Nobby Clarke - Signals

RayJordandpo
25th March 2006, 19:21
Does anyone remember "Nobby" Clarke the signals teacher at Hull Nautical College in the seventies? He was ex Royal Navy and I remember him telling our class that he was actually still employed by the Admiralty. I believe he also taught at Trinity House. He used his home made morse tappers with the lights attached and had all sorts of little quirks and aids to memory. He didn't suffer fools gladly but if anyone could get you through signals he could. A real gentleman who genuinely took it as a personal affront if any pupil failed.
Ray

awateah2
25th March 2006, 21:02
Remember Nobby well, especially his enormous hints of what the letter was, i.e looking down his right arm and raising flags to a certain height plus we knew all the morse messages. He had a very attractive step daughter who worked for the Police and played Darts for the 'Waterloo' Ladies Darts Team in Drypool near Ranks Mill.

Sebe
25th March 2006, 21:23
Nobby was a big bonus to the lads who studied for their tickets in Grimsby and sat the exams in Hull. He would spend time with you at Trinity House for the first couple of days, after the afternoon written exams to get you 'up to speed' with the quirks and hints as mentioned earlier. I first came across him mid 1960's and he was well liked by all from the 'Southbank' for the guidance he was prepared to offer which certainly made life somewhat easier in the exam room.

Sebe

pilot
26th March 2006, 07:00
Remember him giving us South Bank lads a de-coding message to have a go at prior the signals exam. Then coming round during the exam and dealing from the bottom of the pack to give you the very same message for the exam.

All for the price of a pint if my memory serves.

Bit of a bonus before facing Capt. Dyston ( sp?) for the real exam.

RayJordandpo
26th March 2006, 20:32
Remember him giving us South Bank lads a de-coding message to have a go at prior the signals exam. Then coming round during the exam and dealing from the bottom of the pack to give you the very same message for the exam.

All for the price of a pint if my memory serves.

Bit of a bonus before facing Capt. Dyston ( sp?) for the real exam.
I remember Capt. Dyston (not sure if the spelling is correct) That's the examiner who told a lad up for 2nd.mates to look out of the window and tell him what colour the leaves were on a particular tree. When he informed him they were brown, Capt. Dyston said "Well off you laddie and come back when they're green".
Ray

DerekC
27th March 2006, 19:19
Ray,

Along with everyone else I too remember Nobby very well, and his aides memoire, like the title. I was taught by him in the early 70s. Jim Featherstone was my course leader and Littlewood, the astro nav teacher, remember him anyone? Also does any one know what happened to the Cailach (sail trainer) after the college was sunk?

regards
DerekC

Orbitaman
13th May 2008, 14:10
The 'Cailach' was leased to the college for a shilling a year by the Hull trawler owners association.

When the association went under, the boat was offered to the college for a reasonable price, but the powers that be decided it was too much and turned the offer down.

The boat was eventaully bought by a local businessman who decided it would be a good idea to ask the college help overhaul the boat for free!

The college politely declined and also, somehow forgot to tell him that the base of the masts were rotten, so when he took the stays off, the masts came a tumbling down.

Post that, I have no idea.

Orbitaman
13th May 2008, 14:14
Regarding Nobby, I still remember his aides d'memoire for some of the signal flags, particularly the fishing meanings and even used them when teaching cadets signals when I was teaching at a well known college for a few months:

G = GETTIN THEM IN = I am hauling nets
P = PULLIN LIKE 'ELL = My nets have come fast on an obstruction
Z = ZOOMIN THEM OUT = I am shooting nets

A work colleague remembers Nobby still being around in the late 1990's driving his Vauxhall Viva around - proof that smoking doesn't harm your health!

Geoff_E
13th May 2008, 18:59
I remember "Nobby" well and the aide-memoires. I also seem to recall that there was a very similar character who took signal at South Shields, can't recall the name though?

veste
13th May 2008, 19:56
Was taught signals ( morse, semaphore, international code ) by Nobby from 1966 at Boulevard, and Mates and Masters at George Street ( Breeze Block )
A real gentleman, no messing, gave the biggest lad in the class a massive smack for being clever in the first lesson that set the tone.
Nobody failed signals, he would help anyone if you needed to get up to speed.
Aids to memory, int code , G= get a pilot, H= have a pilot, O= man Overboard.
At the end of class he used to light up and have a yarn.
The orals examiner at this time in Hull was Captain Diston, again stood for no messing.
Regards veste.

willincity
14th May 2008, 15:35
Nobby , what a character, I was fortunate to be at Boulevard Nautical school from 1963 to 66 and again in 1970 for 2/M with him.

Always recall when in the “Board Room” above Burtons Buildings sitting BoT signals for 2/Mates Nobby was sending 20 word message by semaphore (this was straight after the morse 60 letter block and the message). Also sitting the examination along with us 2nd Mates was a dozen or so trawler skippers, as you can imagine the room was packed with 40 candidates all paired off.

As Charley Distan (sp) was conducting the signals orals later in the day he was pacing about the room ensuring the whispering was kept to a minimum.

