Norwood Tech 1969-70

10th July 2006, 11:12
Anybody out there from Norwood Tech 1968-1970 ?



Mick farmer
25th July 2006, 21:37

I was there ten years before

So I had already been to sea and left before you started



21st September 2006, 13:33
Judging by the overwhelming response to this query, it would appear that Mick and I are the only surviving members of this illustrious marine radio establishment !

There must be more out there who remember Danielson, Frank Mayoh, R Walker, Phil Smith (Regs), Baxter (Morse) Tritton and the others ? And the walk down to the Co-Op Hall ?

The buildings themselves are now demolished and flats built on the site, but I think the pub down Chapel Road is still there. The Rosemary Branch went years ago when they expanded Norwood bus garage.



Paul Braxton
21st September 2006, 13:54
There are more of us out there!

Yes, Andy, it's true. I was there from 67 to 69 and remember all those lecturers. Had a pretty good time there even though I had to remember to do some work occasionally. The girls on the secretarial course were a constant disturbing influence, tho' we did learn how to do touch typing down at Chapel Road which has been very useful in later years tho' we all took it as a bit of a joke at the time.

Remember Doug Tear, was it? The radar lecturer, that is. And there was a great Polish guy called Brezhinsky or something like that who did theory lectures in radar. He always used to put one foot up on a chair at the front and called us 'gentlemen'. That radar syllabus was hard. We did the first transistorised course, on the Raymarc radar, and finished it in just 8 weeks. Don't know how I passed but I remember Doug sitting reading his paper in the corner whilst I was doing the practical and heard this little voice coming from somewhere behind it that it might be useful for me to check the power supply or something along those lines...

Remember the boring morse creed tapes and falling asleep in there. Remember also poor old George Lazari, a student from Greece, who during the morse practical which he was taking for the nth time, had to write all over the desktop cos he couldn't take his pen off the paper long enough to start a new line! (He failed that time, too).

Remember Danielson and Mayo and still have a copy of their textbook somewhere. Remember Pursloe who always came back after lunch from the pub and sometimes incapable of teaching us anything... Tritton was good on the tech elec. Remember him telling us on our first day there that very few of us would remain at sea for long, certainly not longer than two or three years and that we'd go on to do much better jobs ashore. Well I proved him wrong. Stayed in the game for twelve very memorable years and now wish I'd stayed just a few more cos I could have taken early retirement by now and probably had a damn good time doing those extra years. You can't spend too much time looking back but a bit doesn't hurt. It was a good period in my life.

Also remember the 'Brick' pub just down the road and how I spent a few lunchtimes in there, nursing a half pint of shandy cos that's all I could afford! Had to go without lunch to do that, too.

I could go on but won't now. Be nice to share a few more memories some time.

Regards, Paul

21st September 2006, 17:24
Hi other Norwoodonians


I was there 60-62 and whilst I remember most of those name the one that comes immediately to mind was "slow down George" Teasdale who taught, amonst other things I'm sure, morse at the back of the Congregational Church.

I also remember his car being lifted down the steps into the courtyard in the middle of the buildings.

I believe its all been knocked down now and has been replaced with flats.



21st September 2006, 17:43
I too was at Norwood, 67 to 69, but how you remember all those events and names after all this time is beyond me. Even worse, did I know you Paul?

Robert Knibbs, did 2nd class and radar before going on to join BP.

Paul Braxton
21st September 2006, 18:24
Hi, Robert. Hmmm... can't say my memory stretches to your name. If you were there then, then we must've been in the same group. Some names I remember from then: Philip Cool (black frame glasses and long hair combed across his eyes!), .. Alan Burbidge, Scrimshaw (who seemed to be almost permanently out of it), somebody Palmer (who was crazy about the Beach Boys) Phil? Hawse (who had to quit when he couldn't get the hang of morse code...

I've still got my exam papers for the 2nd Cl and radar exams, believe it or not. Looked back at the questions and they look pretty hard to me now, if not impossible. Decided not to try for the first class, as I just wanted to get to sea as quickly as possible. Went into Marconi's when NZS wouldn't take me without experience and had lots of fun throughout my dozen years, serving with loads of different companies. Heck, I just remembered my old mate Gino Masero. You must remember him; he carried around a colour photograph of himself and would put it on the table sometimes at break in the canteen and just gaze at himself! I caught up with him one year in the mid 70's when we happened to meet in Mimco's office. Had a great night out. You remember those old headphones we used to have to cart around with us all the time? I still remember the dinner queues and the 5p luncheon vouchers they issued us. In those days a cup of tea was 4d and coffee 6d in the old money. Used to eat lots of baked beans and chips. Actually I remember lots of it as tho' it were yesterday, somehow. Strange. Mind you, up until a few years ago I could've told you names of most of the guys I sailed with but that's starting to ebb away a bit now.

