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Alan

From memory can you remember the names? I last saw Arthur Orum in June 1965 when he oversaw the refit of part of Magdapur's radio room when she was dry-docked at Smith's in North Shields. From memory he died either late 65 or early 66. A great bloke to work with.

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John
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
At the back, Bill Curry, Ken Fawcett, Angus MacDonald, Mike Norton and Dennis Williamson. Guy at the front, absolutely no idea! but their admin/receptionist - was she Marie or Maria or something?
 

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Alan
Any idea when the photograph was take.. The chief radio Super when I was employed by Brocklebanks in 1963 was Ben Lonsdale. The pecking order after him was Arthur Oram and Gordon Caddy. Sadly due to the loss of "Zee little grey cells" I do not recognise the male figure sitting down.

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John
 

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Every time Ken Fawcett came down to work on or visit a Brock's ship on the UK coast that I was on he would always take me out to dinner and pick up the entire tab. Evidently Cunard passed down an edict that Senior Radio Officers (on passenger ships) were entitled to a chow-down on company expense. I think it was Bill Curry who put the question to Southampton "Does that include the 'Senior' Radio Officers on cargo ships as well?". A Senior RO is a Senior RO whatever the ship is, so Southampton office couldn't back down. Great- I loved it.

Another bit of useless info. was that Gordon Caddy did not like dogs. I did a 6 month spell in Riversdale in '77 taking my City & Guilds Marine Electronics cert. and was on occasion called into the office to have my brain cell picked about some subject or other. I was staying at the MN hotel up the hill from the cathedral (remember the Philharmonic pub with arguably the countries most elaborate gent's toilet?). Anyway, I was in the habit of taking the hotel managers dog for a walk when I got back from college and I continued the habit when summoned down to the office at the Pier Head. Whenever I appeared with the dog (can't remember her name, but she was a black Labrador). Gordon would not only refuse to come out of his office, but actually shut the door! I guess he must have had a bad experience with dogs as a child!

malcolm
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
John - I can't be any more accurate than, say, mid 70's. I had completely forgotten about dear old Gordon Caddy - wherever he is, I'm sure he'll forgive me....
 

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Radio and Electronic Services

John Leary said:
Alan
Any idea when the photograph was take.. The chief radio Super when I was employed by Brocklebanks in 1963 was Ben Lonsdale. The pecking order after him was Arthur Oram and Gordon Caddy. Sadly due to the loss of "Zee little grey cells" I do not recognise the male figure sitting down.

John, my father was Ben Lonsdale and he dead in 1969 during the Winter of discontent
Alan Lonsdale
 

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Cunarder said:
A classic - just a pity Arthur Orum isn't in shot to complete the picture

Alan Marsden
Hello Alan,
Arthur Orum! Now theres a name from the past. I remember him as a large, lovely man and genial (funny that...I was told his Dad was an Icelander).
I wrote to him from the Marwarri with comments about my difficulties with that ship, which had the worst of reputations for rolling in swell (the pointer of the inclinometer or whatever it was called would sometimes be hitting the stops). The Marwarri had known a bad time, it spent 6 months on the seabed of the Bristol Channel having been the first ship to hit a magnetic mine. She was lifted and patched up, ships being in short supply at the time. Anyway she had her problems one of which caused me some difficulty.
In large seas the corner of the aft and starboard bulkheads of the wireless room would open up as she rolled, open up about an inch (I'm not overstating this... sometimes the stars could be seen through the gap). In the monsoons the water would come in and I would be bailing it out of the motor cupboard.

So after that trip I went on leave and expected a welding job to be done. When I got back ready for my next deep sea trip I was appalled to find things were the same. The day we sailed Arthur called on me and gave me a stirrup pump! It's true! And when I needed it in the tropics I found it did'nt work. To be fair to Arthur he probably thought I was making a fuss about nothing, in the light airs of Birkenhead dock he would not be able to see the gap open and close. Seriously though I was concerned, the lead cable runs in the motor cupboard were coated with green mould.

