I married the bosses daughter

(Jester) (Jester) (Jester)

non descript
18th April 2008, 16:35
I didn't take near that cut, but it was still painful when I came ashore!!

Yes JoK, it was painful - for apart from the frightening drop in salary, the other unfortunate bit was going (on the Friday night) from being able to do a job with (possibly) a reasonable level of ability and at least knowing what I was doing, to start on the Monday morning, knowing absolutely nothing about the job and knowing that if and when my phone rang, it would either be a wrong number, or a question I could not answer. Mind you this last bit is still valid today..

Clive Kaine
18th April 2008, 17:13
After 8 years at sea as an RO, I could see the way the British shipping industry was headed, so I left my last ship at Singapore in July 1981 and got a job working on computerised scanning equipment used in the printing industry. In 1984 I moved into the IT industry, and that's where I am today, working first as a field engineer, and nowadays as a remote support engineer for Sun Microsystems.
I don't regret leaving the sea when I did, but I absolutely don't regret the time I spent at sea, it was defining period in my life.

JoK
18th April 2008, 18:28
Yes JoK, it was painful - for apart from the frightening drop in salary, the other unfortunate bit was going (on the Friday night) from being able to do a job with (possibly) a reasonable level of ability and at least knowing what I was doing, to start on the Monday morning, knowing absolutely nothing about the job and knowing that if and when my phone rang, it would either be a wrong number, or a question I could not answer. Mind you this last bit is still valid today..

LOL, I hear you on the phone thing!!
My Boss always used to say before he retired: that something would happen on the ship, everyone would gather around in a huddle, the Chief, the Regulatory fellows, the Contracting guy and when they stopped discussing the problem, they would look to us, the lowest paid people in the group for an answer (Jester)

IAINT
18th April 2008, 19:28
Hi Shannoner

Made redundant in 1981 after 18 years with Marconi, then went to the oil rigs for the next 19 years. Now retired.

Regards
Iain T

Bridie
18th April 2008, 19:42
AB.
Married in 1971 and stayed on at sea on the coast or did delivery jobs, but decided to follow follow my wife's career and become a primary school teacher. They were looking for men from non-academic backgrounds to enhance the primary teaching pool at that time and were offering enhanced grants.

Needed Highers (A Levels) so took job as a builder's labourer/dumper driver so that I could attend evening classes to gain required qualifications. Much lower pay than as an AB, and with young family by that time.

Managed to get into teacher training college in Dundee, and after 3 years on a grant (even lower income!) graduated as a primary teacher. I've done a variety of things in education in both primary and secondary and special needs here and in Zambia. Wife and I both interested in ICT and now I work from home part-time for secure web site for young children. I now get small teacher's pension (now I'm over 60) and wife is on part-time as well. We are "comfortable".

Moulder
19th April 2008, 11:39
I think your assumption was shared by most although I often wonder what ex Radio Operators did. The obvious choice for ex Deck men was pilotage either abroard or in Europe (depending on batchelor status etc). Ship management was also a natural progression. Ship Management is probably more important now than ever as the system since the ISM has produced a new style of 'Officer'. The older generation are still in demand.

I was always given to think that ex Deck men would go ashore and sell insurance. Well that was the line of thought doing the rounds when I swallowed the anchor.

Steve.
(Thumb)

Ian6
19th April 2008, 12:57
I left after getting my Master's in 1964 ,not because I could foresee what was coming in the 70's & 80's but because my Dad was critically ill. I was on 'unpaid leave without loss of seniority' so looked for something to pay the bills.

IBM advertised for Deck Officers under 30 with at least 1st Mates to train as Systems Analysts. Remembering that in 1965 I had heard of ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) but not of IBM I applied half-heartedly. So did 140 others! Two of us got accepted after a gruelling all day interview and aptitude session. I queried the value of the tests and was told that they only took people who scored more than something or the other and the company was growing at 80% compound p.a. I said 'You don't know how you would grow with other people' and have always suspected I was the sample idiot they tried.

Commercial computing was in its infancy in 1965 and expandingly rapidly. IBM analysed their existing systems and programming workforce. There were three main groups: Accountants, graduates of any flavour and navigators (some ex-short service commission but mainly ex MN)

Computing kept me happily employed for rest of my working life. The name of the game changed from Machine Accounts to Data Processing to Information Technology over the decades but the same old mistakes keep being made.
Ian

K urgess
19th April 2008, 13:59
Came ashore in 1977 for various reasons but one of the main ones was there was nowhere to go.
Sparkie's don't get promoted.
Went to work for SAIT (Belgian radio company) as a shoreside tech for a couple of years but got fed up with doing the jobs sparkies can't be bothered to do.
Went on a government computer course down Oxford Street in London that was a great waste of time (open book exams) and I left to get a job as field engineer for a company installing new electronic POS (cash register) systems, bar code readers, and the first laser scanners.
Managed to commute that into a job as a computer field service engineer with Digico and lasted through a load of takeovers until they finally went belly up after eleven years and several name changes.
Started a field service company with another redundant engineer from the same company which we ended up selling to another computer company that we went to work for.
All this before PCs.
Mostly mini computers the size of your average chest of drawers.
Got into PCs when they first came out then went into machinery automation on chocolate bar wrapping machines.
Another redundancy saw me wangle a job as Autocad designer for one of the partner firms which slowly changed into more machinery control and starting another company when redundancy loomed again.
All the redundancies were generated by companies going bust in the Thatcher years.(Cloud)
Got dropped in it by a customer going bust (story of my life) so I got a job as electrical engineering manager for a HVAC firm doing a lot of offshore work.
Lasted three years before I decided I'd rather live to draw my pension than earn megabucks. (EEK)
May also have something to do with trying to design the controls/PLC program for a ventilation system for safely changing the nuclear fuel rods in HM submarines.
Managed to get a job doing simple controls for car park barriers and rising pavements which I decided last year was just getting too bound up with Eurolegislation.
Now I work for the Memsahib. Doing carpentry on her houses.
About as non-technical as you can get.[=P]
I guess us sparkies were reasonably lucky in the 80s and 90s with the boom in consumer electronics and the developments in technology.

Shannoner
19th April 2008, 16:57
IBM advertised for Deck Officers under 30 with at least 1st Mates to train as Systems Analysts.

Thats interesting Ian. I am curious as to what attributes IBM thought that 1st Mates or Masters had, that would make them good Systems Analysts?

Mick

Shannoner
19th April 2008, 17:18
I guess us sparkies were reasonably lucky in the 80s and 90s with the boom in consumer electronics and the developments in technology.

I have to agree with you there, and I found that a lot of employers liked guys (or gals) with R/Os qualifications. They knew that we learned to be hands on, unlike some HNDs and Degrees which stuffed your head with theory and neglected the practical side.

Mick

surfaceblow
19th April 2008, 17:26
I last signed off a ship October 2004 and didn't use all of my vacation leave until the end of June 2005 and officially became retired July 2005. I use to tell by wife that I was going to get the Forrest Gump job at one of the seven local colleges that still was tuition free for their employees and dependents. So the only thing I had to worry about was not running over a co ed while cutting the grass.
I didn't get the Forrest Gump job at the college (didn't apply). I now have the Forrest Gump job around the homestead three tractors, three cars, three houses and a lot of lawn. I just finished cutting 3 acres of grass of the 6 acres around the house yesterday afternoon. I need a new ball cap to protect the top of my balding head from the sun.(Thumb)

K urgess
19th April 2008, 17:27
Funnily enough I can't remember any ex-sparkies in any of the jobs I did after quitting MimCo.
They all seemed to have vanished.
Maybe it was because I got out of radio and audio altogether after about 1980.

Shannoner
19th April 2008, 17:33
I just finished cutting 3 acres of grass of the 6 acres around the house yesterday afternoon.

You should invest in a hay baler and make a few bucks, I grew up on a farm here in Ireland and we had hay fields smaller than that! (Jester)

Mick

Shannoner
19th April 2008, 17:47
Funnily enough I can't remember any ex-sparkies in any of the jobs I did after quitting MimCo.
They all seemed to have vanished.
Maybe it was because I got out of radio and audio altogether after about 1980.