Tried to get some info on the old place a few months ago. Was trying to chase up student records and such in connexion with my upcoming emigration to NZ but after a lot of searching and phone calls found out that they no longer exist as seemingly the lot was trashed a few years back when the place changed hands. No computers in those days...

One thing you must remember is the girls I mentioned before; you know, the ones doing the secretarial courses. Wow, I sure would like to find out what happened to one or two of them. Just remembered another couple of names: Jeff Williams (who owned a car of all things) and Bob McManamon who came back from sea (NZS) to get his radar cert. Bob and I became good mates and carried it thro' several sea-going years, doing illegal hf skeds, me with my O'span 7. Jeff was a sod, really, in that I found out just before I left that he was going out with the girl I'd fancied thro'out the 2 yrs but never got off with. Found out as well that he'd been treating her pretty badly there for a while. Physical stuff and that. Hell, he was 21 or so, back then and me just 17 or 18 at the end of it all.

Anyway, there's lots more memories if you're interested in more. Cheers for now.


22nd September 2006, 12:13
Thanks for that Paul, I do remember I started at Norwood in Easter 1967, maybe you started in the September? I don't remember much communication between the different groups.

Paul Braxton
23rd September 2006, 12:13
Hi, Robert. Yeah, I started in the Sept. of that year and somehow I'd forgotten there were more than one group. Funny how you forget some things and remember others, eh?

How long were you at sea with BP?


23rd September 2006, 12:44
Hi Paul, I stayed with BP for just a few years. I really enjoyed it but various people advised me to get ashore and establish a career before radio officers became redundant. And so when we started to go to the same ports again and again I thought it was time to go. I was fortunate to move into a career in film and TV.


Paul Braxton
27th September 2006, 18:26
Wow - sounds cool, Robert. You still doing that, I wonder? As for me I've had a varied 'career' after I left the sea. The best of them was probably working at the airport here in Bournemouth but I wasn't there too long. The worst was probably working in a factory in New Zealand for a while, straight after coming out of the Merch. I wonder how you look back on those days? I'm afraid I'm a bit guilty of looking at it all a bit rosily perhaps, but the fact is I would've probably done the job for no pay at all... Just loved it! Quite enjoyed the time at Norwood too. A few good laughs there. Hard work tho', but did enjoy it all.

30th September 2006, 11:18
Hi Paul
Was pretty cool working with UK and US broadcasters then hollywood studios but don't do it any longer, occasional consultancy work though. Now sort of semi-retired but with various part-time employments, a non-exec with the NHS, some educational work, etc. I enjoyed my time at sea and would not have missed it but I would have preferred the deck officer option but colour blindness put paid to that. Still love ships and the sea.
Norwood was OK. Maybe would have been better if the college was more nautical - in some ways it was more of a factory producing RO's - but we made it fun.

Paul Braxton
3rd October 2006, 17:20
Hell yeah, we certainly did that! Funny, I never had any money while I was there but it didn't stop me having a good time...
As for life at sea, I'd rate that as better than a university education in terms of what you learned there. Nothing better to prepare you for the rest of your life, I guess you could say.

Nice to chat with you. Maybe somebody else will see this thread and join in. Hope so. Be nice to catch up with a few people after all this time. Hard to believe it was all so very long ago. In some ways it just seems like yesterday somehow. Strange.

Tks for the QSO, OM. 73's and CU ltr.

Cheers, Paul

5th October 2006, 15:09
Hi Paul ...

Good to hear from you, yes all those names are very familiar !

The typing classes, most of the time was spent in typing messages to the secretarial course girls, who I don't think took much notice of us ! I reckon I could still do 20+ wpm from morse on two fingers - though thank God for computer spell checkers now !

Doug Tear: I remember him telling a couple of stories; one about radiation from the Argus radar when the covers were open, which was supposed to make you sterile, though it hadn't affected him (so he said !); the other was about betting. When he got married, as a pressie, his Father-in-Law had given them a string of betting shops on the south coast (Worthing comes to mind). This meant on the days when there was a race meeting at Windsor, the Argus was always working perfectly on the 48 mile range to keep a look out for rain clouds !

