MED (Marine Electronics Diploma)

Shipbuilder
9th June 2008, 19:29
My memories of MED course are all bad! In 1973, I was sent by (B & C) to attend course. After first couple of months, I knew beyond doubt that it was far beyond my humble capabilities. I hadn't the faintest idea what the lecturers were rambling on about. My education had not been all that "high tech." & I had left school at 15 (11+ failed, technical school entrance failed, A levels zero, O levels zero!) Wray Castle sorted me out to the fullest extent of my capabilities (1st Class PMG) with a struggle. Got radar at Riversdale also with struggle & knew in my heart that was the limit.
Walked out of MED several years later at end of first three months. Big joke was that although I went in exam room, received paper, folded it up, put it in my pocket & walked out, without even touching a pen to paper, I still "passed" Grade C (average!). How did this come about? After 35 years, I feel I can now ask this question without dropping anyone in it!

Principal "read riot act" to me & assured me of "ruining" my future career! Went down to docks where my last ship had just arrived (Big Mail steamer) & confronted Marine Superintendent saying "I quit MED course, I go back to sea, or I resign!" He was a perfect gentleman & very sympathetic, he let me go back to sea on ship of my choice without any demotion (another big Mail steamer). On return, I was appointed temporary Electronics Inspector for same company. After three months, went out to Spain to supervise refit of another Mail ahip that had been almost destoyed by fire. From that moment on, career was secure. Despite said company getting soon rid of all passenger ships, I was soon back with someone else (when that company got out of shipping) with telex, satcoms, satnav & all the modern "junk" that I never even wanted in the first place in one of the finest passenger ships that ever sailed (in my opinion anyway)! & remained there until final quitting of my own volition in late 1992 after becoming sick & tired of all the "technology" that was being foisted upon us. Since then, everything has worked out just fine & dandy, but I wonder how many other ex R/Os feel that they were born "just a bit too late?"
Bob
PS
Despite this, I am very computer literate, but at least I dont have to know how the damn things work!

sparkie2182
9th June 2008, 22:59
hello bob........

i too have the "born too late" feeling........ i also took the M.E.D. in mid/late 1970's and it was tough...... way ahead of the P.M.G. 1/D.T.I. RADAR level.

best regards.........

K urgess
9th June 2008, 23:28
Started my MED at Southampton in January 73 but had a car crash and lost too much time so I went back to sea. I'd started it late 'cos I didn't get home in time and I wasn't really impressed because of the "project" that was a compulsory part of the course with no choices. Also the digs weren't exactly lugubrious.
Luckily Marconi sent me to South Shields Martech to try again in January 1974. More play than work this time. (Jester)
I only just scraped my PMG2 but I loved doing the radar in 64 to 66 and I found the MED a doddle once I got into the swing of it.
I sometimes had a "born too early" feeling rather than "born too late". I grew up playing with old valve radios, ruining the family's alarm clocks, and building motorbikes. I was 20 before I went to sea and transistor theory was always a complete mystery.
Made up for it when I went on to computer engineering but it was a bit of a struggle. It's a lot easier when you don't need to know how it does it only figure out why it isn't doing it. [=P]

Kris

andysk
10th June 2008, 10:30
I was offered an MED by Bob's 'Perfect Gentleman', (was that WA or JBC ?) but couldn't really get myself enthused about it. I didn't like electronics particularly, just wanted to travel, which was the reason for going to sea.

A counter offer from the aforementioned PG (JBC) led me to do my PMG2 to MRGC conversion at Wray Castle from Sept 1976 - April 1977. That was much much more fun, especially as us mature students; me, a BPTC guy called Dave something and an ex RN guy, Evan ???; had a bit, well a lot actually, more freedom than the others ! And I got to know the College Secretary's family very well which enlarged my social world quite a bit.

Don't miss the electronics at all, after all, I have never really needed it since then anyway. After all, if the kit works, great, if it doesn't, well so long as I can follow the block diagram I'm OK. (except with the Lifeguard AA !)