I suppose Ireland is a smaller place and as a consequence the electronics industry is smaller too, so you tend to get to know other engineers/techs.
In nearly every electronics job I have been in I have come across ex R/Os or people who did the course but didn't get to sea.
My head of section who retired last year was an ex R/O. Another colleague of mine who was an R/O left about 4 years ago to go and work in Valentia Radio, he was trying to get a transfer out of Dublin to Kerry or Cork but there were no vacancies, so when the Irish CG advertised for R/Os for Valentia he jumped at it. The only problem now is that the govt. has decided to close Valentia and Malin Head and operate both stations remotely from Dublin. Still don't know what will happen to the R/Os in both stations but they are fighting it.

Mick

K urgess
19th April 2008, 18:12
Should have said after quitting SAIT 'cos that was almost all ex-sparkies.
It may be something to do with the high proportion of Irish sparkies, Mick.
It always used to surprise me that it seemed like every second sparks in Marconi was Irish.
Not even immune myself since two paternal great grandfathers came from the Emerald Isle. (Thumb)

Shannoner
19th April 2008, 18:24
It may be something to do with the high proportion of Irish sparkies, Mick.
It always used to surprise me that it seemed like every second sparks in Marconi was Irish.
Not even immune myself since two paternal great grandfathers came from the Emerald Isle. (Thumb)

That must be the reason that sparkies had the reputation for being p*ss heads, the high proportion of Irish sparkies must have given the rest of them that reputation! (Jester) (Jester) (Jester)

Mick

Ian6
19th April 2008, 18:50
Hi Mick
I asked that question at the interview, apparently the IBM managers felt that navigation displayed enough mathematical ability to cope with all normal business calculations (you don't need astro-physics to program the sales ledger) whilst cargo stowage (several loading ports, several discharge ports) required some reasonable logic.

Certainly those of us in the 60's with a navigational background at IBM all prospered, the only guy recruited via their interview routines who failed to make the grade had a BSc in mathematics, but lacked the common sense that you soon acquired surviving at sea.

The computing world has changed nearly as much in four decades as has shipping. There was no such thing as a computer science graduate then so companies had to try to identify suitable candidates.

I rapidly recognised that 9-5 in London in the mini-skirt era beat the 12-4 in the Indian Ocean, not to mention meeting my wife of 40 years on day 2 at IBM!

Cheers

Ian

surfaceblow
19th April 2008, 19:08
The local grass police will not let me grow the ground cover more than 30 cm or so unless I have 10 acres.

kottemann
19th April 2008, 19:36
Certainly those of us in the 60's with a navigational background at IBM all prospered, the only guy recruited via their interview routines who failed to make the grade had a BSc in mathematics, but lacked the common sense that you soon acquired surviving at sea.

Nobody Prospers at IBM anymore believe me(Cloud)

d.mccarthy
19th April 2008, 19:40
came ashore in 77 to get married ,and try to settle down, after a couple of months felt like a fish out of water ,went back to sea for one trip ,by then gp was coming in .company's where changing flags left right and center ended up back on the beach litterly ,got a start as a rigger in the steel works , am now a eto crane driver , and now i,m easy looking out my back window ,Devon to port, swansea to starboard the whole bay to watch ships come and go,yours del

Chouan
19th April 2008, 23:23
I was always given to think that ex Deck men would go ashore and sell insurance. Well that was the line of thought doing the rounds when I swallowed the anchor.

Steve.
(Thumb)

Shows that there's more to us than meets the eye then, doesn't it.
My wife's cousin was an R/O, sailing with Bank Line, among others, although I didn't find out until long after we were married, until after I came ashore in fact; he became a very senior man indeed with RTE.

ChasD
19th April 2008, 23:36
......I just finished cutting 3 acres of grass of the 6 acres around the house yesterday afternoon. I need a new ball cap to protect the top of my balding head from the sun.(Thumb)[/QUOTE]


Strange you should say that, I just finished brush-hogging the back field myself, thought I was the only tractor jockey in the gang ! (Thumb) ... Regards Chas.

surfaceblow
20th April 2008, 01:20
My are toys compare to the M-F. Two Gravey's, a broken Deere and another Deere in the garage

ChasD
20th April 2008, 07:18
The real fun element with the massey is the challenge in restoring it to working condition - actually mowing the grass is a by-product!

Robinj
21st April 2008, 12:15
After nearly eight years as an R/O, gave up anything to do with Radio went into manufacturing in Abrasive engineering ended up as a Plant Manager before retiring. Probably gave up at the right time. But still miss those days.

Dave Wilson
21st April 2008, 12:25
That must be the reason that sparkies had the reputation for being p*ss heads, the high proportion of Irish sparkies must have given the rest of them that reputation! (Jester) (Jester) (Jester)

Mick

I did sail with one or two sane ones![=P]

K urgess
21st April 2008, 13:45
Don't remember sailing with you, Dave. [=P]
But then they do say that most mad people insist they're the only sane one in the madhouse. (Jester)
To save myself from the more common sparkie ailments as mentioned by Shannoner, I could usually find a suitable ship to dry out on.

Norm
22nd April 2008, 05:10
Actually I thought the starter of this thread asked what sparkies did when they came ashore..... I met many ex sparks who became instrument technicians in the oil gas & chemical industries. Also as comms techs in the same industries. One ex sparks I knew was a right character. Coming home on leave from Esso in Libya got so drunk on the B-Cal flight to Gatwick and fell on to the rotating luggage belt. Couldnt get off again and all the luggage handlers were trying to prise him off with poles. Ex sparks were great guys to work with, and could rig an extension areal to your short wave radio of exactly the right length to get the BBC world service.

R651400
22nd April 2008, 06:48
That must be the reason that sparkies had the reputation for being p*ss heads, the high proportion of Irish sparkies must have given the rest of them that reputation! Mick

Not all of them Mick. When I was on the Aussie coast had a visit, complete in whites, from two Irish first trippers from Orient Line's Oronsay wanting info on direct employ.
After showing them around, offered a beer and nearly fell over when they said they had signed the pledge!!

Bill Davies
22nd April 2008, 07:11
That is one or two more than me Dave.

Shannoner
22nd April 2008, 08:04
Actually I thought the starter of this thread asked what sparkies did when they came ashore..... I met many ex sparks who became instrument technicians in the oil gas & chemical industries. Also as comms techs in the same industries. One ex sparks I knew was a right character. Coming home on leave from Esso in Libya got so drunk on the B-Cal flight to Gatwick and fell on to the rotating luggage belt. Couldnt get off again and all the luggage handlers were trying to prise him off with poles. Ex sparks were great guys to work with, and could rig an extension areal to your short wave radio of exactly the right length to get the BBC world service.

Yes Norm the question was originally asked of Sparkies, but it is good to hear what the lads from the Deck and Engineering Depts did too. Especially the deck lads as I would of thought the shore employment would have been more difficult to find for them, as the sparkie and engineering skills would transfer ashore much easier.
That was the reason I did the Sparkie course, as I wanted an alternative if I didn't like the seagoing life, that and an interest in radio which helped.

spongebob
22nd April 2008, 08:05
I believe that people with BOT navigational tickets and radar experience are in demand for training as air traffic controllers. Good pay, internatonal oportunities but a stressful job. Have any SN members made this move?

Shannoner
22nd April 2008, 08:39
Not all of them Mick. When I was on the Aussie coast had a visit, complete in whites, from two Irish first trippers from Orient Line's Oronsay wanting info on direct employ.
After showing them around, offered a beer and nearly fell over when they said they had signed the pledge!!

What would you bet that by the end of their first trip the pledge was but a distant memory.(Pint)

All us good Irish Catholic boys take the pledge when we make our Conformation. Mine was soon forgotten when I went to radio college at the age of 16.(Pint)

Cheers lads(Pint)
Mick

Moulder
22nd April 2008, 12:11
I believe that people with BOT navigational tickets and radar experience are in demand for training as air traffic controllers. Good pay, internatonal oportunities but a stressful job. Have any SN members made this move?

Thats interesting Bob - a couple of my ex-RO colleagues went into this area after leaving the sea - more suited to those with slick radio procedure etc. I wouldn't have thought this was a career suitable for ex-Mates - I could be wrong.

Regards,

Steve.
(Thumb)

Dave Wilson
22nd April 2008, 12:19
Uh oh Dave you may have caused offence in here(*)) (*)) (*)).
Radio Operators??? better read this thread http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=17110

Regards
Mick

Mick,

Deck lads? Surely you mean Deck Officers!

