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

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  #101  
Old 21st October 2008, 18:30
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Baltic Wal Baltic Wal is offline  
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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.
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  #102  
Old 22nd October 2008, 09:29
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Shannoner Shannoner is offline  
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IBM obviously saw something in ex MN Officers that they needed, or their head of HR was ex MN
Keep it coming, anymore ex IBM people out there?
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  #103  
Old 23rd October 2008, 11:22
BOB GARROCH BOB GARROCH is offline  
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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.
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  #104  
Old 17th February 2012, 21:57
harryredvers harryredvers is offline  
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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.
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  #105  
Old 18th February 2012, 08:49
Graham P Powell Graham P Powell is offline  
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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
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  #106  
Old 18th February 2012, 20:31
jbo jbo is offline  
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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!
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  #107  
Old 18th February 2012, 23:18
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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'.
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  #108  
Old 18th February 2012, 23:44
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Pete, Fabulous career but has your driving improved? David V
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  #109  
Old 19th February 2012, 10:42
cajef cajef is offline  
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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.
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  #110  
Old 19th February 2012, 13:22
Criffh Criffh is offline  
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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!

Last edited by Criffh : 20th February 2012 at 03:09.
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  #111  
Old 19th February 2012, 15:04
R396040 R396040 is offline  
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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
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  #112  
Old 19th February 2012, 22:52
harryredvers harryredvers is offline  
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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
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  #113  
Old 20th February 2012, 09:54
Graham P Powell Graham P Powell is offline  
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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
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  #114  
Old 20th February 2012, 17:24
harryredvers harryredvers is offline  
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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
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  #115  
Old 21st February 2012, 09:17
Graham P Powell Graham P Powell is offline  
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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)
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  #116  
Old 29th February 2012, 00:35
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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
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  #117  
Old 29th February 2012, 10:40
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Varley Varley is offline   SN Supporter
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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
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  #118  
Old 3rd March 2012, 00:06
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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?
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  #119  
Old 3rd March 2012, 10:25
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Varley Varley is offline   SN Supporter
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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
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  #120  
Old 4th March 2012, 03:05
J. Davies J. Davies is offline  
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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?
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  #121  
Old 4th March 2012, 08:10
LaFlamme LaFlamme is offline  
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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.
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