Cheers

Andy

Shipbuilder
10th June 2008, 12:13
Hi Andy, it wasn't WA or JBC, when I got down to the docks, couldn't find either of them although GTPX had arrived that morning. The one I did locate was an Engineering Superintendent who had apparently done all the arranging, Mr. Mabbett, if I remember correctly. Immediately after that, I went into the Southampton office for three months as Electronics Inspector (relieving). It wasn't overtaxing, & I did enjoy doing various repairs on the radio/radar installations aboardin port Mailships, but I didn't really like living in digs & if I was to be away from home for any length of time, I felt it may as well have been at sea. It was made easier by the fact that I was working on my own with no chief breathing down my neck, or watches etc to interfere with my train of thought. I then asked to be appointed to GOHN which I was. After my first voyage on that ship, I was told I was being promoted, but I would have to go out immediately. As the only ship in port was GTPX, my thoughts were "chief R/O at last." Went home for couple of days leave in high glee & then an air ticket came to Bilbao where I was to join the burned out GNQH. Was three months in Bilbao until GNQH was ready for sea again. During that time, I decided I wanted to sail in her & this was granted. Had very happy couple of years in that ship as Chief R/O (But she only carried two anyway, unlike the 4 or 5 that the big ones carried). Left when the writing was on the wall, (ZSNF & GTYN sold for scrap, GOHN on scrapping voyage & GTPX sold for further trading). Joined Silver Line, sailing in SILVERDON in the Pacific, standing by tanker ALGOL at Cammell Lairds for 3 months & then sailing in her for 6 months. Finally, requested new cargo ship SILVERAVON, just completed in Japan. Appointed to her on arrival UK & remained for a year although we were sold to Sivomar after first trip & became BANDAMA still with Silver Line staff. Invited to join tiny passenger ship RMS ST. HELENA (3,150 gross tons, 76 passengers, UK - Cape Town via the South Atlantic Islands in 1979 & remained in her for 11 years (happiest yeasr of my seas life). Final two years in new ship of same name, twice as big with 132 passengers, but far too much electronics for my liking. Packed it in voluntarily in late 1992.

Since then wrote book RMS ST. HELENA & THE SOUTH ATLANTIC ISLANDS, that was rejected by most of big publishers with "no-one interested in personal reminiscences about boats these days!" Eventually accepted by small Scottish publisher & now virtually sold out after less than 2 years on the shelves.

Bob

Doug H
10th June 2008, 13:26
Bob, I'd like to try to buy a copy of your book. I'll look on the www but maybe you can give me some hints. Thanks. Doug H

Doug H
10th June 2008, 13:44
Found it first try on Google and have now ordered a copy. Doug H

Shipbuilder
10th June 2008, 16:53
Hi Doug,
Thanks, glad you found it OK, it seems to be all over the web. Also, if you click on Miniature Merchant Ships (Below), there are more details.
Best wishes
Bob

Moulder
10th June 2008, 17:57
Hi Shipbuilder,

I reckon I must have had a beer with you in Two Boats Club at one time or another.

Steve.
(Thumb)

Shipbuilder
10th June 2008, 19:00
Hi Steve,
Don't think I ever made it to Two Boats club. Usually when we were at Ascension, I was beavering away from dawn to dusk putting through "free" VHF calls for the crew. Occasionally, I managed to escape. During the latter part of our 13 months MOD charter when we ran the route between Stanley, Grytviken & Ascension, I escaped all the free calls because the crew were not restricted from going ashore. Ironically, in "normal" times, we were not even allowed in the "Exiles" club when we managed to get ashore, but during our 13 months "MOD Charter" we became "honorary members," but once we returned to normal service, we were banned again. One of our stewards, Donald Arms left to go to Two Boats & our Captain, Martin Smith, would normal visit him for a drink or two on every call, but I never made it.
In earlier years aboard GOOD HOPE CASTLE, we were not even allowed ashore!
Bob

Moulder
10th June 2008, 20:50
Hi Bob,

Yep - remember Donald Arms very well and I was around a couple of times when Martin came ashore for a visit and his supply of fish cakes! (Eat)

Cheers,

Steve.
(Thumb)

andysk
12th June 2008, 17:29
.......... Engineering Superintendent who had apparently done all the arranging, Mr. Mabbett, if I remember correctly ....

Hi Bob ...

Didn't that Mabbett have a relative who played soccer for Southampton about that time, and also a son I think who was on the B&C seagoing staff in some capacity ?

Lots familiar in your post, I have a slide of ZSNF on her final round voyage leaving ZSA, one of GOHN leaving Soton on her final southbound voyage before scrap, one of GTYN leaving ZSC for the last time on the way to scrap, John Duckworth was the R/O - it must have been quite spooky being part of a run crew on that sort of a voyage, not many parties but a great choice of cabins though.

Do you remember Capt Chris Abbott ? I bumped into him the other day when I gave a slide show to the WSS Mid Essex branch at Ingatestone, the first time I'd seen him since my original job interview with him back in Dec 1970 ! He was with Keith Spawforth who did time & motion studies on the mailships in 1971/2 with Derek Cox.

Oh Happy Days ???

Cheers

Andy

Shipbuilder
12th June 2008, 18:36
Hi Andy,
Didn't know about a Mabbet in connection with football, but the I have never had any interest in that sort of thing anyway! Possibly the other son was a deck officer. I have spoken to Chris Abbott on a number of occasions when he was in the office, but we never met. I am pretty sure that R/O aboard GTYN on scrapping run was John Tomlinson, because we had skeds every day (I was in GNQH) until they arrived at Kaohsiung, the last one being as they lined up for the run up the beach. I believe on the way out, they played football in the Coral Lounge. All very sad when the ships were going & I was initially very depressed in Silver Line although they were very good to me. It was with some relief when a chance meeting with the old ST. HELENA off the coast of West Africa on their "proving voyage," led to me getting the appointment as R/O via R/T the following day, all arranged by the good offices of my old friend Colin Dellar (Purser) who was in the ST. HELENA from voyage 1 (& has only just retired from the new ship!).
Bob

andysk
13th June 2008, 09:20
Hi Bob ...