Ziggy Brzenski (sp) was the other lecturer, a great bloke, a perfect gentleman, we also had some lectures from a C&G Tels (Course 49) who had a thing about medical electonics (don't ask !) I dipped out of passing the radar exam by a couple of marks, but despite the protestations of Tear and Ziggy to the BoT, I was still failed ! I resat a year later with a better result.

I think it was Frank Mayoh who said we'd all be better off ashore, good advice for 1st term students ! It was old Baxter, must be long gone now, who caught me (& others) on more than one occasion reading the paper and sending rubbish in freeform morse time the Chapel. There was also Phil Smith, who worked GNF in the hols, and taught Regs, Q Codes etc etc, accused us all of being pissed on the last day before the Xmas break, and refused to take the class ! He may have had something there !

Who else was on the course with me; Gerry Pledger (?), Paul Freeman (Raynes Park), Dave Abbey (Bedford), Martin Norfolk (?), Clive Puttock (Reigate), Brian Duignam (Crawley), Graham Westgate (?), an english lady married to a Gorthon's master (?), Chris Wortham (Canterbury), ? Florence (Catford) and others. Surprising what comes down off the shelf when prompted.

Enough for now ....



Paul Braxton
7th October 2006, 12:14
Hi, Andy.

Good to hear from you. That's a good story about the Argus. Remember working on that and the Hermes. Was always really wary about the O/P bottles on that equipment. Doug Tear was always stressing how lethal they were. On one occasion, as I remember, my mate Gino Masoero was standing behind Doug, who was bent double over the said radar, hands delving into the depths, arms about 2mm from the also-said o/p bottles (EL36?),when Gino suddenly clapped his hands with some force right behind Tear's head! The poor bloke nearly had a heart-attack right then and there. Come to think of it, that was probably what soured Gino when it came to the exam. Can still remember seeing him thro' the glass panel in the radar room door when he was taking the practical, scratching his head and floundering around. Poor bloke.

I agree with you about Brezhinski. He was a great bloke. Always used to preface his lectures in the same way: he'd pull out a chair, put one foot up on it and pull up his trouser leg slightly. Then he'd grin at us all and say: "Everything in the garden is lovely, eh, gentlemen?" Every time the same thing, I swear. We used to run a sweep as to whether he'd say it.

Remember Frank Mayo too. I recall he ran the 'cabin' class and I also recall that he often used to seem to single me out as a sort of guinea pig when it was required to demonstrate some point or other to the class. On those occasions I always seemed to make a complete hash of it and everybody would be falling about with laughter. Come to think of it, it was probably good therapy! Funny those days. I can remember the Z77's you always had to pull out of the Salvor, was it? The emergency TX. He'd have taken out a pin or something like that. Heck, that top deck of the Oceanspan VI was heavy, wasn't it? Especially when it came to it later for real, on a heaving ship.

They taught us well, tho', those guys. Learned a lot from them. I remember the Lifeguard was always a bit of a mystery to me as to how it worked. All those coincidence diodes and stuff. My trouble was, I didn't really have a huge interest in electronics. I only did the R/O thing as a sure-fire way into the Merch. If my eyes had been better I'd probably have done the navigation side. Come to think of it, I reckon I did the best thing. After all, we used to get a lot more time off in port than those guys.

Glad you reminded me about old Baxter. He was a good bloke; seemed quite ancient in those days. Can still see that old morse room.

I was quite surprised to find out the old place has disappeared, along with all the records, it seems. There now seem to be none at all in existence. I've tried all the London Boroughs and various letters and phone calls have produced no results. Pre-computer days, I guess. Sad to think the whole place has vanished, except of course, in our memories!

Let's hope someone else contributes to this thread.

Agn, tks for QSO.


9th May 2007, 17:55
Hi all you Norwoodians

Came across this pic recently dated 1961. Its the Statue outside the main entrane with yours truly firmly ensconsed. Note the headphone on the side of the brief case by my left foot. I don't understand why I looking tidy, I usually turned up in Army surplus despatch rider boots and USAAF surplus flying jacket.

Does anybody recognise the fella walking in the back round?



6th June 2008, 14:10
Yes. I was there in 69/70
Phil Woodgate

16th June 2008, 17:28
Hi Phil ...

Can you remember any other names of those who were with you then ?



9th December 2008, 16:01
As it's been over a year since the last comment on here, I thought I'd liven it up again and see if anybody who's joined SN in the interim may contribute ...

