R/O's - ex Plymouth College 1960's

les.edgecumbe
6th August 2010, 15:08
I keep in touch with several R/O's and REO's from Plymouth days, and am thinking of orgainising a website to assist contact with one another.
Are there any R/O's who trained at Plymouth with lecturers Ted Howarth, Dave Miller, Alec Ward, 'Robbie' Robinson, Joe Rowe, Mitchell, Crowther, Alan Pink??

Les Edgecumbe
Devon.

Ron Stringer
7th August 2010, 00:06
Did a Marine Electronics Diploma course there in Autumn 1966. Ted Howarth and Terry Crowther were still there then. Crowther and one other lecturer Pete (?) were also at Brooks Bar Manchester in 1959 when I took my PMG.

I was in digs in Cattedown Road - since cleared to make way for some sort of relief road-c u m bypass between the City Centre and the A38.

les.edgecumbe
7th August 2010, 19:52
Your name rings a vague bell Ron. I was there at the same time (Plymouth) PMG II. Your MED must have been a very early one.
Pete Yarwood?
With exception of Alan Pink, and possibly Howarth all lecturers are QRT now.

Ron Stringer
7th August 2010, 22:29
Pete Yarwood was the man indeed. Met both him and Terry Crowther on occasion later while I was working for Marconi ashore, usually at exhibitions or the Boat Show. Sorry to hear they have both passed on.

Ron Stringer
7th August 2010, 22:54
Marconi set that course up with Ted Howarth for R/Os that had newly 'come ashore' to work for them as technicians on the docks. Names that I can remember from the course were Norman Watchorn and myself from South Shields base (Newcastle Depot), Julian Dunn from Liverpool Depot, Eric Tarling from Aberdeen and Bernie Kelly from East Ham. Others have slipped my memory.

Norman and I rented a top floor bedsit in a house in Cattedown Road. We mainly dealt with our middle-aged landlady since her husband, Lenny, was normally absent from the home, either at work or doing evening classes in car maintenance. It was only later that our landlady (and we) learned that the evening classes had much more to do with servicing the chassis of a certain young lady than Lenny's NSU Prinz car. There was a parting of the ways and Lenny and the NSU departed.

les.edgecumbe
8th August 2010, 16:39
Life in the city eh?
I have mislead you....as far as I hear on the grapevine Pete and Terry are still alive, but unknown whereabouts.
Think I may have come across you when I worked on various colliers - deep joy!
Looking forward to hearing from any others who went through Plymouth tech.

les.edgecumbe
8th August 2010, 20:07
Your name rings a vague bell Ron. I was there at the same time (Plymouth) PMG II. Your MED must have been a very early one.
Pete Yarwood?
With exception of Alan Pink, and possibly Howarth all lecturers are QRT now.
Correction: Pete Yarwood and Terry Crowther believed to be still alive.

Ron Stringer
9th August 2010, 10:42
I believe that Terry used to live up Tavistock way, but I can't be sure of that. (Intermittent fault in the memory stack.)

les.edgecumbe
9th August 2010, 13:19
That's correct - and used to teach radio to the inmates of Dartmoor Prison - guess he used us as guinea pigs then!!

Ken Lake
9th August 2010, 13:37
I received my PMG 1 and Radar ticket there in 1963 and remember Ted Howarth and Alan Pink for PMG but can't remember the lecturer for radar which was undertaken in a building on Plymouth Hoe. Ted told me not to spend too much time at sea and get other qualifications so I went back to what was then Plymouth Polytechnic and did a B Sc in Communications Engineering.

les.edgecumbe
9th August 2010, 16:46
That would be Jock Richardson, Ken. The Scotsman with voltage detectible fingers to within 50/100volts. I was the course behind you and the radar moved up to the main building. Was John Duquemin (from Channel Islands) on your course? Shared digs with him in Stoke.

Ken Lake
10th August 2010, 11:53
That would be Jock Richardson, Ken. The Scotsman with voltage detectible fingers to within 50/100volts. I was the course behind you and the radar moved up to the main building. Was John Duquemin (from Channel Islands) on your course? Shared digs with him in Stoke.

I don't remember the name Les but it was a long time ago!

LucyKnight
15th June 2013, 15:35
I keep in touch with several R/O's and REO's from Plymouth days, and am thinking of orgainising a website to assist contact with one another.
Are there any R/O's who trained at Plymouth with lecturers Ted Howarth, Dave Miller, Alec Ward, 'Robbie' Robinson, Joe Rowe, Mitchell, Crowther, Alan Pink??

Les Edgecumbe
Devon.

I completed the first year of the MRRT (1972-1973) (the 1st year it was introduced) at Durnford Street Plymouth. Went to Bristol for 2nd and 3rd years. The lectureres were in charge Mr Mitchell (no more) Mr Hogan Mr Pink Mr Sargeant. You mentioned Alec Ward. He wasn't there then but after Redifon went on to be the Electronics Supt at CP Ships who l latger worked for. He was extremely well respected by his dept. and sadly died either 2002 or 2003. Mr Crowther l remember as a neighbour when I lived at home. Mr Howarth and Mr Crowther were at the Polytechic where they originally ran the 2nd year and radar. When the Tech became the Polytechnic the first year was classed as CFE and ended up in the Durnford St annex. before the new large modern CFE in Devonport was built. I know Mr Pink and Mr Mitchell moved there. I was talking to another retired lecturere from the same dept but not a radio lect the other day who filled me in on them.