Ooops ! sorry about GTYN, my mistake it was John Tomlinson of course. The run up the beach must have been interesting, totally against all those years of training and experience for everybody - were they all strapped in somehow ?

It was a sad time, I was in Soton when GOHN came in from her last round mail voyage, can't remember the Voy Nr, poss 168 or 169 ?, I posted a pic in the gallery a little while ago of her alongside with the ensign at half mast.

Ho Hum, progress ? Perhaps, but not so sure about that.

R651400
13th June 2008, 12:01
Bob, nice to read UC experiences but could us non lilac-hulled types have ship names instead of call signs? Did a round the Cape to Aussie when Suez was closed. GOHN, GTPX and GOAE were all around including one that I recall as GPPP or was it GPPX?

Shipbuilder
13th June 2008, 12:55
Here U-C Call signs:
TRANSVAAL CASTLE GBQE as SA VAAL ZSNF
PRETORIA CASTLE GOAE as SA ORANJE ZSNF
WINDSOR CASTLE GVTG
PENDENNIS CASTLE GTPX
EDINBURGH CASTLE GOHN
REINA DEL MAR GTYN
GOOD HOPE CASTLE GNQH
SOUTHAMPTON CASTLE GNQA
CAPETOWN CASTLE GKGM
Bob

Shannoner
13th June 2008, 15:49
When I was in my first year of Radio College in Belfast, one of our morse instructors assigned us students ship's call signs for when we were practising working coast stations. We had knobs on our desks with all the MF frequencies on them. We would listen on 500 and then switch to a working frequency for traffic from the instructor who was usually GPK, of course it was all pretend the knobs were all wired to the instructors desk, but it gave you an idea how it all worked in real life while practising your sending and receiving.
Anyway, my call sign was GOHN, that was 1977 and GOHN had made her last voyage, but she lived on in Block 1, 3rd floor of the Jordanstown Polytechnic.
I think our instructor might have been an old Union Castle man.

andysk
13th June 2008, 17:22
Good to know this Shannoner, GOHN was one of my old ships, and a very happy one it was too. Who was your instructor ?

Shipbuilder
13th June 2008, 19:21
Shannoner,
Similarly, when I took one of my certificates (can't remember if it was 1st Class or 2nd Class), I was allocated GOHN, I messed up the position for the TR & the examniner said something along the lines of "you have just put the 27,000 ton Union Castle liner 100 miles inland, do you think you will ever be fit to sail in that ship?" I remember replying something to the effect of "Yes, Sir, I do, I want to be a radio officer, not a navigator!" Probably vey foolish reply, but nevertheless, I passed. Many years later, I joined the EDINBURGH CASTLE as 2nd R/O.
Bob

Shannoner
14th June 2008, 16:20
Good to know this Shannoner, GOHN was one of my old ships, and a very happy one it was too. Who was your instructor ?

Hi Andy, his name was George Jackson, an Ulsterman. I Think when I started college in 1977 he had been instructing for quite a while, so he was probably at sea in the 60s.

Mick

gand00k1n
20th June 2008, 12:14
I did the MED at Brunel in 1977 thanks to CP Ships. I really enjoyed the course. It then led to working down the engine room on data loggers, grovelling in the bilges in the prop shaft tunnel to find a faulty probe, certainly different from writing NH in the log book for days on end when crossing the South Pacific. Left the Cook Straits and never saw the sun again or saw another ship until we were close to the Gallapagos Islands.

Tai Pan
20th June 2008, 12:29
Bob, nice to read UC experiences but could us non lilac-hulled types have ship names instead of call signs? Did a round the Cape to Aussie when Suez was closed. GOHN, GTPX and GOAE were all around including one that I recall as GPPP or was it GPPX?

I did a divert via the cvape on Ulysses, we were first to go, just entering gib straits when we got diverted via capetown, then indonesia We were supposed to be going on a 12 months Indonesia/USA run, I had not told wife, but thanks to Nasser orders were changed and we came back to UK. cant thank him enough

Tony Selman
20th June 2008, 12:45
I took my MED at Brunel as well. Took it in two three month hits rather than one six month session. First was in 1972 just before I got married and the second was about 18 months later I think. Working for P&O at the time and was there with three other P&O men for the first session and two there for the second session. One was Derek Rice (Buoy on this board), Martin Price was the second and I can't remember the third for the life of me.