Come on guys, there must be a few more of you out there ...

21st January 2009, 22:49
My father Lectured there from 1953 Bill Ellerington we lived in a flat in Clapham and I think it was Frank Mayo who lived in the flat downstairs My father went on into Electrical Engineering and finally ended up as Head of Department at Wandsworth College until he retired in 1982

22nd January 2009, 04:03
I was at Norwood Tech in 1965/66. Reading the above reminds me of names I had completely forgotten. Still have Mayo and Danielson's "Marine Radio Manual" (and "Principles and Practice of Radar" by RHS Boulding) from that time. Must get around to reading them one day, was never a very keen student. Danielson was the principal and I only met him once, when he handed me my certificates on leaving. Mayo had a B.E.M. from the war. Think it was for developing an electric/electronic aircraft cockpit simulator in place of the mechanical ones they had been using up until then.

Remember Benny Baxter well. He was a lovely old boy who had retired after fifty years at sea and used to take morse classes, officiating at the Annexe down the road. Morse was the only thing I was good at and I remember him taping my efforts to play back to the others. Sods law that the only thing that I had a natural affinity for was to pass into history before too many years were out. Benny used to like his large rums at lunchtime and the aroma was quite pungent when he was in the vicinity.

He started out on the transatlantic liners before world war one. They used to relay traffic from one to another on their spark transmitters for forwarding to the coast stations. When he started as the most junior member of the radio staff he used to have the job of relaying a great pile of passenger telegrams overnight. On the first occasion he did this, at the conclusion the operator on the other ship sent back the QSL and added BTYFM. Benny asked his senior in the morning what BTYFM meant. The senior R/O dissolved into paroxsysms of laughter and, when he had recovered, spluttered “Balls To Your F--king Morse!”

Benny was in Hamburg when the First World War started. I think he said there were a dozen other British ships in port as well. The ship he was on tried to make a run for the sea and was sunk in the river, blocking all the others in. He spent the whole of the first world war in a prison camp. He was at sea all through the Second World War as well, of course. I remember him saying that, one one occasion, he was told to join a ship which had been sunk, raised and returned to service. On inspecting his cabin, he found everything was covered in a green mould. As a senior man by then, he told Marconi that they could stuff it and they found him another ship.

When the Queen made a visit to New Zealand in the fifties on Shaw Savill’s “Gothic,” Benny was offered the post of senior R/O but declined it. Not his cup of tea.

Another lecturer I remember was Mr. Winkle. He didn’t like being called Winkle and tried to insist that it was pronounced Winshul. One day he was asking us what hobbies we all had. One of the lads used to be a bellringer at his local church. When he added that he also played the organ, Winkle came back quick as a shot “Mouth, church or sex?”

26th September 2009, 10:51
Hello, Nigel, fancy seeing you here! The RA office "ladies" ara all aghast at you and Val splitting up, but I think you deserve a medal! How did you put up with her for so long? If she was the same at home as at work? I'd ask her a perfectly innocent question and she'd immediately go into attack mode! So how are you keeping, where are you living? Still got the classic car? I've gained another truck, a 1942 Dodge WC62 6 x 6 1-1/2 ton troop carrier, now pretty much restored. Just took it back to my co-owner's place at Calne last night. ATB, John W.

PollY Anna
28th September 2009, 21:48
Just a little note I was at West Norwood in 61 before going to sea but I was working for God's Poor Orphans (GPO) as a Youth in Training but found it very boring, gave it all up and went to sea as a Deck Boy. No regrets

Robert S Hill
2nd March 2014, 13:21
Just found this thread when trying to get in touch with Alan Burbidge. I was at norwood 67-69 and am sitting reading the Sunday papers with Ian Benton, if you remember him! we've been friends for over 40 years. I was with P&O from 68-78, Oronsay, Arcadia, Himalaya and 5 years on Oriana. I went back to university and gained a degree in electronics. I am on Linkedin if anyone wants contact, I'm the MD of Chemring defence based in Derby and Bremerhaven although my home is West Mersea near Colchester.

I remember Paul Braxton and all the people he mentions in his thread! including Benton knocking Goole's headphone off his ear with a rubber foot from a stool. Ben Baxter knew exactly who did it, wise old owl that he was.

73's to all

Paul Braxton
6th March 2014, 22:14
Hi Robert. I remember Ian from college, now that you mention him. Don't remember Goole, was it Coole, by any chance? Phil Cool, or Coole, a tall, skinny bloke with straight, black hair and black framed glasses (didn't we all have them in those days?)