LucyKnight
15th June 2013, 15:39
I don't remember the name Les but it was a long time ago!

You mentioned Jock Richardson the radar lecturerer. He apparently ended up suffering with MND and was unable to speak so he communicated using the morse key at the end before his demise. This came from another lecturer who worked with him in the same dept.

LucyKnight
15th June 2013, 15:44
Pete Yarwood went on to be in charge and lectured on the MEC. He was there when I took it Sept 77 - Mar 78 and had been there for a while. He also lectured on the BSC Comm eng degree.



Your name rings a vague bell Ron. I was there at the same time (Plymouth) PMG II. Your MED must have been a very early one.
Pete Yarwood?
With exception of Alan Pink, and possibly Howarth all lecturers are QRT now.
Correction: Pete Yarwood and Terry Crowther believed to be still alive.

Keith Pengelly
17th June 2013, 21:21
I was at Plymouth 1963 to 65. still remember the coach trip to visit Portisheadhead. The words to some of the foulest ditties sung on the way home (via several pubs) are still with me. Robbie was in some way involved with Station X but even that long after the war was reluctant to talk about it. Joe Wroe was a signaller on balloons in WW1 spotting for the artillery. When my wife was having our son in Harlow in 1979, her midwife was the wife of Ian Channing, who was at Plymouth with my brother David a few years before me. Trevor Bean is still living in Crafthole. Roger Simms was mentioned in a book I read about the Falklands War. Few other names, Barry Austin ex RAF. Chris Lambrou from Cyprus, Sean Mcginnty, Roger West.

derekhore
2nd July 2013, 16:54
I received my PMG 1 and Radar ticket there in 1963 and remember Ted Howarth and Alan Pink for PMG but can't remember the lecturer for radar which was undertaken in a building on Plymouth Hoe.

Was that building on the seaward side of the road leading from the Barbican to the Hoe - like an old fort?

If so, it was called Fishers Nose and is now a cafe!

http://www.polyolbion.org.uk/Fortifications/Plymouth/CitadelFishersNose.jpg

LucyKnight
3rd July 2013, 17:14
Was that building on the seaward side of the road leading from the Barbican to the Hoe - like an old fort?

If so, it was called Fishers Nose and is now a cafe!

http://www.polyolbion.org.uk/Fortifications/Plymouth/CitadelFishersNose.jpg

Fisher's nose is Huttons cafe, but it's not the only cafe in that stretch now. Just along towards west Hoe below the road were blue painted boat storage bunkers on the tarmac and people used to catch the booze crew boat which went up to Calstock up the River Tamar. There is now a proper ferry staging and ramp there and the boat sheds are now cafes along with fake grass, wooden decking, trellis and pot plants. Very twee. Opposite Fisher's nose was the Lambay Hill stone steps which led up to the Fishermans pub and the Commercial. They are both still there, but I don't think the Commercial is open for many hours a week now.

derekhore
3rd July 2013, 17:43
Cheers Lucy - I went into the cafe at the end of last summer - for old times sake as it were - spent a good few hours doing my Radar Observers in that place!
We used to pop up to the Commercial for a lunchtime pint.

Do you know if the Blue Dolphin pub is still on the Barbican? Copius supplies of 'blue microdots' used to be available to purchase in that place!! ;)

Barmyclaresdad
4th July 2013, 10:02
I was there for my MED in 1967 soon after coming ashore and working for Marconi in Hull. Followed after Ron into the digs in Cattedown Road.
I remember the names of the lecturers mentioned.
We nicknamed the radar man Angus Mckluskie.
Malcolm Foulds

LucyKnight
4th July 2013, 15:20
I was there for my MED in 1967 soon after coming ashore and working for Marconi in Hull. Followed after Ron into the digs in Cattedown Road.
I remember the names of the lecturers mentioned.
We nicknamed the radar man Angus Mckluskie.
Malcolm Foulds

Were you meaning 'Jock' Richardson who was teaching radar way after that in the building which became the Polytechnic(now university) and then down at the new CFE King Roads (phase 1 opened about 78) which was on the site of the Old Devonport Railway Station opposite and just up the road from the Old Devonport Tech. Jock died of Motor Neurone Disease and according to another lecturer in the same dept but did not teach on the radio officers course (electrical engineering) he usedd his morse key to communicate with people when he was unable to speak because of the disease. That retired lecturer who I had the conversation with about 2 months ago also mentioned Alan Pink in the conversation and is a long standing radio ham. I'll ask him for his callsign if your interested and want to be filled in on the rest of them who might still be around.