Penace: An Our Father and two Hail Mary's

Dave

Bill Greig
22nd April 2008, 12:40
I sailed with a second mate who had retired from the RAF as an air traffic controller and returned to sea on a chemical tanker - m.v.Post Champion. Needless to say his nickname onboard was "Biggles"!

K urgess
22nd April 2008, 12:41
Another faux pas, Dave. (EEK)
I'm sure there were more lads on deck than just the mates. [=P]
Penance -
Eternal standbies on the focsle.

Kris

Dave Wilson
22nd April 2008, 12:54
Another faux pas, Dave. (EEK)
I'm sure there were more lads on deck than just the mates. [=P]
Penance -
Eternal standbies on the focsle.

Kris

Thank god! I thought you were going to give me the rosary!

BA204259
22nd April 2008, 13:30
Thank god! I thought you were going to give me the rosary!

That's your final warning! Your next penance will be two days in the barrel - see if we can get some sense into you that way..(EEK):sweat:

Shannoner
22nd April 2008, 14:25
Mick,

Deck lads? Surely you mean Deck Officers!

Penace: An Our Father and two Hail Mary's

Dave

Dave, here in Ireland we use the word "lads" as a term of endearment, e.g. "I had great craic in the pub last night with the lads", (lads being my best friends).
So it was probably a poor choice of words when referring to officers from the deck dept as lads.[=P] [=P] [=P]

And listen here, I don't think being a Master Mariner entitles you to give out penance.(Jester)
Unless you are now Fr. Dave, and didn't tell us.

Dave Wilson
22nd April 2008, 14:30
Dave, here in Ireland we use the word "lads" as a term of endearment, e.g. "I had great craic in the pub last night with the lads", (lads being my best friends).
So it was probably a poor choice of words when referring to officers from the deck dept as lads.

And listen here, I don't think being a Master Mariner entitles you to give out penance.(Jester)
Unless you are now Fr. Dave, and didn't tell us.

Mick,
I understood you fully.

As long as I'm not Father Bunloaf from Ferns![=P]
Dave

CrazySparks
22nd April 2008, 14:45
Interesting thread this.

I remember that when I first went to Riversdale in 1973 at the ripe age of 16, the Merchant Navy was 'crying out' for Radio Officers. Three years later, when I finished, it was a struggle getting a job at all. But MIMCo came to the rescue.

As I got to the age of 23 I started worrying - great money (tax free), great girls, great life. But 25 and 30 became prominent as significant milestones in life. I knew I was doomed if I carried on!

So at at 24, I did a brief stint in 4 para in Liverpool (got my wings and all), with a view to an army career, got into a spot of bother and retreated back to sea for a while.


But things hadn't changed! So I applied for a grant, (you could still get them then!) and went to do a degree in Preston in electronics in 1984 (I was 27). What rave!!! Loads of money from seatime and great times, great girls - all over again. The first summer vacation I got a job on the coast (more lovely money), did my second year and then took a year out before finishing my honours (at sea - no way would a grant support my lifestyle!). With all the drinking I only managed a 2-2, but what the hell!!! That really was a great way to bury the anchor.

Anyway, after that, I feared boredom, what with the paras and the merchant navy in my byegone days! So I emigrated to South Africa on the spur of the moment and joined the mining industry as a junior engineer.

That only lasted a year - I resigned and got a job as a design engineer in a military communications lab. Great days again - great fun - I actually ended up in the midde east at one time testing equipment on artillery. Wonderful!!

Anyway, my career normalised thereafter. I eventually joined the 'Darkside' by doing an MBA (at around age 44!) and I now direct a company, travelling frequently to Australia and Brazil. What the next 20 years holds, I don't know - but I sure ain't retiring - can't afford it!

I still remember my last trip in 86 (inter -varsity year). She was a bulk carrier, the Nandu Arrow. Gone was the steward service and gone too were all of the junior ranks. There were so many empty cabins and so few of us to carry the workload. I really hated assisting the 'leccy' with crane maintenance - I was simply never cut out for routine - completely spoilt as a sparks! I'd had a great ride, but I really was glad I was getting out for good - at the age of 30 - Phew! Made it!

A Sparky's Odyssey!!!

Shannoner
22nd April 2008, 16:10
Interesting thread this.

I remember that when I first went to Riversdale in 1973 at the ripe age of 16, the Merchant Navy was 'crying out' for Radio Officers. Three years later, when I finished, it was a struggle getting a job at all. But MIMCo came to the rescue.



Great post CrazySparks, thats what I had in mind when I started the thread. Great to hear what others did after coming ashore.
Its amazing what difference a few years make, I was only 4 years behind you, I finished college at the age of 19 in 1980 with MRGC and DoT Radar Maintenance and there was no one hiring Junior R/Os not even MIMCO. If you had your six months sea time there were jobs to be had, but newbies couldn't get the six months, so it was catch 22.

Mick

CrazySparks
22nd April 2008, 17:46
Great post CrazySparks, thats what I had in mind when I started the thread. Great to hear what others did after coming ashore.
Its amazing what difference a few years make, I was only 4 years behind you, I finished college at the age of 19 in 1980 with MRGC and DoT Radar Maintenance and there was no one hiring Junior R/Os not even MIMCO. If you had your six months sea time there were jobs to be had, but newbies couldn't get the six months, so it was catch 22.

Mick

Yes, Mick, I have a huge amount of sincere sympathy for you. I'm sure you also worked your bo**ocks off for those three years, chasing a dream. Even though I got a job, I had to undergo MIMCO's selection procedure - a latter day innovation at the time. I actually fairly screwed up the process but I think they hired me for my exam results - you know, the MRRT with distinctions etc. They really didn't know I was as stable as a neurotic, paranoid politician and a total piss-cat to boot!!! Heh Heh!!! I freelanced/foreign flagged after a year (shame on me, actually, - it was not the most honourable thing to do).

Tell you what though - I got in at the tale end of the most magical, wonderful job in the world! I sometimes wish I'd appreciated it more at the time - but that's youth for you!

Keep well, mate.

Keith

CrazySparks
22nd April 2008, 17:55
Just an after-thought, Mick,

The psychological adjustment of going ashore was quite huge - from a well respected position as a professional in a REALLY unusual and (for shore-side ladies) high prestige job, to student or technician or whatever - from the R/O's chair at a very young age with HUGE responsibilities - not easy, mate.

I'd be most interested in other opinions on this. When you bury the anchor, you leave behind a big part of your life.

Great to read all of your posts - hang on....s*it...no....I'm not going to cry!

Keith

K urgess
22nd April 2008, 18:35
There was an answer to the psychological adjustment - according to Fubar.
My job as shore technician put me off sparkies for life.
Then I closed my mind to it completely apart from dining out on the odd ancient mariner story.
Finding this site has resurrected it all and sometimes I wish it hadn't.
Now coming close to being an ancient mariner for real I can just about tolerate reading something that takes me straight back or can sit staring at a particularly atmospheric picture for hours reliving my past.
So now next to the morse key and the Atalanta there's always a box of tissues to hand.[=P]

CrazySparks
22nd April 2008, 20:46
Dear God, not the Atalanta, Sahib!!!
I sailed with the bloody thing, but trained on and loved the Apollo...what a great receiver! But maybe I was spoilt!

Seriously though, much later in my career I became a design engineer and realised juts how good these products were technically.

You know, I think the RN boys knew an awful lot more than we did about career planning - they were part of an organisation...

Keith

Topherjohn
22nd April 2008, 20:58
I left after getting my Master's in 1964 ,not because I could foresee what was coming in the 70's & 80's but because my Dad was critically ill. I was on 'unpaid leave without loss of seniority' so looked for something to pay the bills.

etc .......................

Computing kept me happily employed for rest of my working life. The name of the game changed from Machine Accounts to Data Processing to Information Technology over the decades but the same old mistakes keep being made.
Ian
Fairly similar to me. After passing Masters 1969 I came ashore 1970 as trainee Cobol Programmer for a Teeside chemical company. Dropped about 33% in salary, not easy with wife 2 sons+ mortgage. Stroke of luck - DP Manager had a Programmer's resignation landed on desk on day my "on spec." letter. Thought "What the b....y hell's a Master's FG Cert?" so just to find out he interviewed me without advertising - and offered me the job.

When I wrote my first 3 Cobol programs I thought it'd be fun to name all the paragraph's after parts of a ship working from for'ard to aft and keel to truck! Big mistake! Nobody else could find their way around the program for maintenance but me!