It did take us to parts we did not normally reach and I can well remember when we had engine control logic problems on Trident Tankers Ardvar the Chief Engineer nearly kissed me when he told me about a problem they were having and I said I would have a go and fixed it for him. Brought about a significant reduction in my bar bill that particular episode.

andysk
20th June 2008, 13:19
Hi Andy, his name was George Jackson, an Ulsterman. I Think when I started college in 1977 he had been instructing for quite a while, so he was probably at sea in the 60s.

Mick

Hi Mick ...

I just wondered as you said he'd been with UC, but a bit, no a lot, before my time. Though GOHN was one of my favourite ships ....

Clive Kaine
23rd June 2008, 17:35
I did my MED at Brunel too, all in one go in 1978. There were two other P&O guys doing their second term when I was doing the first - Geoff Bailey and Ian Spiden.

I remember the company paid quite a generous living allowance, which allowed me to share a very nice modern flat in Clifton with two other R/Os, one from Marconi and the other from IMR. The flat upstairs was occupied by three other guys from the same course, and we had an absolute ball!

I loved being in Bristol, thought it was a great city.

Oh yes, the course was really good too!

Glyndwr
10th July 2008, 07:57
Hi

I was with B&C and after obtaining my General Cert. at Fleetwood Nautical College I went to Soton for the MED. I must admit that it was diificult but it has helped me in my later life to get a good shore position as Electronics Eng. for Asea (Guaranjtee Eng.) and then for my current job. After all the D means Degree and not Diploma.

Thanks

Glyn

peter lugg
2nd March 2009, 10:27
Hi all,

I have been looking at my qualifications, with fondness and tears in both eyes.
What I need to know is, what is the equivalent qualification level of the following?

MRGC - attained at Brunel Technical College, Bristol in 1976
BOT Radar maintenance - attained at Brunel Technical College in 1977

You are now a Radio Officer. Nice braid. Joined Marconi.

C&G Certificate in Marine Electronics. Attained at Southampton College of Higher Technology in June 1981.

And now you are a Radio Electronics Officer (Sparks + Lecky in one package!), later to become an ETO.

At the time, and I have seen it mentioned on forums, I was told that I had attained HND level. This was later confirmed by the Principal at Southampton in the early 90's when I made a half arsed attempt to return to sea with P&O having been shore side for 7 years.

Regards

sparkie2182
2nd March 2009, 10:42
from my experience.......

all the above qualifications = a used bus ticket.

K urgess
2nd March 2009, 10:57
Technically I was told it was equivalent of a C&G T5 at the time (74) and later HNC but nobody ever got round to officially recognising the damn things.
Partially right, sparkie. More like dull wallpaper. [=P]

M29
4th March 2009, 17:55
Hi all,

I have been looking at my qualifications, with fondness and tears in both eyes.
What I need to know is, what is the equivalent qualification level of the following?

MRGC - attained at Brunel Technical College, Bristol in 1976
BOT Radar maintenance - attained at Brunel Technical College in 1977

You are now a Radio Officer. Nice braid. Joined Marconi.

C&G Certificate in Marine Electronics. Attained at Southampton College of Higher Technology in June 1981.

And now you are a Radio Electronics Officer (Sparks + Lecky in one package!), later to become an ETO.

At the time, and I have seen it mentioned on forums, I was told that I had attained HND level. This was later confirmed by the Principal at Southampton in the early 90's when I made a half arsed attempt to return to sea with P&O having been shore side for 7 years.

Regards


High Peter
I am still lecturing at Brunel College Bristol (now City of Bristol College)
You had just qualified when I started teaching there.

Your Marine Electronics Qualification is a CGLI and is equivalent to a Full Technological Certificate (T5 as has been said)
In around 1975, it was deemed to have reached HND level and the Radio Officers qualifcations changed to a 3 year HNC later on.

I can tell you that the level and difficulty of your various qualifcations certainly exceeds that of a modern HND and probably a degree.

The acid test is to apply to the OU and see what credit they will give you if you wished to take a degree. Qualifications tend to be worth less as time passes by because the knowledge base changes.

A degree in Communications Engineering is 360 credits, an HND is worth 240 credits (i.e. two years worth)

Best Wishes

Alan

Shipbuilder
4th March 2009, 19:27
Interesting to see all the answers since I first started this thread. Amazing that about 36 years have past since I walked out of that dreadful course at Southampton. Still thinking about the walking out gives me a great deal of smug satisfaction. I can still remeber the feeling of elation and relief after I took that "career destroying" (according to the principal) decision. The final 19 years at sea were generally "stress free" after I acknowledged my shortcomings with modern electronics. I always did my best and sometimes even got some things going that had never even worked since the ship was new. (My last ship was completed in 1990, I left late 1992) I was always "buoyed up" when we arrived in port with faulty equipment and finding that the "experts" could not fix it any more than I could and it generally boiled down to "replacement!"

Now sliding down towards age 65 (within days) and looking forward to a new life of messing about with valves, model shipbuilding, & writing.

Keep the replies coming on the MED.