LucyKnight
4th July 2013, 15:38
Cheers Lucy - I went into the cafe at the end of last summer - for old times sake as it were - spent a good few hours doing my Radar Observers in that place!
We used to pop up to the Commercial for a lunchtime pint.

Do you know if the Blue Dolphin pub is still on the Barbican? Copius supplies of 'blue microdots' used to be available to purchase in that place!! ;)

If your meaning the same pub called 'The Dolphin' on the barbican which was opposite the original fish market (before they installed the lock gates and shifted the fish market across the water to Cattdown), it is still there. As the Fish market isn't opposite it it doesn't really have the same locals around. Some of the fish market businesses shifted elsewhere. There was a Marconi R/O I knew and his late father had one of the long standing businesses (Percy Turner's) on the Old Fish market key and he ended up working for the family firm but I understand they shifted to Looe. The sight of the fishing boats and people fixing their nets gave quite a lot of character to the Barbican which is missing now. The artist Lenceiwitz (or however it's spelt) painting his mural was another sight visitors liked even if some of the locals disapproved. That was by Plymouth Gin (Blackfriars distillery) That started about 1971 along with a man dressed up as Francis Drake taking people for guided walks and selling them 'pieces of eight'.

I never heard of the Dolphin being called the 'Blue Dolphin'. There was a pub called the 'Blue Monkey' and after some of us had been sailing under the Tamar Bridge at Saltash Passage under the watchful eye of John Vorden and Roger Collins the sports instructors would sometimes end up there, but that was in the St Budeaux area. In the end the pub at Saltash passage had our custom because they didn't mind up walking in wearing our dripping wet home made wet suits as long as we bought a drink and a pasty. I think the pub and locals must have been very tolerant looking back

The Good companions Pub building is still standing (just) and boarded up in Mayflowers St and is pictured in today's Evening Herald regarding an article about resubmission of planning permission for student accommodation to be built on the site.

The nightclub so many went to on the Barbican called officially the 'Sailing school' Unofficially the GX is still standing but called Annabels.

I defected after my first year studying in Plymouth under course leader Mr Mitchel and ended up completing the 2nd and 3rd years of the MRRT (the first intake of the longer course) at Brunel Bristol.

King Ratt
4th July 2013, 16:55
Did any of you Plymouthian students ever visit the establishment along the Barbican know as the GX? I believe that was short for groin exchange. It may have been the local sailing club at one time but it was all a long time ago.

LucyKnight
24th August 2013, 15:41
For those that remembered the Old Devonport Tech. I drove past the other day and it is now converted into flats called Victoria appartments.

derekhore
25th August 2013, 09:16
Hi Lucy ..

I think it was referred to as the 'blue' Dolphin because of the certain coloured micro-dots that were easily obtained in there! ;)

Barmyclaresdad
25th August 2013, 11:07
Hi Lucy, long time ago now but believe the building was the poly

LucyKnight
28th August 2013, 13:19
Hi Lucy ..

I think it was referred to as the 'blue' Dolphin because of the certain coloured micro-dots that were easily obtained in there! ;)

I wouldn't know because I tried extremely hard to avoid people into that sort of thing and in this area it was and still is extremely hard.

derekhore
28th August 2013, 13:23
I wouldn't know because I tried extremely hard to avoid people into that sort of thing and in this area it was and still is extremely hard.

Indeed - went in there once on a summers evening and couldn't believe what was going on - put it down to Uni students!
Beat a hasty retreat back to the Goodies I think!

LucyKnight
28th August 2013, 13:38
Seafarers service Plymouth Hoe/Barbican

If anyone's interested just above the Admiral Mcbride pub (and along from the Dolphin) before you get to the steps which led up to the Commercial Pub ( which closed for good at the beginning of this month) is a plaque on the wall erected in 1995 as a memorial to Merchant Navy seafarers who lost their lives. There is a service there on the 3rd of Sept at 11am.

derekhore
15th October 2013, 11:30
Seafarers service Plymouth Hoe/Barbican

If anyone's interested just above the Admiral Mcbride pub (and along from the Dolphin) before you get to the steps which led up to the Commercial Pub ( which closed for good at the beginning of this month) is a plaque on the wall erected in 1995 as a memorial to Merchant Navy seafarers who lost their lives. There is a service there on the 3rd of Sept at 11am.

Meant to post earlier - but I made it to the service, albeit arriving about 10 minutes late due to lorries and parking problems.
Thanks for the info Lucy.

Tony Selman
15th October 2013, 18:32
A very good friend of mine called Ken Lake who came from Woodbury near Exeter went to Plymouth for his PMG's (early to mid 60's) and MED (early 70's), I think. I came from Exeter but because my parents moved to the North West for a few years I took my tickets at Riversdale. I touched base with Ken again and he was with Reardon Smith's at that time (late 60's) but had previously been with B&C. He spent many years in the oil industry and is now retired in Fremantle.