Found I didn't know an invoice from a requisition but learned fast. In 1973 asked to set up greenfield computer site and department for Tioxide in Tasmania; there 3 years with family then returned to Teeside. 1978 on shortlisted interview for DP Manager MNOPF at Epsom CEO Peter Evanson (ex-B&I/Union Castle) said "I see you once were a member of the Fund Mr Clarke". Thinking I was home & dry I confidently replied "yes". Then he said "I also see you withdrew your money when you came ashore!". Deflated wasn't the word - but got the job anyway. One day I searched all the old manual records to see how many cadets I'd known at Warsash were still at sea. Found about 6 I think (others perhaps in company schemes).

1996 passed RYA Yachtmaster's Cert., examiner couldn't understand how I managed 98% in Rules of Road until I let him in on my secret.
After MNOPF, Systems Manager in manufacturing then Consultant with large worldwide systems integrator; mostly UK also Canada, Rome, Vienna. After serious illness 1990 - 1996 independent IT consultant including 6 months India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Brunei, Singapore for UK bank. 1999 - 2002 consultant with Pfizer, Royal Mail and Govt. Agency, then signed-on full time as retired old grumpy. Whoopee! its fantastic! With my wife, climbing, golf, running, 3 sons and (almost) 3 grand-children!

Reflections - wanted nothing but MN from childhood, wouldn't have missed it for the world. Feel privileged especially for Warsash, Master's cert., places and oceans, different peoples I saw, ships I sailed on and those I sailed with. Missed growing family and wife so came ashore. Felt strange at first but soon got used to it. Very fortunate to have had 2 careers I loved and which paid the bills. Warsash, Masters and sea-time stood me in very good stead ashore. Now wallowing in (Ships) nostalgia!

Duncan112
22nd April 2008, 21:04
I sailed with a second mate who had retired from the RAF as an air traffic controller and returned to sea on a chemical tanker - m.v.Post Champion. Needless to say his nickname onboard was "Biggles"!

Another aside...

Mr Mayoh (He that wrote the book) served in Wellingtons (Bombers, not the boots!!) during the Second World War, then (presumably) went to sea before finishing up as Vice Principal of Merchant Navy College where I met him.

Duncan

holland25
22nd April 2008, 23:32
Paid off my last ship in 1970 though I didn't know it at the time. Managed to get a job operating and maintaining monitoring equipment at a site in Mauritius. Stayed for three years and managed to get my C & G Full Tech. Moved back to the UK and was on contract to the European Space Agency, again looking after and operating electronic equipment connected with satellite checkout. Moved from there to British Airways were I worked on their real time booking system which involved a world wide computer network.Moved on to Philips and helped them develop a national and later international computer network. I was then offered a job in Australia as the Network Engineering Manager at the the computer centre of a large Australian company. This eventually turned into a separate computer service company and we were bought by General Electric in 1997. I didnt survive that so became a Project manager for data communication infrastructure projects at Ericsson. I reached retirement and now live in a nice part of Melbourne surrounded by water and a good view of the passing ships.I have five sports mad Aussie grandsons who like to take the mickey out of their Pommy grandpa and his funny accent. The chief steward of a Bluey once asked me sadly why I had chosen to be a Sparkie, there was no future in it. He got a lot of other things wrong as well.

mikeg
23rd April 2008, 12:47
The chief steward of a Bluey once asked me sadly why I had chosen to be a Sparkie, there was no future in it. He got a lot of other things wrong as well.

What a cheek! Did you ever hear what sort of future that chief steward had?

An interesting and varied career.

Mike

Roger Bentley
23rd April 2008, 15:28
Another aside...

Mr Mayoh (He that wrote the book) served in Wellingtons (Bombers, not the boots!!) during the Second World War, then (presumably) went to sea before finishing up as Vice Principal of Merchant Navy College where I met him.

Duncan

Frank Mayoh was originally teaching at the Wireless College at 25 John Dalton St, M/c when I was there during the time I was there for my 2nd Clas PMG course Aug 1949-50. He was a great guy and his stories of his RAF service made a nice break during the theory lectures. While he had tried flying as a civilian he did not to my knowledge ever go to sea as a R/O. I remember one young student (we were usually referred to by Frank as 'young slash') on asking the question what happened to the poor people down below when they emptied the planes Elsan over the continent. "Don't worry Slash even the stiffest contents dissipate in a bomber's air stream" His reply was a bit more specific as you can guess rather than my polite version. A great man and fondly rememberd by me. Regards, Roger

K urgess
23rd April 2008, 15:45
Hated the Apollo, Keith.
I think I only had to suffer it twice and one of those times I had to virtually rebuild the damned thing
If it wasn't an Atalanta then someone other than Marconi's kit was preferable.

Reference Derek's Frank Mayoh story the Elsan was the caravan type chemical toilet in the fuselage of wartime bombers.
Slightly off topic but following along. Our local Australian bomber squadron (466) during the war had similair toilet stories.
One involves an unsuccessful emptying over the target.
It had been a particularly violent crossing and everyone, including the pilot had been airsick.
It was decided to empty it just prior to dropping the leaflets.
The emptying was not a success with 90% of the contents on the inside of the Halifax.
Not learning from his mistake the crewman tried to drop the leaflets with exactly the same result.
When the rear gunner tried to get out he found he couldn't open the fuselage doors so had to turn his turret throught ninety degrees and bail out backwards on the tarmac.
The ground crew were not very pleased.

I still refer to my Danielsen & Mayoh when the need arises.

Roger Bentley
23rd April 2008, 18:21
Blimey I can't even get my Frank Mayoh story acknowledged, seems it is now Derek's story! Me Roger!

K urgess
23rd April 2008, 18:40
My most humble apologies, Roger. (egg)
This is what comes of trying to listen to the Memsahib while typing.
I knew I'd do it sooner or later.
Salaams
Kris

Roger Bentley
23rd April 2008, 19:30
Tikhai Burra Sahib Kris, Yok Problem as they said in Turkey. Re mem I have the same problem some time, but she is having a nap just now! We even had curry for tea. Salaams, Roger

holland25
24th April 2008, 10:39
What a cheek! Did you ever hear what sort of future that chief steward had?

An interesting and varied career.

Mike

As far as I know he was just about up for retirement. However there was another steward around at the time of the conversation who has since risen high in the UK Government.

holland25
24th April 2008, 10:44
Frank Mayoh was originally teaching at the Wireless College at 25 John Dalton St, M/c when I was there during the time I was there for my 2nd Clas PMG course Aug 1949-50.

Nice to hear of a fellow graduate from John Dalton St. I was there in 1955-56. I dont remember Mr Mayoh, "Crunch Curwen and his brother were in charge then.

BA204259
24th April 2008, 11:07
... another steward around at the time of the conversation who has since risen high in the UK Government.

What you might call the Merchant Navy's gain and the British public's loss..(Jester)

Dave Wilson
24th April 2008, 11:14
Would that be 'Two J(sh)ag'

Roger Bentley
24th April 2008, 11:33
Nice to hear of a fellow graduate from John Dalton St. I was there in 1955-56. I dont remember Mr Mayoh, "Crunch Curwen and his brother were in charge then.

Holland, Yes Frank left for better things, and I remember Aubrey and brother taking over. I was going to try for a radar ticket in late 1953 and visited the college for old times sake, before deciding to go back to sea with Brocklebanks, who later paid for me to take the ticket at James Watt College Greenock. Do you remember Mrs Webb and the canteen and the famous Sawyers Arms on Deansgate? Regards, Roger

holland25
24th April 2008, 12:33
Yes I do,I think her son did his ticket there just before I started. Dont remember the pub.The place itself was very basic,we used to sit on our hands during the winter to keep them warm. Got me through though.

Regards.

Roger Bentley
24th April 2008, 18:22
Yes I do,I think her son did his ticket there just before I started. Dont remember the pub.The place itself was very basic,we used to sit on our hands during the winter to keep them warm. Got me through though.

Regards.

