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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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?”