Alan Norman
31st December 2015, 14:36
Interesting to read about the Plymouth and Devonport Tech College. I attended the Devonport Radio College in September 1961 until May 1962 Our main lecturer was Ted Howarth assisted by Joe Rowe for morse. From May 1962 until August 1962 I did the Radar maintenance certificate with Jock Richardson. I took the first part of my PMG 1st but failed the 2nd part on the morse! (Morse was so new to us all then!) I went into the Merchant navy on the 30th April 1963 with my PMG 2 and Radar certificate then after my 6 months as a Junior Sparks I travelled to Post Office headquarters in London to complete my PMG 1.
I worked for Marconi on a variety of ships finally leaving Marconi on the 25th April 1967 then joining the Post Officer as a shore going radio officer at Ilfracombe Radio/GIL where I worked for the next 19 years until it's closure.

I have lots of happy memories of Plymouth but as we all left, of course we travelled to different parts of the globe and so mostly lost contact with one another.

Alan Norman (retired Radio Officer)

Tim Strickland
15th May 2017, 12:30
I realise I am joining this thread some time after it was initiated but thought you might be interested to know:

I joined Plymouth CFE to study for MRGC, City and Guilds and radar tickets in September 1973. Buildings in use were Durnford Street and Keyham (former dockyard school). The 'new' college at Kings Road, Devonport, was opened in 1975 and we were the first cohort there for our final year of MRGC and radar.

Lecturers included John Mitchell (Head of Section), Alan Pink, John Nickson, Jock Richardson, John Dustin, Graham Sargent. I have to thank Alan Pink for encouraging me to become a radio amateur (still active today!)

Happy days. I subsequently joined Marconi and then went into a career in teaching radio/electronics/telecomms until the management route of education beckoned.

Tim Strickland G4EOA

derekhore
15th May 2017, 12:35
Hey Tim .. remember me? We met up in Plymouth when you were on a course of some sort (I live in Paignton) - and we sailed together too .. I seem to remember a run ashore with you in Mombassa?? :) .. Br Energy or Br Cavalier?

Dimples82
8th June 2017, 22:09
At Plymouth CFE Durnford St./Devonport Tech & Plymouth Polytechnic.
At the CFE I remember Graham Sargent, (covered Part 1 of the MRGC), Alan Pink (did Morse)
At the Poly, Robbie Robinson (did morse & regs), Pete Yarwood (Covered MRGC Part 2 Electronic Theory), Ted Howarth (Head of department).
DTI Radar 'Jock' Richardson
MRGC dated Oct.1973
Best Regards,
Charles Marshall

AndrewWills
4th March 2018, 15:18
I keep in touch with several R/O's and REO's from Plymouth days, and am thinking of orgainising a website to assist contact with one another.
Are there any R/O's who trained at Plymouth with lecturers Ted Howarth, Dave Miller, Alec Ward, 'Robbie' Robinson, Joe Rowe, Mitchell, Crowther, Alan Pink??

Les Edgecumbe
Devon.

….better late than never…hopefully this thread is still active.

I was at Plymouth from 1972-1975 on the MRRT course. We spent the first two years mostly at Durnford Street before moving to the new college on Kings road. The lecturers I remember are John Mitchell, Howarth and Pink from Durnford St, and then Jock Richardson for the radar course at the new CFE on Kings Rd. I guess there must have been more than just those 4, but it was an awful long time ago.
I do remember year 1 being very much an uphill struggle, but subsequent years became easier.
I’d have to admit that I have never been back there in all these years, and that is something I regret.

Andrew Wills

Dimples82
4th March 2018, 17:39
At Plymouth CFE Durnford St./Devonport Tech & Plymouth Polytechnic.
At the CFE I remember Graham Sargent, (covered Part 1 of the MRGC), Alan Pink (did Morse)
At the Poly, Robbie Robinson (did morse & regs), Pete Yarwood (Covered MRGC Part 2 Electronic Theory), Ted Howarth (Head of department).
DTI Radar 'Jock' Richardson
MRGC dated Oct.1973
Best Regards,
Charles Marshall
Things have moved on and I am now retired, All the lecturers . . they worked so hard cramming all the information into my thick head !. Sad to say I cant remember a few christian names and a few faces, other people on the course etc sorry I can't be of much help.

My first ship was P&O's Himalaya/GBDK (nice old Orient Line passenger ship) and my last ship was Sanko Lines Golden Gate Sun/S6BV an nice modern well equipped tanker, then several years in the now disbanded Merchant Navy Reserve as an REO.

In my retirement I am now working in the Library the Chelmsford Museums Sandford Mill Museum in Chelmsford, Essex which is the home of the now closed down Marconi companies (eg Marine, Comms Radar, papers, handbooks etc) for whom I worked for many years. If anyone is interested please let me know, it is good from an R/O's aspect we have 6 Radio Office exhibits, ranging from Pre Titanic days to mid 70's

I am responsible for the Radio Room Forum "Thread "Begging Letter" and another thread " Marconi Handbooks etc

Best Regards,
Charles Marshall

LucyKnight
4th March 2018, 18:04
Re the 1972 - 75 3 year MRRT course.