Hi, The pub was located down on Deansgate, you turned right out of the college main door and about a hundred yards down you reached Deansgate, there was a sort of cross roads and it was just across the road on the left hand side. It was much favoured by the old hands and there was always a smell of best bitter wafting around the morse room in the afternoon. Returning for my 1st Class I was one of those who participated in the lunch time libations. Frank Mayoh got married during my time there and he cut back on his attendance at the Sawyers and other pubs. I note that in the title page of the book he and Danielson wrote he was listed as F C Mayoh BEM, but I don't know when he got this decoratiion. Possibly as a result of his RAF service. Regards, Roger

holland25
24th April 2008, 21:29
Hi, The pub was located down on Deansgate, you turned right out of the college main door and about a hundred yards down you reached Deansgate, there was a sort of cross roads and it was just across the road on the left hand side. It was much favoured by the old hands and there was always a smell of best bitter wafting around the morse room in the afternoon. Returning for my 1st Class I was one of those who participated in the lunch time libations. Frank Mayoh got married during my time there and he cut back on his attendance at the Sawyers and other pubs. I note that in the title page of the book he and Danielson wrote he was listed as F C Mayoh BEM, but I don't know when he got this decoratiion. Possibly as a result of his RAF service. Regards, Roger

I was only 16 in 56 and looked it, so lunchtime drinking wasn't on. The pub you mention was at the top of the street where I used to catch my bus. I am not familiar with the book you and others refer too.

Regards.

Roger Bentley
26th April 2008, 14:36
I never used this book but the details are as follows title MARINE RADIO MANUAL by G L Danielson M.SC Tech, B.Sc, A.I.M.E.E. Head of Telecommunication and Electronics Department, Norwood Techinical College and F C Mayoh, BEM Grad I.R.E.E. 1st Class PMG Certificate. Lecturer, Telecommunication and Electronics Department, Norwood Techinical College. Publshed by George Newnes Limited, Southampton Sreet, London W.C.2 First Published 1966. Regards, Roger

K urgess
26th April 2008, 14:47
Still got my 1st edition copy.
I can't remember why I got it because I already had my ticket when it came out.
Extremely handy because it contains information about kit other than Marconi's.
Good for a nostalgic trip down memory lane now as well.[=P]

jaydeeare
26th April 2008, 22:21
On my Sparks Course at Fleetwood Nautical College, we used Danielson and Mayoh as our 'Bible'. I may still have it - somewhere. It helped me get my C&G in later years.

holland25
27th April 2008, 00:29
Thanks for that I will look out for it.

Regards

andysk
6th May 2008, 13:43
........ Frank left for better things, and I remember Aubrey and brother taking over ........

When did he leave ? I did my PMG2 etc at Norwood Tech in south London under his careful tutelage together with ? Danielson in 1968/1970. The 'bible' cost me 4 guineas, (84/-) and I still have it in the loft somewhere.

One of FM's first lectures was about batteries, I remember him saying then that there was another life outside the MN, and our training may well prove useful sometime in the future, there was really no need to go to sea if you didn't want to.

I'm glad I did though, I wouldn't have missed those 8 years with B&C for anything.

Roger Bentley
6th May 2008, 14:44
When did he leave ? I did my PMG2 etc at Norwood Tech in south London under his careful tutelage together with ? Danielson in 1968/1970. The 'bible' cost me 4 guineas, (84/-) and I still have it in the loft somewhere.

One of FM's first lectures was about batteries, I remember him saying then that there was another life outside the MN, and our training may well prove useful sometime in the future, there was really no need to go to sea if you didn't want to.

I'm glad I did though, I wouldn't have missed those 8 years with B&C for anything.

I m not sure when he left, but I get the impression it would have been during the later 1950s - certainly some time after 1952. Rgds, Roger

Tony Selman
6th May 2008, 19:16
I came ashore in 1975 after 11 years at sea. My wife and I wanted to live abroad but couldn't make up our minds between South Africa and Australia. Although Australia House told me I would get in it took a long time to sort out the paperwork and coincidentally there was an advert in some paper or other for R/O's to join Unicorn Shipping in Durban. I told them I was interested in coming ashore and if I joined them I might end up leaving but they paid for my wife and I to fly out anyway. We decided to give it a go whilst we checked the situation out in Durban. I duly joined Unicorn (and became their first ever 3 stripe Electronics Officer) and then promptly left them 3 months later. To their great credit they did not complain.

I joined Burroughs Computers in Durban as a Computer Field Engineer and went straight into EDP (Electronic Data Processing) rather than the usual adding machine route. This was regarded as rather unusual at the time but apparently there were not many people with much exposure to the relevant technology - the Marine Electronics Certificate proved very useful. Mainframe computers cost a fortune in those days and we fixed down to component level on a 24/7 basis with 7 nights standby on a rotating 4 week basis. This was very good for the overtime but not good for sleep and it was rare to go more than a couple of nights without a call. Burroughs Line printers in particular were absolute pigs. I became the National Technical Support wizard on a piece of kit that I loved but everyone else hated called the 1600bpi phase encoded tape. This was basically a complex giant reel to reel tape recorder that was mainly used to back up applications but in certain cases could be used in actual data processing in conjunction with the mainframe. We had loads of them in Durban at a giant South African Railways computer room and they were so troublesome in the early days I got to know them so well I didn't need the circuit diagrams in the end.

I was transferred from Durban to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1977 to start up the Burroughs distributorship there. This was a major league disaster. The distributors were rogues under Saudi ownership but Lebanese management. Riyadh was a tough old place for a Western expat with a 6 month old son in 1977 and I only stayed with them for 18 months. I transferred, with a visa fiddle, to head up the engineering department at the fledgling Data General computer distributorship also in Riyadh. This was a different company altogether and I spent 6 happy years there eventually heading up the whole Computer Division in charge of Sales, Software and Engineering. I then transferred to do the same job for Data General and Tektronix in Abu Dhabi which was also a good posting. We decided to come back in 1985 for the sake of our son's education and I then joined Ferranti Computer Systems based in Wythenshawe in Manchester. I was International Marketing Manager and spent huge amounts of time flying round the globe. Whilst with Ferranti I also worked from their offices in Middlesex and also went back to Riyadh to be their Middle East Marketing Director, again regrettably based in Riyadh but this time it was a great posting which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Ferranti unfortunately went bust in 1994 and I used my Middle East experience by getting a very similar position with an engineering consultancy called Kennedy and Donkin and was based in Dubai for 2 wonderful years. That ended in 1996 when they closed all their international offices and we then decided to come back to the UK for good.

The next 11 years were spent owning two Prontaprint print and copy franchises, the second of which was recently sold and I have now retired.

Like so many I look back on my seagoing years with Brocklebank's and P&O as the happiest days of my working life and I have absolutely no regrets about going to sea.

GWB
7th May 2008, 03:33
Signed off and migrated to Oz best thing every did went back on the tools as most engineers to get beer money, work for machine tool company as national sales manager was made redundant due to take over, this was the best bit as I ended up with the business now retired son runs the job.

GWB

Shannoner
7th May 2008, 09:42
Interesting post Tony. When I finished the MRGC and Radar course in 1980, we had a very enlightened radar lecturer by the name of Stan Rowlinson, a great guy and dedicated to his students. Stan saw that the writing was on the wall for R/Os and no one was hiring junior R/Os, so he used all his contacts to try and fix us all up with jobs ashore. Part of this strategy was to get us work experience with local companies when we finished the Radar course, and I ended up following a Burroughs Engineer around Belfast for a few days. All this guy did was go around all day repairing and maintaining those punch card readers. I remember thinking this guy is more of a mechanic than an electronics tech, as I didn't see any electronics at all. One of my classmates did his experience with IBM doing more or less the same thing. Amazing how far we have come in 28 years!

Tony Selman
8th May 2008, 21:31
Shannoner, there were two distinct parts to Burroughs at that time. The bit that I belonged to which was called EDP (Electronic Data Processing) and the other section which looked after all the mechanical pieces of kit, like the punch card and punch tape equipment you refer to and innumerable variations of the ubiquitous adding machines that basically made Burroughs name. There were far more people maintaining the mechanical stuff than there were in EDP. This was mainly because EDP was a relatively new section at that time because computers, which were all mainframes in those days, were not that common and were very expensive. Hardware was extremely expensive in the 70's and programmers were relatively cheap - the exact opposite of todays situation. Most memory was core and took 3 strong blokes to lift it in and out, although RAM was just starting to come in in the mid 70's and a 15" square board packed full of chips held 64KB of memory.

The two different sections tended to recruit slightly different animals. Obviously a good knowledge of electronics and hopefully a good knowledge of transistors etc and logic helped in the EDP area. The mechanical machines contained relatively little electronics but they were absolutely jam packed with levers, cogs, gears, wheels etc and that took a different skill set to able to fix them. There was a fair increase in salary by working for EDP but in my time relatively few people transferred over.