Bob

BobClay
4th March 2009, 19:57
After I completed the MED in Southampton in 1975 I finished off the City and Guilds Telecommunications Technicians course at sea, and was eventually awarded the Full Technological Certificate, but had to give details of industrial experience as well. I seem to remember they wanted 10 years.

When I started with the OU I didn't claim any credits because I figured I was rusty to studying and should start with the Foundation courses. I'm not sure about the Full Tech + RO's tickets being worth a degree, mainly because the Maths content of the science and computing subjects I did with the OU went quite a bit further than anything I'd done before.

Having said that practical side of the OU degree was nowhere as demanding as the practical side of the RO's ticket or Radar exam, even bearing in mind these tickets were very focussed on a particular line of attack. In fact no practical exam I've ever taken was as demanding as that particular part of the RO/Radar qualifications, even the Civil Service.

Bill Greig
5th March 2009, 08:41
Having read recent posts on what we mostly now believe is our "useless" qualifications. I can advise that while presently still employed in the electronics industry, I am production controller for a company that designs and manufactures various electronic systems for aircraft. We have recently recruited several young engineers, all with degrees in electronics, and having worked closely with the blokes over a period of time, quickly come to the conclusion that their basic knowledge of the subject was found wanting in many areas. No disrespect to my young colleagues, they are obviously a product of the university system. One example springs to mind when I had to explain to one youngster how exactly a switch worked, it took him a while to get his head round the fact there were moving contacts inside the little plastic enclosure. So gentlemen and ladies, we have nothing to reproach ourselves about, what we learned during our MRGC/radar ticket/MED experiences was equal if not better than many who now hold degrees.
Sorry, rant now over.
Bill

Shannoner
5th March 2009, 09:05
So gentlemen and ladies, we have nothing to reproach ourselves about, what we learned during our MRGC/radar ticket/MED experiences was equal if not better than many who now hold degrees.
Sorry, rant now over.
Bill

I am sure all of us R/Os are happy to hear that.
I still work in Telecommunications, and when I tell my younger colleagues that The DoT Radar practical exam consisted of walking into a room with a dead radar in the corner, with 5 faults on it, and the exam wasn't over until you had repaired the radar and signed your exam sheet at the bottom confirming the radar was now fit to be used as an aid to navigation, they look at me in disbelief!
MRGC and DoT Radar, the two best courses I have ever done. The 50/50 theory practical split is the only way to master a technical subject, and it shows, I have worked with ex R/Os and lads with Degrees, and it was the ex R/O with the "inferior" qualification who you could count on to get the job done.(Thumb)

Mick MRGC, DoT Radar, No BSc or anything else!

BobClay
5th March 2009, 11:16
Personally I think the main advantage for an RO or EO was not just the qualifications, and the focus on the practical side of testing which was very good, I'd say better than most training courses, but the fact that once you were onboard on your own then the real learning began.

No-one to help you ! several other department personnel standing around waiting for you to fix it ! Once you've done a few years of that in the middle of some distant ocean anything that comes after seems pretty easy.

Puts a few worry lines on your face though (or could they be laughter ? or maybe beer ?).

(Pint)

sparkie2182
5th March 2009, 11:33
does everyone remember the EHT fuse which was always one of the faults?

:)

shannoner omitted to mention the calibration work which was required after the radar was rendered operational........if i recall correctly there was a time limit?

memory could be playing me wrong here.........it was a while ago :)

peter lugg
5th March 2009, 13:19
Alan,

Thanks very much for the information, greatly appreciated. By the way, I had asked a friend of mine who works at Brunel, Netta Hayward, to look into this. Netta responded with a message from a person called Alan. Would that be you?

Best regards

Shannoner
5th March 2009, 13:47
does everyone remember the EHT fuse which was always one of the faults?

:)

shannoner omitted to mention the calibration work which was required after the radar was rendered operational........if i recall correctly there was a time limit?

memory could be playing me wrong here.........it was a while ago :)

Thats right the first fault was always that the set wouldn't turn on, check the mains input, nothing there, pull the fuse and put the Avo on it, open cct happy days, ask the examiner for the correct size fuse, fit it and on she comes. A nice handy first fault to get you going. Then the fun started!(EEK)
As I recall there was no official time limit, and the average time when I did it was 3 to 4 hours to clear all faults. But if you went over the 5 hrs, the examiner would have a chat with you and pretty soon it was all over, resit in 3 months for you. I seem to remember that I got it done in just short of the 4 hrs.