1972 was the first year that 3 yr course was run. Some colleges ran the MRGC alongside the MRRT eg Brunel Bristol. Some just the MRGC and some larger ones the MRRT only.

When the Sept 1972 started at Plymouth CFE Durnford St Annex close to the Royal marine barracks Stonehouse, it was the MRGC course . A short while into the first term we were told by Nr Mitchel we were now on a 3 year course.

We were split into 2 groups. One was taught by Mr Hogan and I was in his class. The other was taught by Mr Mitchell who was head of the course. Tbe 2 classes came together for morse and regs taught by Mr (Alan) Pink. The morse room was at the top of the building.The was a female Maths teacher. Also a general studies one came in to. The lab work was taken by Mr Pink down at the old Keyham Devonport dockyard tech. Think it was Friday morning for the class I was in. Spent the lunch break walking back. Also had to walk over to Old Devonport tech for typing.

The sports lectureres at Ernisettle were John Vordin and Roger Collings.

There was also an Easter intake 1972 on the MRGC taken by Graham Sargent. They were the last lot to transfer in 2nd year to the Poly Building.

I left at end of first year and transferred to Brunel Bristol.

I did however take the 6 month MEC Autumn 77 to Spring 78 at Plymouth Poly. Pete Yarwood and another lecturer who hadn't been at sea took most of the lectures, but not all.
Alec Ward who had taught there went to Redifon and then Electronics Supt at CP Ships. He was my boss when I was ER/O with CP Ships. Alec died 2002.

Bill.B
4th March 2018, 18:19
Alec Ward was at Lowestoft college before he went to Redifon. He was a good boss at CP.

Ron Stringer
4th March 2018, 19:42
Alan Pink and Pete Yarwood, (lectured at Manchester's Brooks Bar radio school in 1958/59 when I took my 2nd Class PMG) were lecturing at Plymouth Tech in 1966, when they ran a 3/4 months-long (August to December) prototype MED course, being trialled jointly by Plymouth and Marconi.

Another ex-Brooks Bar lecturer, Terry Crowther, was also involved. Terry, Pete and Alan were most amused to see me there and took delight in recalling incidents from my earlier days. Ted Howarth was steering the course but gave no lectures and Jock Robinson was involved with lectures and practical training on CCTV and other video systems.

Seems a long time ago.

LucyKnight
4th March 2018, 19:58
Alan Pink and Pete Yarwood, (lectured at Manchester's Brooks Bar radio school in 1958/59 when I took my 2nd Class PMG) were lecturing at Plymouth Tech in 1966, when they ran a 3/4 months-long (August to December) prototype MED course, being trialled jointly by Plymouth and Marconi.

Another ex-Brooks Bar lecturer, Terry Crowther, was also involved. Terry, Pete and Alan were most amused to see me there and took delight in recalling incidents from my earlier days. Ted Howarth was steering the course but gave no lectures and Jock Robinson was involved with lectures and practical training on CCTV and other video systems.

Seems a long time ago.

Ron. Around end 1971 beginning 1972, I went to career convention at Plymouth Guildhall. This, of course, was before rhe sex disc act end 1975. My parents thought I was gpung to enquire about a general engineering course. I saw this as my opportunity. I had already decided I wanted to be on rhe Radio Offs course. I had physics O level (three sciences, Maths etc so I knew I had the righr qualifucations. I went up to the college lecturere who was responsible for that course. I managed about one sentence when I told him I really wanted to go on Rad Offs one. "What are you talking to me for then and said this is rhe man you need to be talking to" He was standing next to him and was Mr MitchelI . Ihad been told be the students already on Rad Offs course that they didn't take women. He immediaty said I am taking you to the Marconi stand. He kept on at Mr Marconi man who hadn't had a chance to talk to me. Will you give her a job at end of course. Also told him "If he didn't agree to it he wouldn't take me on. Mr Marconi man didn't seem to want to answer. Mr Mitchel kept going on repeating . Mr Marconi man finally said a sort of yes and I waa then left at the Marconi stand to talk to him. Mr Marconi man then said that if he got a bad report back from a woman at sea he would treat it in a totally different way to a man getting a bad report. I took that as meaning I might not last at sea long. I ended up directly employed by Shell and then CP Ships.

Who was Mr Marconi man likely to have been?

I got absolute hell off my fatber for going down rhat path behind his back. He woyld let me start on the Easter intake which I wanted to.

Ron Stringer
4th March 2018, 20:17
Who was Mr Marconi man likely to have been?

Sorry Lucy, that was almost 50 years ago and my involvement with the Marconi Personnel Department in those days was very limited. I believe that the head of the department would have still been a chap called Paul Lintzgy but radio officers became the responsibility of Robin Seaton around that time, taking over from Les Weatherhead (ex-Siemens) who was an absolute gentleman. Certainly later in the 70s, Robin was the link man for all the radio colleges - his trips to Limerick were infamous for the consumption of booze and the fishing on the Shannon. Robin was quite a smoothie (especially with the ladies), so I don't think he or Les would have treated you in an off-hand manner.