Peter Eccleson
9th May 2008, 22:02
Shannoner...
Left the sea after 10 years service as R/O in 1981 at the end of QE2 World Cruise to save a marriage!! Shouldn't have bothered!
Went to work shoreside for P&O Three Quays Marine Services as Radio Superintendent ... spent nearly as much time at sea on various flagged vessels but on less than half the salary.
Worked in shipyards installing/commissioning radio nav-aids. Useless pay and not very rewarding work. Did a couple of sea trials and delivery voyages where I was officially 'signed on' as R/O (RRS Charles Darwin and MV Tankerman)

Finally got out of marine electronics and went to Africa selling communications security equipt to military/para military for Racal..... great life!
Back to UK in late 80's and "drifted" into transport technology sales - traffic lights etc. That was early 90's.
Now MD of Traffic Technology Division of major Technology Service company in UK.
Three ex-R/O's in my company that I know of and a couple who qualified but never managed to get jobs before the onset of GMDSS.

Still think that life at sea was the best ever though!

Cheers (Thumb)

Keckers
18th May 2008, 09:06
My route was one that must have been travelled by many.

Left the month on month off RORO ferries that I ended up on, and went on to(not) selling insurance for a few months until we (me and my missus) were on the bones of our A***, when I got a call from EAE who were needing an R/O for a drilling rig, joining in Burntisland, Fife round about 1986.

Since then I've been offshore - some good, some bad. Been on my current platform for 15 years (and through almost as many contractor company employers). Wouldn't recommend it - but its a living. Now doing 2 weeks on the platform, 3 weeks at home. Don't believe they hype about the film star wages either - they are okay, but nothing to boast about.

athinai
18th May 2008, 23:57
I just had a quick look through this thread and I notice many talking about getting their 6 months experience and difficulty in getting to sea. I was most privelaged to have known a neighbour who was a Radio Ham, and I also became a member of a Radio Club, So going to sea as a first or Second was no sweat as I had all the On Air morse I needed ever before going on board. I did in fact wind up doing something like 4 months as a nr 2, it seemed a totally un-necessay requlation.
I wonder why Radio Colleges did not have Ham Stations to give guys real experience on air ? Six months as a Junior was only a Brisith MN thing in any case. Foreign flag was where the money was and all the experience you wanted from day one.' and I was gone like a flash.
Rgds/

K urgess
19th May 2008, 00:10
We had an amateur callsign at Hull Tech but it wasn't used for anything other than identification when doing tests into a dummy load in case of leakage.
Could possibly have been used by the lads that did the night class for amateur ticket.
I never bothered and when I came ashore I gave up radio virtually altogether except where I had to use my knowledge.
The Hull callsign was G7SD

Cheers
Kris

Quiney
4th October 2008, 19:25
After 13 years as R/O I decided that I had to come ashore and I was one that did take the 'selling insurance' route.
Worked for Barclays Bank for a couple of years. Moved over to Guardian Royal Exchange, battled on, became a manager, moved slowly into the computer (pc) side of things, transferred to the IT department, became a Project Manager, then Resource Manager. Then made redundant!
Have been running my own soft-furnishing business for the last 8 years!

Lifes a funny old thing.....

fredav1
10th October 2008, 23:58
Just like to say that after my 5 years at sea as a lowly AB I started on a building site cleaning & painting girders then became a Dock Policeman, then a correspondence clerk in a major company. From there I became a television engineer for 20 years, fancied a change & became a telephone systems instalation engineer & ended up a fax engineer when I retired. I then got a job managing various company accounts with a sharesave management company when I finally retire once again. Before taking a course in electronics I had no dealings in that direction whatsoever. I've enjoyed every one of the jobs I have done. They were all interesting in their own way.

tedc
14th October 2008, 10:29
Thats interesting Ian. I am curious as to what attributes IBM thought that 1st Mates or Masters had, that would make them good Systems Analysts?

Mick

I joined IBM in 1964, just as the company was beginning to hire to meet the rapid expansion of that era.

I never heard of IBM having any kind of hiring system favouring ex MN people.
In general they looked for Uni Grads (for SE roles) and CE looked for those who had a technical background plus the ability to pass rigid IQ tests and technical tests.

However, SEs & Analysts would be grafted into marketing units which were often customer specific - i.e. People with Banking experience would be useful in the Banking arena, etc, etc.

If you were staffing a team who wanted to focus on Shipping Companies, or the Admiralty, etc., it would make sense to put in some Customer facing people who could "talk the talk/walk the walk."

It sounds as if Ian was hired into one of those units.

Great Company, IBM!

They trained you well, paid you well, and gave you an opportunity to develop second to none!

tedc
14th October 2008, 11:00
When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .......What did you do regarding employment?
I know a few ex R/Os who did well for themselves when they came ashore. So I was curious about others. Did you stay in the Radio/Electronics field? Or did you start a whole new career?
.

I left in 1960 (after taking my wife for a trip, to Calcutta, in Brocks).
Completely naive, about shore jobs, I took an immediate job on Manchester Docks as a "Checker". (get in the hatch, count the items going in and out!).
After a few months I used my Radio Quals to get into AEI (Trafford Park) Electronics Test.
AEI actively encouraged employees to improve their skills and almost everyone, in my dept, was doing night school/day release or university at my age group (18 to 25).
So I went back to College to get The National Certificates I felt I should have.
Then, in 1964, IBM & ICL were hiring CEs so I went along and took the tests for both before joining IBM (Manchester) who made the better offer (£1000 a year!!!)
I stayed at IBM for 28 years working my way through fixing Punches & verifiers, computers, then becoming a specialist on large systems and then into Management.

After a year at Hursley Development Labs I came back and was promoted to Manager in Manchester.
After that I went south to become Area Hardware Support Manager and then Southern Region Support Manager.
Finally I was a more Senior Manager running the National Hardware Support Centre in Basingstoke.
In 1992, at the age of 56, I took a very nice retirement package and am enjoying life in Berkshire.

Did being an R/O help me with all this?
That's hard to quantify - however, if you've been in the China Sea in Typhoon conditions, where you've hung onto a wall bracket, scared s...less, you don't tend to let a small matter of a crisis at some Bank's Computer Centre become too much of an issue!

One last point - maybe a different angle - it seems our generation has had the best of the working world. e.g. Jobs with pensions, Employers who seemed to care about employees, being taught how things worked rather than how to swap bits, etc, etc.

Surveillancepilot
14th October 2008, 12:07
I joined the RFA in 1964 shortly after my 19th birthday,foolishly after a year I left to join Marconi, which I hated. I found Marconi impersonal and felt I was a commodity hired out with the gear. I entered aviation eventually qualifying as a pilot. My morse skills came in handy tuning and identing NDB, VOR, and ILS aids. I will always be grateful to the MOD at Empress State Building on the Brompton Rd for giving me my first ' leg up ' in life and to MN crews with whom I sailed,they taught me a lot not only about the job but also a few pointers on life, at 19 I had a lot to learn . Rob

BobClay
14th October 2008, 13:20
Left CP Ships in 1986 after 16 years as a sparks. Worked for the MOD for a year, repairing army equipment at Donnington. Then did a year with BT outside on the telephones. Joined GCHQ and ended up in Bude, Cornwall earwigging satellites.
Took early retirement, but took a part time job in a secondary school to keep me out of the pub. Now look after network/computers/software (we try to do everything in-house, including all network installation and maintenance).

Strangely, working in a school is in it's way, quite similar to working on a ship, only noisier.

Baltic Wal
21st October 2008, 18:30
I came ashore in 1967, mainly for family life, as I had twin daughters. I joined the Police Force as it brought me ahore and provided a house in those days. After two years I transferred to the River Police up and down the Thames estuary. Money wasn't very good in those days and in January 1970 I joined IBM as a trinee programmer.

They had been employing Merchant Navy Officers and one of the interviewers, I found out after, was one of them, ex Clan Line if my memory is right. First question asked was what were my responsibilities when at sea. Fortunately I rattled of the responsibilities of the 3rd and 2nd Mates without any bluffing.

After 5 years I was tempted to go back to sea, but got involved with their MABS system that was being installed on Texaco and Esso VLCC's. Working from the City I managed to get numerous trips across the Channel on the demo syatem on board the Prins Phillipe. I went on assignment to Milan where I then joined there ships in Europe and then a pleasant cruise to the Canary Islands and back to Milan. Also met a lot of Texaco Officers when they came to Milan on the training courses.