K urgess
5th March 2009, 14:03
I was ever practical. [=P]
I hated and struggled with theory but loved fixing things. Retaining just enough theory (ohms law, etc.,) to get by.
I remember getting my radar practical done in about 20 minutes and the examiner's comment that I would either fail miserably or knew the faults. I did pass. The same went for my PMG it took at least two goes to get part one but sailed through part two.
I still have my results from South Shields Martec for my T3 Electrical Technicians and got credit passes for Electrical Engineering Principles III, Practical Mathematics III and Industrial Electronics I. Only a pass in Electrical Power Equipment I.
My "Special Examination in Marine Electronics" results slip from C&G shows Grade 4 in Electrical Principles and Marine Communication and Navigation Aids. With a grade 3 in instrumentation and control.
The practical pass record shows an "A" but this wasn't counted by C&G only by the Merchant Navy Training Board for the issuing of a Certificate in Marine Electronics. Unfortunately mine has disappeared somwhere under a pile of carp but I seem to remember it was very much like a radar ticket.
So I've got a Certificate in Marine Electronics issued by C&G as the result of a "Special Examination" and a MNTB Cerificate in Marine Electronics.
The T3 was a "course certificate" although there were exams and was only loosely recognised by C&G because of being taken in less time than the regular T3. They would never commit themselves to turning the CME into a full T5 and the MNTB was purely a MN ticket.
This is why I never pursued using them after I swallowed the anchor. Nary a mention of a "Marine Electronics Diploma" in the shole shebang. The date was 1974 by the way.

On a similair note, my son did his BSc in Aeronautical Engineering and his choice of venue actually had an aircraft to play/practice on. He saw the aircraft twice at the most in three years and then not in any practical way. Spent most of the time doing stress tests on bits of metal and building an air engine in conjunction with a parallel course for motorheads.
He now is a CAD operator for a firm that builds pre-fabricated bridges. Go figure.

IanSpiden
5th March 2009, 18:15
The one thing that I will say for the MED when I did it in 1978 at Brunel was the way it made maths seem to make sense for the first time in my life , I had always struggled with any kind of Math at school and even when I was going for my PMG's however maybe because I was a bit older ( 28 ) when I went to do the MED it all seemed to be so much easier , It was hard work and a LOT of studying but I passed with pretty good marks , as most of the previous guys have said I did not use much of the knowledge gained actually at sea but a lot of it was useful in other jobs

Gordon L Smeaton
5th March 2009, 19:19
I did my MED at Plymouth Poly 1976, as has been mentioned before some if not all of the knowledge gained was not actually put into practice at sea, however it did give me a great deal of confidence to tackle any job, I remained at sea until the begining of 2009, having completed 40 years with BP and the remainder working for agencies, have spent the last 23 years in the DP world on semisub, FPSO, shuttle tanker and dive boats in actual fact this was the last technical course I actually did, so what was taught has stood the test of time.
There must be a few guys out there who attended courses held at ITT/IMR and Redifon and met the redoutable Pat Clune, after his courses I was fired up and confident in fault location repair and if necessary jury rigging to get equipment functioning, in all my career I have to say they were the best courses I ever attended.

K urgess
5th March 2009, 19:43
Here's my MNTB CME. Finally found it.
Took a year to arrive after sending the pass papers over to the MNTB. My C&G Cert is dated July 1974 and this is dated July 1975

The practical part at Southampton, where I started the course (had to quit after a car smash), consisted of designing and building a section for a satellite weather receiver they were building. No choice as to what part.
At South Shields they just let us loose in the workshop amongst the clapped out gear or let us at anything that needed fixing. Usually in the afternoon after a "good" lunch. Apart from the obligatory engineering practical on the lathe, etc.

Shipbuilder
6th March 2009, 08:07
Marconi Sahib,
We may have been at Southampton at the same time. I left PENDENNIS CASTLE on 20th August 1973 to go on the course. Walked out after first half completed, but became Electronics Inspector for Union-Castle (Southampton) until returning to sea again in EDINBURGH CASTLE in February 1974. Two of the other R/Os there were Alan Newcombe (age about 52 whose passed with flying colours) and Bob Mantell and another, ex LOCH LOYAL and DEMETERTON whose brother was 2nd officer in Union-Castle (may have had surname of King). Two others from Blue Funnel, but can't remember the rest. After I left, I still used to walk down to the city with them in the mornings as our digs were close by. What a relief it was to get down to the office and the ships rather than the lecture room!
Bob

M29
6th March 2009, 11:12
Alan,

Thanks very much for the information, greatly appreciated. By the way, I had asked a friend of mine who works at Brunel, Netta Hayward, to look into this. Netta responded with a message from a person called Alan. Would that be you?

Best regards

Peter
Yes that would probably be me as there is only 2 or 3 of us marine types left.
The college has lost all connection with things maritime. Navigation finished years ago, followed gradually by the demise of Marine Radio. We finished completely two years ago, the last qualifications we were training people for was the GMDSS for Seafarers and the VHF Restricted for "Yachties".
As an ex R/O, I agree with members who have been critical of GMDSS training in colleges. As the area co-ordinator, I managed to keep the course length to the maximum allowed (2 weeks). However, pressure from the industry caused some Colleges to complete the training in 1 week, including the exam. Whilst candidates may be capable of cramming enough in a week to pass, I doubt that the overall knowledge and confidence of the individual was as good as it should be
We evolved the old R/O's qualifications and MED into a National Diploma in Electronics and an HND in Communication Engineering in partnership with the University of Plymouth. These are going well and many of the HND output progress to Plymouth to turn their HND's into a full Degree.