Whether or not one of them would have been at the Plymouth Guildhall do is anyone's guess. Robin had a sidekick, a Hull man, called Tom Bridges who used to be delegated to deal with the less prestigious affairs. Tom could be very brusque.

Dimples82
4th March 2018, 21:14
Dear Lucy,
Thank you for getting back to me. It sounds as if had a road to your ticket was an adventure similar to mine.
As you guessed, I was part of Graham Sargent's class (I had previously been at The Wireless College, in Colwyn Bay but they closed, and I was lucky enough to be accepted at Plymouth). For the first year I stayed in the R/O's Hostel in Houndiscoumbe Road, then I went into digs in Lypson Vale for the rest of my time there.
I was very lucky. Graham Sargent and Peter Yarwood were the best lecturers I have ever had. All they wanted you to do was your best, and they would look after you. They took us to ticket level and most of us took C&G exams as well, and more over the subjects were so well drilled in they stood you in good stead for a life in electronics, I eventually went into Avionics Development with Plessey & Marconi etc. I ended up in thermal imaging & signal processing !
Best Regard
Charles

LucyKnight
4th March 2018, 21:22
Dear Lucy,
Thank you for getting back to me. It sounds as if had a road to your ticket was an adventure similar to mine.
As you guessed, I was part of Graham Sargent's class (I had previously been at The Wireless College, in Colwyn Bay but they closed, and I was lucky enough to be accepted at Plymouth). For the first year I stayed in the R/O's Hostel in Houndiscoumbe Road, then I went into digs in Lypson Vale for the rest of my time there.
I was very lucky. Graham Sargent and Peter Yarwood were the best lecturers I have ever had. All they wanted you to do was your best, and they would look after you. They took us to ticket level and most of us took C&G exams as well, and more over the subjects were so well drilled in they stood you in good stead for a life in electronics, I eventually went into Avionics Development with Plessey & Marconi etc. I ended up in thermal imaging & signal processing !
Best Regard
Charles

I thought I had placed you, but you didn't mention Colwyn Bay college before. I rember one of the lads on your intake saying you had been at Colwyn Bay, but it closed and you transferred. You were tall and wore glasses from what I remember. I was on an A level course at CFE when you were in your 2nd year based at the Poly. I knew Dave Hirens and also Taffi and another one called Robin who worked later as ER/O for CP ships. It was because of your intake that I found out about the radio course, but told they didn't take woman.

Cheers

Lucy

Dimples82
4th March 2018, 21:40
Dear Lucy
You have described me well, add to the description well rounded and grey haired and married for 44 years to the same Lady.

Not taking women for training. . . I did not know that, I know Colwyn Bay (did you know Dallas Bradshaw ?) and Fleetwood took Lady's very successfully, I did not know they were so prejudice at Plymouth.

I worked with Lady Ex R/O when I was with Marconi, and she was a dammed good electronic engineer and Project Manager; not a Degree PM who only understood how to stamp her foot and manipulate spread sheets who did not understand "why and when ask for a solution" mumble into her coffee.

Best regards,
Charles

P.Arnold
5th March 2018, 10:29
I was on the MEC course at Plymouth Poly 73-74.
I remember the names of Yarwood and Howarth.
There were about 12 on the course.
The Marconi guys did 6 months sitting the C&G certs to get the MEC.
The other lads from BP and others did 3 months.
It was during the 3 day week, with brown outs etc, but the poly escaped those inconveniences.
I stayed at a B&B in Lipson Road, within easy walking of the college, passed the ‘Woodside’ pub, which had frequent ‘lock ins’ with illumination by candlelight.
I remember being on about £180 a month at the start of the course and being on £330 or something at the end, what with the seaman’s strike (and others) and the RPI escalation and the introduction of petrol rationing coupons in the event of fuel shortage.
I can remember those things but not much of what I learnt on the course.

Much the same today, memory, that is.

P.Arnold
5th March 2018, 10:52
Forgot, the lunch times at the Good Companions and the Friday night swills at ‘Ronnies’ , near Mayflower steps. No wonder cannot remember much!!.
Yes, I remember we did colour TV, and FM broadcast was being introduced nationally.

There is still hope.

Peter

Dimples82
5th March 2018, 13:11
Peter, Hi,
Yes, much of your email jells, I remember the Good Companions, I was a common or garden student and was paid for by my Mum & Dad. I got tuition, but had to stump up for everything else. Only when I had my ticket did P&O offer me a job and start earning.
I remember the Holiday Inn on the Hoe, they used to do a 'bottom less Coffee Pot, used to write letters (remember them ?) to Mum & Dad plus other relatives & girl friend at Exeter University, phone calls from Plymouth to Chelmsford were expensive; on £20.00/month lunch & pocket money. My digs were not far from you, I was in Lipson Hill Terrace, about half way up the hill near the phone box, and my landlord was a master butcher at Dewhursts (I have never tasted such good stakes as those he used to bring home).
Best regards,
Charles

Ron Stringer
5th March 2018, 15:34
... used to write letters (remember them ?) to Mum & Dad plus other relatives & girl friend at Exeter University, phone calls from Plymouth to Chelmsford were expensive;

Re the cost of phone calls: While at Plymouth Tech in 1964 my girl friend (now my wife) was a nursing sister at Wembley General Hospital - used to get the international footballers and the speedway riders in following accidents (no team doctors and Harley Street consultants for footballers on 20 quid a week). As you say for the first week or two I found it very expensive to keep in touch by phone.