I stayed with IBM as a Systems Engineer until 1992 when 22 years to the date of joining I jumped at the chance for early retirement. I have been drawing their pension for 16 years now. Excellent company to work for in those days, particularly in the Branches I worked in.

Shannoner
22nd October 2008, 09:29
IBM obviously saw something in ex MN Officers that they needed, or their head of HR was ex MN :sweat:
Keep it coming, anymore ex IBM people out there?

BOB GARROCH
23rd October 2008, 11:22
I must have struck it lucky Left Shell(Marconi) and applied for a position being advertised in the paper for a Radio Systems Engineer with Pye telecommunications. Found out later why nobody else applied. Three months in Cambridge learning how to commission one of the first wide area VHF Radio Simulcast systems for the Ambulance services in North Wales. Nightmare of a job. four wheel drive vehicle in the mountains .But better paid than the MN, expense account ,company car. Standby allowance of 25% monthly salary per week. But long hours. Then took a transfer to South Africa. fantastic experience radio systems throughout Africa. Now Regional Manager for Motorola retiring 2009. Get back to my old job feet on the table reading a Louis Lamour cowboy book.(Thumb)

harryredvers
17th February 2012, 21:57
K Urgess
(Went on a government computer course down Oxford Street in London)
I did too. Funny thing - in 1967, or thereabouts, I had an interview in Manchester with Honeywell Computers for, I think, field service technician but failed the 'squares-into-round holes' aptitude test before I even got to speak to them. That was the first time I swallowed the anchor. Fast forward to 1979 - I swallow the anchor again and after a few months working as a dustbinman I saw an advertisement in the local paper inviting interested parties to go one evening to the Metropole Hotel, Leeds - subject: jobs in computer industry. I went along and found myself among a couple of hundred 'interested parties' - men, women, boys and girls. All sorts of jobs available, TOPS funded, training in different locations, just first pass the aptitude tests. Yes, these were the same sort of 'squares-into-round holes' aptitude test nemeses I had encountered about eleven years before in Manchester. It was like taking candy from a baby (for a multiplicity of reasons). Now this might be the bit you remember. At the end of the tests they read out names and the bodies disappeared into different rooms (perhaps they'd already told those who had failed, and they had duly disappeared into the night), the rooms corresponded to different branches of the industry and training venues. Gradually the crowd thinned out and there were about a dozen of us left. We, they told us, had done so well in the tests that we had been found suitable to train as field service engineers and so we were to go to CDA training centre in London. As you say it was off Oxford Street, in fact I think it was called Well Street. I did start, in fact I stayed at the Seaman's Mission in Canning Town, but I didn't finish. A few weeks later I got a job as a public house manager with Tetley. A few months later I went back to sea - free-lance.

Graham P Powell
18th February 2012, 08:49
Left the sea and got a job with the Post Office as a telephone engineer installing new gear in telephone exchanges mainly to convert them to STD.
Despite studying at night school and working hard could get no promotion applied to Post Office to work as an R/O. Wrote the letter on a Saturday and posted it. Following Tuesday, my boss rang me up saying they wanted to know
when I could start! . Went to GKA, six weeks in the training school and stayed
there till I got the boot in 1996. Loved every minute of it.
Then worked full time making models( railway locomotives) until wife's serious illness in 2006 when I gave it up. Now just reached 65 so intend carrying on with models looking after the Mrs and generally enjoying life with kids and grand kids.rgds
Graham Powell

jbo
18th February 2012, 20:31
Left my last ship in Montrose Dec 1989. Intended to look for work in the ferry/supply areas. I ended up taking a "temporary" job at Fleetwood Nautical College and I'm still there! The big problem I had was the attitude of none seafarers, they didn't have the "get the job done" attitude seafarers have and I found it most annoying. They've since retired or moved elsewhere and the job is moving forwards at a fair rate of knots.
Do I miss the sea?
No not really!

Peter Eccleson
18th February 2012, 23:18
Hmm....left QE2 in 1981. Joined Three Quays Marine Services (part of P&O) on lot less money - £7500 per year plus a London waiting allowance of £1800 per annum. Then moved to Ships Electronic Services but really hated being 'on the tools'.
Moved into military and para-military sales with Racal Electronics in sub Sahara Africa for a good few years. Spent time in Zimbabwe working for Mugabe's communications department. Got out and moved into Fire & Burglar alarms back in UK. Ran my own buisness for a few years. Eventually sold out and found a 'new' career in the field of transport electronics. Worked through sales in traffic equipment (signals, detection etc) to sales director of a multi-national. Progressed to general management. Met a few ex-R/O's in my industry. Now CEO of an Australian-owned company in the UK specialising in smart ticketing and passenger information systems. 'Transforming the way people connect and commute'.

Varley
18th February 2012, 23:44
Pete, Fabulous career but has your driving improved? David V

cajef
19th February 2012, 10:42
Left the MN in 1968 and joining Decca Radar Ltd which later became Racal-Decca Marine as a marine electronics engineer, I was always more interested in the service of equipment than the operating, I worked for them in various locations in the UK and abroad for thirty years.

Most of the work was on radar installation and service, Decca navigators, Arkas auto pilots, gyro's and in later years ARPA, sat. com's and sat. navigation.

Spent some interesting years working on all sorts of vessels including Royal Navy, passenger ships, ferries, RNLI and fishing vessels, with occasional trips joining ships and sailing with them to install or service as they were on passage, so although I was no longer at sea I was still very much involved in the shipping industry.

Finished off as manager of one of their UK service departments and now retired.

Criffh
19th February 2012, 13:22
Well, I signed off for the last time and came ashore twice! The first time was in March 1973, after six years as a Marconi R/O. Colour tv in the UK was quite a new thing back then, and servicing staff were in big demand. Having spent my last trip reading up on the theory and servicing of colour tv, that was the trade I went into. Marconi's mailed me regular pay & conditions updates, and at the last moment I weakened and went back to sea. EH Depot got me back on articles a day short of the second anniversary of my going ashore. Two years' off articles and it was a case of resitting exams if you wanted to go back to sea. Then spent a further ten years at sea, the majority of the last six being with T&J Harrisons, before seeing the writing on the wall for the R/O, and signing off for the very last time at the end of 1984.
Another big drop in wages, and several electronics-related factory jobs later, I joined a company in the south of England which manufactured ion implanters for the semiconductor industry. Three years' later I was travelling again, commissioning and supporting the machines in semiconductor factories (fabs, as they're known), mostly in Europe, USA, and the Far East - Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, China, and Japan. Not the sort of work everyone would want, with me often being away from the UK for 6 months or more at a time. The pay was very good though!
Back in 1998/99 I spent almost a year at a Hewlett Packard fab in Fort Collins, Colorado. Remember WWV? The flashing red lights of the aerial farm were visible from my hotel room at night. Having used WWV so often when I was at sea, I'd built up a sort of mental picture of what it must be like. Totally wrong of course! It was the nicest place in the US I've ever visited. The Rocky Mountain National Park was only a short drive away, with its amazing scenery and walking.
That job came to an end five years' ago, when the UK factory closed and I took early retirement at 58. Still do the occasional bit of freelance work in the fabs around the world though, and spend my winters chilling out in Thailand. So it's greetings from Pattaya!