Actually, checking dates, you were here same time as me, I started in 1975.

Regards
Alan

M29
6th March 2009, 11:15
The one thing that I will say for the MED when I did it in 1978 at Brunel was the way it made maths seem to make sense for the first time in my life , I had always struggled with any kind of Math at school and even when I was going for my PMG's however maybe because I was a bit older ( 28 ) when I went to do the MED it all seemed to be so much easier , It was hard work and a LOT of studying but I passed with pretty good marks , as most of the previous guys have said I did not use much of the knowledge gained actually at sea but a lot of it was useful in other jobs

Ian
Do you remember me teaching in 1978 at Brunel?
Best wishes
Alan Melia

K urgess
6th March 2009, 11:21
A bit later than me at Southampton, Bob.
I did my last full general cargo trip on the Fremantle Star that ended on 5th January 1973.
I seem to remember that I was a last minute shoe-in without any leave. I wasn't impressed. I remember grubby, old-fashioned digs run like a monastery and mostly going back over stuff I knew already. I was perpetually bored and can't remember too many, if any, other Marconi sparkies on the course.
The only memories I have are of visiting a mate's pub outside Bridgewater for several memorable nights, staring at the top of a dingy wardrobe while lying in bed in the digs trying to get to sleep, getting a set of photos in a photo booth down by the docks for the new discharge book and a very memorable night out in Pompey with some submariner friends from HMS Dolphin. (EEK)
I used to drive all the way back to Hull every weekend and was going back to Soton in the early hours of a Sunday morning when I had a blow out and rolled the car quite severely.
Couple or three weeks on the sick and back to sea by March 3rd.
I don't blame you for walking out and I probably would have done if I'd had to suffer it much longer.
The car crash was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. One of those watershed moments that change your life forever.
In my case I can say for the best.
Two very good trips and then home for Christmas (for the first time ever) so that I could join the course at South Shields on time. Re-met the girl who became my wife (and still is) while going to pick up the insurance cheque for my deceased motor (long story worthy of Mills & Boon).
It's amazing what flashes through your mind when writing stuff like this. I have a sudden mental image of a classroom and a lecturer who thought I was beyond the pale. By then I was a total scruff with hair down to my shoulders and in no way their image of what a clean living sparkie should be like. [=P]

Cheers
Kris

andysk
6th March 2009, 11:35
..... The acid test is to apply to the OU and see what credit they will give you if you wished to take a degree. Qualifications tend to be worth less as time passes by because the knowledge base changes.

A degree in Communications Engineering is 360 credits, an HND is worth 240 credits (i.e. two years worth)

Best Wishes

Alan

Hi Alan ...

When I applied to the OU in 1983, I had no intention of looking for credits against my R/O tickets, but 5 years on, with 2 redundancies & 2 house moves as well, I decided I needed to finish it. I got a half credit (out of 6? for a BA) for my MPT General (1977) & BoT Radar Maintenance (1973).

Quite how that compares to the current hundreds of credits I haven't a clue !

andysk
6th March 2009, 13:40
..... There must be a few guys out there who attended courses held at ITT/IMR and Redifon and met the redoutable Pat Clune, after his courses I was fired up and confident in fault location repair and if necessary jury rigging to get equipment functioning, in all my career I have to say they were the best courses I ever attended.

There's a name from the past, Pat was one of the friendliest and nicest guys there. I think I started about the same time a him, late 1978 (working for John Ellis and John Scott) installation planning, and remember Pat very well trying to get to grips with the training school. And the superb job he made of organising Satcom training on the IMR kit for the Falklands.

Whatever happened to him ?

IanSpiden
6th March 2009, 21:07
Ian
Do you remember me teaching in 1978 at Brunel?
Best wishes
Alan Melia

It is in the dim mists of memory , Alan , I do remember the end of Course Dinner party we had with all the lecturers and their wives that is also kind of dim but for a different reason , copious quantities of wine ah well we were 30 years younger then !!(Jester)

Robert Wheeler
7th March 2009, 16:03
I remember that course - at Riversdale 1976/1977. I think I'd grown up enough by then to realise I was going to have to work hard for that 6 months.
I also remember that I was accidentally left on pay nearly all the way through until I phoned to say I'd be ready to return to work in 4 weeks time.
So, with some leave, the course and the wait for the next ship I had 12 months off apart from 12 days of UK coastal work.
Bit scary how technology has moved on and I'm glad I don't have to keep up with it now.
Shipbuilder, I remember you from a short time when I was junior on the Edinburgh Castle with John Walker as Chief. I owed him a lot - he got me on my feet with that job.