Then one evening we were all on our way to Union Street and I phoned her from a call box in the town centre shopping area, just near to Ivor Dewdneys pasty shop. I put in a shilling and called her and after, about 5 minutes or so, realised that the pips hadn't sounded to ask for further money. Not after 10 minutes, nor 20. Then my mates came and said that if I didn't come out of the phone box, they would put a rope round it so that I couldn't.

I was in Plymouth for several months and that phone was never fixed, needing just a minimum payment to allow the call to be connected but never disconnecting until you put the handset down on the rest. I must have defrauded the GPO of many pounds during that time. Of course I shared the good news with all my mates on the course.

P.Arnold
5th March 2018, 15:34
Hi Charles
I think it was the same phone box I used to use to call my Mum. Not the one you used Ron.
Our landlord was RAF cook in the NAAFI, no ambition, aptitude or flipping initiative, he used to say. But the food was good
Lodgings with B & B plus evening meals was £11 a week, considered very expensive when we went to student union for what accommodation was available. On the other hand we were on £18 a week out of pocket ex’s. I thought we did well.

Peter

Somebody will shoot me down in flames!

LucyKnight
5th March 2018, 17:48
I believe that Terry used to live up Tavistock way, but I can't be sure of that. (Intermittent fault in the memory stack.)

Yelverton actually.

Dimples82
5th March 2018, 18:24
Peter, Hi,
A 'small world' it is, my digs were about £8.50'ish. for half board. Mr & Mrs Joyce my landlords, they were Plymothians through and through (even supporting Argyle). If you could get Mrs Joyce and her sisters talking about the war and childrens parties in Devonport Dockyard it became a very entertaining evening. I was very lucky.
Best regards,
Charles

LucyKnight
5th March 2018, 22:27
The pub Good Companions has been mentioned.

To keep you up to date on Good Companions pub click on labels below.

First G.C. was boarded up. See below

http://www.closedpubs.co.uk/devon/plymouth_goodcompanions.html

Then demolished

This is all that is left of a popular city centre pub - Plymouth Herald

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/left-popular-city-centre-pub-715099

Dimples82
6th March 2018, 08:58
Lucy, Hi,
Your news is sad, still, at least the site was used well, an extension to the University . . . . its better than some I can think of like another Boots, Debenhams or Asda.
Best Regards,
Charles

LucyKnight
6th March 2018, 09:16
7I….better late than never…hopefully this thread is still active.

I was at Plymouth from 1972-1975 on the MRRT course. We spent the first two years mostly at Durnford Street before moving to the new college on Kings road. The lecturers I remember are John Mitchell, Howarth and Pink from Durnford St, and then Jock Richardson for the radar course at the new CFE on Kings Rd. I guess there must have been more than just those 4, but it was an awful long time ago.
I do remember year 1 being very much an uphill struggle, but subsequent years became easier.
I’d have to admit that I have never been back there in all these years, and that is something I regret.

Andrew Wills


Plymouth looks completely different now. Even Durnford St. Traffic calming etc.

The City Centre is one huge student campus. Over 30,O00 students at Uni a couple of years ago, plus Art college, City college (was CFE one Devonport), Marjon teacher training college. All the old Poly area built on and many high rise studrnt acvomodation block in the City centre area. They never stop building new high rise student blocks on any site nearby.

North Hill heading up to Mutley Plain has many clubs open to 5am

The road along Milbay docks you may rememver walking along to and from Durnford St again looks completely different. Many high rise flats.

I remember your name and thunk I can place you. I think you were in Mr Mitchell's class. I was in Mr Hogans. The two parallel classes joined up for morse.

I decided 2 days before the 2nd year started, with a heavy heart, not to return. I had just returned from back packing around Europe. inuding Interrail.

I had had quite enough of the constant verbal bullying at Durnford Street, usually extremely sexist, very personal and insulting
It happened regularly before classes started in the classroom and also in basement used for coffee breaks and lunchtimes. One main ring leader in the class was the top bully tesponsible and it provided cheap entertainment for many (not all) of the others.