R396040
19th February 2012, 15:04
Went ashore after thirty years at sea and first job was Camp Boss on Beryl Oil Rig in N.Sea. Well at least she didnt roll..... That led to Saudi Arabia next five years followed by Libya the last fifteen years till retirement at 65. They wanted me to stay on but decided to enjoy retirement in France and still am fifteen years on.
Stuart

harryredvers
19th February 2012, 22:52
Graham M Powell ...
(Left the sea and got a job with the Post Office as a telephone engineer
installing new gear in telephone exchanges mainly to convert them to STD. ...
Couldn't get promotion.)
I was involved as a TTO in exchange conversions: from small rural manual to AUX5 as I remember. After the 14-week Postal strike of 1971, when I was a postman/driver, I saw a job posted in the Letter Sorting Office in Bradford which seemed, as they would say in common parlance, "Right up my street". Being interested I applied. I had to have two internal interviews with the Head Postmaster's staff; to make sure I was serious and also to make sure I had some pertinent qualifications, I had a PMG2, Bot Radar and CGLI Final Telecomms, and I was at the time one of the first Open University students
(A100 and S100) - but no GCE Maths (see below), before they recommended me for a Promotion Board. This took place in Leeds in mid-1971 with a CTS, a senior engineer and a senior personnel officer. I was in my pomp. We'd just been beaten down by the Heath government after a 14-week siege and I was in no mood to hide in a corner. I got the promotion and with it a transfer to Newcastle Telephone Manager's Office. My section was involved with trunking and dialling information and exchange supervision. My boss had been an engineer and he had kept a nice little duty to keep us entertained viz. to go out to the rural exchanges on the day they switched over to STD and check all the access after the engineers had put it on line at 1300 hours. When we had verified that all dialling services for the UAX were up and running we then went to the manual exchange the UAX served (Alnwick, Hexham, Durham etc) and checked again that everything was hunky-dory. In the office we were responsible for producing the dialling information booklet that the subscribers on the UAX got to enable them to use STD; and two other responsibilities I had was to update the dialling cards displayed in telephone kiosks, and the visible index files used by the operators on the keyboards in the manual exchanges. Tippex had just arrived on the scene! A major aspect of the job was liaison; with engineers, service, sales and printers - it was all about provenance. Letter writing and mailings, forward planning, detailed trunking knowledge (Strowger system was at that time being superceded by reed switching as memory serves me), exchange keyboard supervision et al. Incidentally our neighbouring TMO Area to the west included, I believe, Morecambe and they had enormous trunking problems concerning Morecambe, so much so that they used to say they'd get a man on the moon before they got STD to Morecambe. And they did! I loved the job and Newcastle. Sometimes I was asked why I didn't become an engineer since I had Final telecomms. Tech. City & Guilds. I don't know what I replied but I did remember that just before I left school in 1958 I took the exam for Youth in Training with the Post Office. Whether I passed it or not I wouldn't know. There were more 100 candidates and 8 vacancies - I was 16. Two years later a neighbour's son who was then 15 left school and was started as a Youth in Training. His dad was a T2B. With regard to GCE maths mentioned above: the year before the strike PO Counters advertised in the local paper for staff. Since I already worked for the PO I went to Staff Branch and asked if I could apply. They duly knocked me back on the grounds I didn't have GCE maths. Roll forward a year and Staff Branch have to process my entitlements concerning my promotion and transfer. TTO was an envied promotion and they couldn't understand how a lowly postman had achieved it. One day someone in there asked me how I'd got it. "Didn't have enough 'O' levels" I enlightened him, turning on my heel.
Unfortunately the pay didn't match. After two years I was earning less than I had as a postman/driver and the Heath government brought in a fair rent policy which saw more than a third of my pay absorbed thus. Married but wife unemployed - something needed to be done. I got in touch with South Shields and enquired about the MRGC. then I got in touch with Northumberland CC who gave me a six-month discretionary award. So I did the MRGC course in 6-months, got it and coughed the anchor back up - till 1982. But that's more stories still.
David

Graham P Powell
20th February 2012, 09:54
Hi David, I joined as T2B in the Gloucester telephone area. We were converting exchanges from manual to automatic to start with. Stroud and Nailsworth.Then tranferred to the Forest of Dean where I lived. A lot of STD conversions, extensions and then working with contractors on TXE2 exchanges. By time some of the new buildings were finished you could have put the equipment in a broom cupboard. I studied City and Guilds at Cheltenham tech. Passed all that but every time promotion came up I was rejected so I said sod it and moved to GKA. Doubled my money and completely turned my life around. GKA was brilliant. In some ways I wish I had gone there first.
The Post Office may not have paid very well but job security and pensions etc very good.
All the best
Graham Powell

harryredvers
20th February 2012, 17:24
Hello again Graham and thank you.
I am going to update my Profile sometime but here's what happened:
Left school with 4 GCE in 1958. Worked a passenger clerk (British Railways) then apprentice colour-matcher in botany worsted spinning in a mill. At the time I was a sea cadet and saw the MIMCO ad "Your passport to the World" and applied to several colleges. Accepted by Hull (PMG2). MIMCO till first anchor swallow just after getting Radar Maintenace ticket and staying at the college to do CGLI Final Telecomm Tech, went to sea during the summer holiday with MIMCO but then went to MWC, Chelmsford as a test technician. Short lived, got married and eventually became a postman/driver then the promotion to TTO. I mentioned Strowger to reed switching but now I remember that at this time (early 1970s) crossbar was the thing, reed switching was still a bit in the future. After I got the MRGC I joined Cunard-Brocklebank R&ES and encountered crossbar PABX equipment on the ACTA ships. I didn't shine with it either. In 1979 second attempt at anchor swallowing and was briefly a licensed house manager. Went foreign flag and free-lance from 1980 till 1982 and, after being paid off my last ship virtually on the quayside at Antwerp in $US, I proceeded home and during the journey I read the mail I had received there. Among it was a draft prospectus for a B.Ed at Bradford College. I went to see them and wrote an essay and had an interview and finally did swallow the anchor. Four years later I was QTS - no not a Q-code I can't remember but Qualified Teacher Status. Thus I remained between 1986 and 2008, when I decided I'd had enough and retired.
Incidentally a friend from my days at Hull was John Vaughan. He was at GKA. You might have known him. I know he is dead now, and possibly was before your time.
Best wishes, David

Graham P Powell
21st February 2012, 09:17
Hi David,Thanks for that. In the Gloucester area we had mainly TXE2 but I worked one day at a crossbar exchange which I think was Tewkesbury.
Trouble was, all the work was done by contractors and you never actually got your hands on anything.
I remember John Vaughan very well. He was known as "Cableship" because we had two guys with the same name. He had an Uncle who did excellent railway paintings and I bought two of them which I still have. I did hear that he passed away. All the best
rgds
Graham Powell ( ex T2A and R/O)

Peter Eccleson
29th February 2012, 00:35
Hi Dave V - cant comment on the driving ..... But just had pleasure of police speed awareness course only last week! Better than points. Ironically camera that caught me was one I sold two years earlier. Rough justice!

Flew over IoM last week on the way to Belfast. Gave you a wave!

Cheers

Varley
29th February 2012, 10:40
Pete,

As I recall it wasn't your going fast but your fast stopping that was the problem!

Did you sell the Island its only camera? - it lasted a week or so before being 'necklaced'.

You are always welcome (same place as when we did the day trip from Llandudno, on Snaefell? perhaps Tynwald? but now there is McDonalds opposite - hoping that goes the same way as the camera!)

Waving is fine but "not while the train is standing in the station" please!

David V

Peter Eccleson
3rd March 2012, 00:06
Dave, it's a NO on the camera. We only sold to the Highways Agency. By the way, you know another buddy of mine - Vic Oram. I employed him in traffic after Ships Electronics made him redundant. Change of career did him good. Now doing specs for parking guidance systems.
Definitely pop in if ever on the Island. Haven't been there since visiting you though.
Did you ever consider one of the WC Colwyn Bay reunions?

Varley
3rd March 2012, 10:25
Pete,

Have considered it but I am too comfortable here to leave voluntarily. Anyway I remember the journey. It would have been easier to wait for Summer day trips to start take Snaefell over (would that I could) than overland. Not as strange as getting to Milford Haven, of course. How many of the 'last watch' are usually there? I bump into Mike Craine occasionally don't know if he's the same as SN's

David V

J. Davies
4th March 2012, 03:05
Hi,

Still at sea... my last job as R/O was in 1987. Now working as an electrician on a dive supprt vessel. 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off. Fantastic money.
6 months paid holiday a year. Why leave the sea?

LaFlamme
4th March 2012, 08:10
As with many other young seamen, I left the sea for a beautiful woman. We are still together after 40 years.

I had studied for one year at a navigation school, in preparation for a career as a deck officer, but could not afford to continue school so I stayed at sea, quickly becoming an AB. I loved it. My first job back ashore was as a bricklayer, and after some years at it I became a journeyman mason. Just then, with the help of my wife, I was able to return to the university, and 5 years later I earned my MBA (Masters Business Administration). Then followed a series of interesting, and eventually well paid jobs, including a stint in France for an American company. We eventually settled in Los Angeles, my wife's hometown. I retired two years ago, and don't miss it a bit.

What I missed during all those years, though, was the sea. I missed the hard work, the camaraderie, the exotic ports; I regret not sailing long enough to at least become a deck officer before changing careers. I know, I know, sentimental old man. It was certainly the most exciting part of my life.