Shipbuilder
7th March 2009, 17:38
Hi Robert,
I remember the trip well. I recall that you got shanghaied to a cargo ship in Port Elizebeth. I was sent to find you as you had said you were visiting a Bank Line ship. We went home with just three of us, John as chief, myself as 2nd and Peter Heredge as 3rd. At the end of that voyage, I was sent off to Spain to standy by the burned-out GOOD HOPE CASTLE. After several months in Bilbao, we resumed normal service and I remained there for almost two years, leaving to join Silver Line for two years, followed by my return to passenger ships in the form of Curnow Shipping that took over from Union-Castle on the Cape Mail run in 1978. remained with them until late 1992.
Nice to hear from you again
Bob

Robert Wheeler
9th March 2009, 22:38
Hi Bob
What a memory you have then. Apart from actually it was the SA Vaal I went to, finding myself as temp 3rd with the press to do. I remember you being with Silver Line and then the St Helena thinking you'd probably found yourself a good thing there.
Rgds, Robert

Shipbuilder
10th March 2009, 09:22
Hi Robert,
I could not remember where you were transferred to, just assumed it was a cargo ship. In those days, I thought there was no better company than Union-Castle, but I much preferred the old ST. HELENA. 76 passengers was just right and voyages were two months on, two months off and wives could travel as much as they wished. Old ship was better fitted than WINDSOR CASTLE and S.A.VAAL, we had satcoms, satnav, HF teleprinter & weather fax. New ship was a bit heavy going for someone like me who had never even done an exam where transistors were involved. As well as all the equipment mentioned on the old ship, I was lumbered with the fire alarm systems, servowatch computer, various computers, video machines, TV sets, SRE gear, steering computers, automatic telephone exchange - the list went on and on. Bit ironic that I threw in the MED on purpose in order to avoid all that sort of thing and ended up on the most modern and up-to-date British passenger liner ever built! Here is a picture of me on the new ship on my last few days at sea - a passenger took it unbeknown to me - I was mending a telephone. What a relief it was to leave. Please visit my website, Miniature Merchant Ships, below. About to introduce a radio section in it.
Best wishes
Bob

Clive Kaine
11th March 2009, 13:39
The one thing that I will say for the MED when I did it in 1978 at Brunel was the way it made maths seem to make sense for the first time in my life , I had always struggled with any kind of Math at school and even when I was going for my PMG's however maybe because I was a bit older ( 28 ) when I went to do the MED it all seemed to be so much easier , It was hard work and a LOT of studying but I passed with pretty good marks , as most of the previous guys have said I did not use much of the knowledge gained actually at sea but a lot of it was useful in other jobs

I had exactly the same experience. I also did my MED at Brunel in '78 (a term after you if I remember correctly), and found myself able to cope with quite complex maths, as opposed to the struggle I'd always had both at school, where I just scraped an O level pass, and also when I was studying for my MRGC.

I've always put it down to a combination of slightly greater maturity (I was 24), and John Whitehead's excellent teaching.

M29
11th March 2009, 14:02
I had exactly the same experience. I also did my MED at Brunel in '78 (a term after you if I remember correctly), and found myself able to cope with quite complex maths, as opposed to the struggle I'd always had both at school, where I just scraped an O level pass, and also when I was studying for my MRGC.

I've always put it down to a combination of slightly greater maturity (I was 24), and John Whitehead's excellent teaching.

Clive
You might like to know that John Whitehead retired and had some happy years travelling around the country on a large motor cycle. Sad to report that he died aged 60 after a long battle with brain tumours.
He certainly had a knack with maths, and explaining things generally, we certainly miss him.

Best Wishes

Alan

Clive Kaine
16th March 2009, 17:26
Clive
You might like to know that John Whitehead retired and had some happy years travelling around the country on a large motor cycle. Sad to report that he died aged 60 after a long battle with brain tumours.
He certainly had a knack with maths, and explaining things generally, we certainly miss him.

Best Wishes

Alan

Hi Alan,

I knew about John's passing, I think it was actually you who told me a couple of months ago. Sad news, and I'm not surprised to hear he's still missed.

Rose King
29th April 2009, 23:00
Is Robert Wheeler the one who was at Lowestoft College about 1973 (from North Walsham, I think)?

Rose King

Jim Moon
17th May 2009, 19:43
I started the MED in 1979 or was it 1980, did the first three months and hated it from early on. Never completed it, but then again on the P&O GCD ships it would have been wasted - ships being sold and generally trips getting shorter and shorter to compenste for the ships staff on the books until the redundancy started in 1982.

Sorry but MED wasn't really applicable for some! Mind you I completed HNC in Electronic Communications when I left sea in 1986 and that was really interesting and has been useful......

Robert Wheeler
17th May 2009, 22:11
Is Robert Wheeler the one who was at Lowestoft College about 1973 (from North Walsham, I think)?

Rose King
So as not to leave this open - Hi Rose, yes that was me! See PM.