I had a real battle to transfer to Brunel college Bristol and took 5 weeks of daily phone calls to education authority. Mr Mitchellwouldn't give me permisdion to transfer and education authority wouldn't go along with the transfer unless he agreed. Brunel college Bristol were willing to have me. 5 weeks later they said either get up there or they wouldn't have me. The education authority then after daily phone calls agreed. I started 5 weeks late with no accomodation for the 2nd year. I can't say I have any happy memories of Durnford St.
Lucy

However the lecturers I would really like to thank were John Vorden and Roger Collings, the Sport lecturers. John really encluraged me to get into water sports. I took gold survucal swimming, life saving classes, sub aqua pool trainng and lectures Firt Boveysand, sailing under Tanar Bridge on Sat mornings, canoing and a bit if caving tbrown in. I had to keep my sanity somehow. I went along with the lads to play football once on the coach to Ernisettle. It wasn't a success. Mr Mitchell gave me the choice after tbat once of carrying on with football on spending Wednesday afternoon doing extra morse. I chose tbe latter and soon Ian S joined me for extra morse too. I don't think Mr Mitchell trusted me for not disapoearing off for tbe afternoon. I thinkk that is why he found me some company.

I asked for one Wed aft off to take gold survival swimming exam up at Cenral Pk with some nav and eng cadets etc. He agreed. He then found out how much water sports I was doing and went ballistic.

Dimples82
6th March 2018, 10:30
Lucy, Hi,
I must admit, Mr Mitchell was not my favourite, for some reason he and I did not hit it off (I mentioned this to my Dad during my weekly phone home) my Dad without my knowledge phoned Mr Mitchell to ask what the problem was (sin of sins), and as a result Mr. Mitchell wanted to throw me off the course. I found out about this only because the Owner of the R/O's Hostel in Houndiscoumbe Road went into bat for me and helped; he told me what had happened when the dust had settled. After that, I never spoke to Mr. Mitchell, and only when I had to in class, I did not respect him and kept well clear of him.
Best Regards,
Charles

AndrewWills
6th March 2018, 10:30
Hi Lucy, thanks for your response. You are correct, I was in Mr Mitchell’s class, and I do remember you. It saddens me to hear that you had such a torrid time back then, but I do remember the 1st year being particularly tough. I remember the R/O lodgings on Mutley?? plain, 4 of us to a room and I think that there was only the one shower between around 10-12 students, that was awful.

It sounds like the Plymouth I knew back in ’75 has completely disappeared. I did return there for a long weekend back in ’80 or ’81 but it sounds like it would be unrecognisable to me now. Maybe I’ll get back there sometime.

I left the sea back in ’79 with the intention of going back after a year or so. I wanted to get some real technical experience and some industry recognised qualification so went to work at GCHQ, fully intending to go back to sea. Things were good ashore, I moved onto more and more interesting things, memories fade as did the desire to be afloat so I never went back. It was great fun while it lasted.

Thanks again,
Andrew

LucyKnight
6th March 2018, 10:39
Hi Charles. I remember one on your course R.D. later telling me that he had chucked it in in the first year and later went back. He kept saying "God was good to me and he let me go back". He didn't strike me as a "bible basher type". I soon realised "God" was his name for Mr Mitchell.

Cheers
Lucy

Dimples82
6th March 2018, 12:08
Lucy, Hi,
Perhaps Mr Mitchell had a good side. You never know.
Best regards,
Charles

LucyKnight
6th March 2018, 12:15
One staff member not mentioned at Durnford St was the cleaner who served coffee and biscuits from the booth in the basement room. She lived up the road and was called Mrs T. I think her real name was Mrs Thompson.


She was none to complimentary about Mr M either.

Dimples82
6th March 2018, 20:21
Lucy, Hi,
Do you have any contact details for John Methuan, he left at the end of the 1st year and became a Policeman ?
Best Regards
Charles

LucyKnight
7th March 2018, 00:24
Lucy, Hi,
Do you have any contact details for John Methuan, he left at the end of the 1st year and became a Policeman ?
Best Regards
Charles

Can't say I know the name actually.

Glad he went down path of honest living though. I transferred Bristol 2nd year. One day about six months later the landlord arrived Sat morning and put chains on all four of the four bay windows facing Windor Road, so they could only open a few inches.

I then found out that the previous rad course student who had been tenant in my bedsit was inside Gloucester prison. He had told another con in Gloucester Nic that he was going to break in my bedsit when he got out. He had been on lst year Rad Offs course. The end result was he and another student had tea leafed televisions from store on nearby Gloucester Rd. He and other the other radio student had an enthusiasm for televisions, radios etc and it obviously wasn't just a healthy interest. It did wonders re my sleep at night.

Do you have any contact details for Dave Hirens. Very nice man

Last saw him Summer 75 just before my 6 and half month trip on S.S. Mangelia, Shell supertanker. He was on your intake and joined P and O like yourself. His came from Heybrook Bay near Plymourh. A few years before when he was on R/Os course he used to take me up to Plume of Feathers folk singing nights. He treated me well. Real gentleman.

Lucy

Dimples82
7th March 2018, 10:41
Lucy, Hi,
Thanks for your response, John was a good friend (many a happy lunch time 'Oggi at the Crimel Ferry Cafe and a toddle up to Devils Point or half in the 'Grapes' ), after he left the course and I believe becoming a Copper lost track of him.
As to Dave Hirens, sorry I can not remember him, if I get a find out in the mean time I will pass his details on to you.
Best Regards,
Charles