Nobby was now perched on a rickety old chair in front of the class waving his dark blue and yellow semaphore flags, half way through the message Nobby shout’s out “**** it” and crosses his flags across his chest in disgust. Diston immediately approached Nobby at some speed and looking up at him on the chair asked what the problem was, Nobby boomed back in a voice that could have been heard across Humber……. “I always get the letters p and h the wrong way round when sending Hydrographical” …………frantic scribbling followed on all the examination papers.

Nobby was almost a Munroe’s / Kemp & Young Seamanship book on legs, he could reel off buoyage systems, hand marks on the lead, three fold purchase systems, corrections on the sextant, arcs and distances of nav lights his knowledge was endless.

Hull Brewery were launching a new ale in cans (1970) named “PILOT” and the letters form the International Code of Signals were used down the side of the can for the beer trading name. The brewery checked with Nobby if the flags were correct and for his services he was given a dozen cans every week for a year.
What a great guy, full of admiration for the chap.

Captain Smurf
17th May 2008, 21:35
I remember "Nobby" well and the aide-memoires. I also seem to recall that there was a very similar character who took signal at South Shields, can't recall the name though?

Brown if memory serves

Captain Smurf
17th May 2008, 21:42
One of my prized possessions is a copy of the International Code of Signals autographed by Nobby and wishing me luck when I got his job at Hull Trinity House School, after he retired.

He got me through my GCE seamanship when I was a THS cadet, and he got me through Second Mate's Orals.

I'm at sea at the moment, and the Master was one of the last lad's taught by Nobby at the school; the Mate remembers Nobby from his time at George Street.

RayJordandpo
19th May 2008, 12:33
Nobby was a legend, no doubt about that. It wasn't only signals he was good at, he helped us a lot with rules of the road and seamanship in general

Joe w
24th August 2008, 15:19
Nobby was a true gentleman he was the signal instructor at THS and also when I did my cerificates in Hull.
He even used to give up his Saturday morning to teach seamanship and any other subject that the guys were feeling weak on.
Additional Signals were 1300 hrs in the lab every day at the college and it was always full.
He didn't minch his words either.
A true teacher and a man with repect from all over the world.
Never to be replaced.
By the way he was Signaler Yeoman of the Humber.(believe that was the title anyway)
R.I.P Nobby

ROBERT HENDERSON
24th August 2008, 15:43
Hi Joe
I am still trying to put a face to the name, I answered your PM but wondered if you received it. The name is familiar from Navimercantile days.

Regards Robert

soupdragon
8th February 2009, 13:32
I remember Nobby from my TH days, (66-70)

"Starve a donkey!!!"

"you there, what colours the light on a green buoy?"
"Green Sir!!"
"Very good, what colours the light on a red buoy?
"Red Sir!!"
"Very good, what colours the light on a black buoy?"
"Black Sir!!"
"You stupid sod!! what the hells a black light!!!"

Great guy and a great instructor.

merrymagpie
19th February 2009, 16:46
I also remember Nobby from my TH days (69 - 73) and HNC (74 and 76)

favourite quote

'Come on Bartle, what yer training to be, a Trappist Monk?'

Mike Bartle

Carl
27th May 2010, 17:32
I consider myself very privileged to have been taught signals by this great men (R.I.P) whilst at Hull Trinity House late 70's to 80. He made his morse light out of an old tobacco Tin. He even smoked in Class !! He got me through my Morse Code and Signals 'O' level !! His teaching methods were quite simpkly 'Brilliant'....Like 'Green is for Greenland' (As in Trwaler Lights), 'I' didle didle, etc, etc - BUT, I have since found out that this great man was also a Master Yoman of the Guard - They don't make 'em like him anymore - Tough as ol Boots with a face and Ears too match - However he really really cared deep down....Very sadly missed - with great respect....

Does anyone remember "Nobby" Clarke the signals teacher at Hull Nautical College in the seventies? He was ex Royal Navy and I remember him telling our class that he was actually still employed by the Admiralty. I believe he also taught at Trinity House. He used his home made morse tappers with the lights attached and had all sorts of little quirks and aids to memory. He didn't suffer fools gladly but if anyone could get you through signals he could. A real gentleman who genuinely took it as a personal affront if any pupil failed.
Ray

Plumber
1st June 2010, 10:39
I remember Nobby very very well.
THS 1946-1949.
Taught Signals,seamanship,PT lessons etc.
His home was in the Gym ,and the boxing ring was always available for "grudge fights", no fighting in the yard.

John Dryden
1st June 2010, 15:38
Nobby is definitely a legend in Hull.Brilliant teacher but anyone being clever got a smack in the mouth off him.Here is one of his monthly exams he used to set from 1968 when I was at Trinity House.Notice the comment he wrote on the bottom of the page,verbal comments were far mare colourful!

Andrew Barnes
18th November 2010, 23:37
Nobby taught me at Trinity House and Hull College. When I went for my phase 1 in 74 I had grown my hair a bit. Nobby's comment was 'Barnsey you long haired raving lunatic...stop pissin about! He used to spit on a bit of paper and stick it on the lamp to make it appear whiter. A legend.