Good to hear you have apparently done very well for yourself since those days. Is that correct that you are now a pilot and own a flash sports car? Think it was Jeff Williams who let me in on that. You obviously remember Jeff from those days. I corresponded with him for a short while a year or so back (about a girl I was chasing at college) and he mentioned you.

Best regards, Paul Braxton

P.S. Remember Phil Hawse? He failed miserably in his morse. Poor old Baxter tried so hard with him but Phil just couldn't handle morse code for some reason. Wonder what happened to him...

Also, remember that horrible trip we had to do on the old "Glen Strathallan" down the Thames? I got to peel a load of tatties and humiliated myself trying hard to wait at table in the evening! Did get to send a TR to GNF, if I remember it right though. Old Mercury/Electra combination, I think she had.

Robert S Hill
6th March 2014, 22:58
It would be the same chap, Coole if that's his name. Saw Jeff a few times when I was running our counter IED business in Poole. The girl was that Rosemary?

Paul Braxton
8th March 2014, 07:29
Yes indeed it was, Bob. Rosie was a distant (mostly) dream for me for the two years there. Jeff and I corresponded a couple of times and her name was mentioned. He was going out with her on the quiet, so bad luck for me, I guess. He was quite interested in trying to get back in touch with her, but drew a blank.. Far as it went, he discovered her brother (I hadn't known she had one back then) is a head teacher somewhere in England, and he contacted the guy, who (probably rightly so) wouldn't supply any contact details. He offered to get her to write or ring but apparently she never did. Ah well. Such is life!

See yah. Paul

Robert S Hill
6th April 2014, 11:12
Don't remember Phil Hawse. Gino Masero, Colin Tait and of course Alan Burbidge because he was on QE2 for years and often met up in the Caribbean when I was based in Miami with P&O.
Met Jeff quite a few times in recent years when I was running a counter-IED business in Poole. I am also a part-time flying instructor and an RAF civilian instructor teaching Air Cadets. The fancy car, Ferrari 360 Spider, is actually my wife's. I met her 40 years ago in Pago Pago when she was on a cruise from Sydney on Himalaya. She's just taken early retirement from her job as a divorce lawyer.
Glen strathallan yes remember being anchored off Southend and peeling spuds.

Hope all well with you

Paul Braxton
20th April 2014, 23:30
Yeah, thanks Bob, all well as can be expected here. I swapped jobs on the "Strathallan". They wanted me to make coffee for the whole crew but as I'd never even had a cup of coffee in my life at that time, I had no idea how to do such a thing! Thankfully the nav cadet detailed to spud peeling was more than happy to swap.

Crikey! I remember how hard it was to sleep on that tub; all crammed together in one bunkroom... What a nightmare that trip turned out to be with Pursloe in charge.

What's counter-IED? Is that something to do with counter terrorism?

Where are you living at the moment? Still in the Poole area? I emigrated to NZ in '82, and then again in '07. Now living on the edge of a large mixed dairy/sheep farm out in the sticks but still with a working "Atalanta" receiver, would you believe!

Best regards, Paul

Robert S Hill
21st April 2014, 08:49
IED is improvised explosive devices, we made detection and disarming equipment. If you google Robert Hill Chemring Defence you can see what my current company does.
We moved a few years ago to Mersea Island, just south of Colchester. I work in Derby a couple of days per week and every Thursday at my other office in Bremerhaven.
I am going to a P&O pensioners reunion on May 2nd. Lots of my old shipmates from the 70's will be there so hopefully good fun.
Ian Benton and his wife are staying with us at end May.

Best regards

Paul Braxton
23rd April 2014, 23:05
Back to you again, Bob.

I've just Googled your Chemring website, but there's no photo of its Managing Director! Only a blank page where a photo should be...

Not bad - "Glen Stathallan" to MD of such a prestigious company, and one that seems to be doing a good and very worthwhile job in our funny old world.


And an OBE too! Well done indeed that man.


Robert S Hill
24th April 2014, 05:37
If it's piccies you want try google robert hill obe and also
Look under seadogs and there's loads of P&O memories

22nd May 2016, 17:10
I attended Norwood PMG from 69 to 72 and went on to work or a defense contractor, I recall John Alp as on of my teachers, along with Douglas and Tickner. I remember David Court in my group. Just thought I would say Hi, I had a great time and left with a great grounding in electronics. Good luck all.
Ian Gooderson