I'd also written from Calcutta and complained about the emergency receiver. It was a peculiar thing built from excessively large components in a wooden box with a couple of knobs and a couple of dials, painted grey and with the title "Brocklebank 1940". It was a "TRF" set, I used to fiddle with the quench controls and mostly got squeals and warbles and considered it useless. The day Arthur brought the stirrup pump I asked him about it. He said "during the war after we'd been torpedoed or were otherwise waiting for a ship, we were put in a shed on the dockside here and told to build receivers. That's one of them, that's why its called the '1940'; we found them fine, we could work the Panama Canal from the Bay of Bengal with them. My reply was to the effect that I could well believe it possible when most shipping was in radio silence, but the wavebands were now crammed with traffic and the Yanks were stuffing a kilowatt of power into their aerials whilst we had just a tenth of that. But he did send me 100 yards of lead covered cable so that I could rewire the wireless room at my leisure in Calcutta.
Even so I have fond memories of him, he did his best for us on what must have been a tight budget. Out of all the faces, Arthur's stands out with the clearest of them.
From my Brocklebanks experience I learned to become self reliant and innovative which would stand me well in my future life in TV studios.
 

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hello Derek,
I don't recall that name... mind you, some mornings I don't recall my own.
Just now I recall the 1st mate of the Marwarri was Bill Milne from Drumnadrochit
(I called into the post office there a few years ago and asked about him, the lady gave a knowing look and said he had gone to South Africa). My cabin was opposite Bill's and one day in bad weather a crate of his Tennants came crashing
through the door out of his office, sat on the crate was a very scared ships cat called "Jool Wallah". The Captain was Bill? Saxty who had come up from the deck and was a fine seaman; the pilot did not arrive once in Trincomalee but Saxty took us out without him, the water was very clear and I could see the scuttled ships which littered the channel, Captain Saxty seemed to be enjoying himself. In Trincomalee the agent took Bill Milne off to "shoot leopards" in the jungle at night, they spent the night on top of a war time fuel tank with bottles of whisky. The only thing they bagged was an unfortunate owl.
We had an amazing carpenter called Gustav, (he was Dutch), a really lovable rogue, he seemed to attract the police, I could write a book about his exploits.
We had an engineer from Carlisle, he annoyed someone so much that the chap tried to get at him by chopping down his cabin door with a fire axe.
The Purser was Pete Boggon, he was a very good feeder. But that's enough for now.
Altogether the Marwarri was an entertaining old thing.

Harry
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Harry

Thanks for the story. I have very limited memories of Arthur apart from the fact that he interviewed me for my job with T&J's in 1968. Like you, I recall him as a larger than life person - the interview being more about the wonders I was about to have revealed to me as an employee of Brocklebanks rather than about my capabilities to fulfill the requirements! I believe that it wasn't much after this time that Angus assumed the mantle of Chief Poo-Bah....

Derek, I sailed with Harry Jefferson in later years on the passenger ships. Have posted some pix of him in this forum too somewhere. Let me know if you can't find them....

Cheers
Alan Marsden
 

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Dear John thank you for your very kind P.M. concerning my father Ben Lonsdale he was slightly "ashamed" of me as I had a short stint with Elder Dempster Line.
Once again thanks.
Alan Lonsdale
 

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Radio and Electronic Services

I recently purchased a Lloyds List International that celebrated the 150th anniversary of Cunard. Although I cannot find any publishing date I thinks this must have been produced in 1990. One article is of particular interest to me because it reports that the new trading name for Radio and Electronic Services was Marinet Systems. A name search on Google shows that Marinet System is trading from a Liverpool address but it also seems to be the case that it was taken over by an American Corporation Globe Wireless in 1999. The article reports that “Radio and Electronic Services was set up in the early 1970’s to provide services to other shipping companies. Radio Officers were provided for the off-shore oil companies and automation services to a wide range of shipping companies”

The Manager of the organisation at the time of article was Angus Macdonald.

I was wondering if any SN member is able to throw further light on the topic of the development of the company and its survival beyond the demise of the radio officer. I for one am delighted that it has adapted and survives to the present day .

Finally can I wish a very Merry Christmas to all SN members and particularly to all of you ex-Radio Officers out there.

John
 

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Think I must have been on the Marwarri the same time as you. Captain (Cyclone) Saxty, Gus Loedwik (with motor cycle), Bill Milne etc. Also Les Flockhart (Purser). Do you remember Pete Fuller 5th Engineer, I am trying to locate him.
Tony Greenwood (Apprentice & 4th Officer).
 

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Harry Nicholson mentions Purser Pete Boggon. Well Harry you will be glad to know that Pete is still going strong down in Perth, Oz, and attended a small Elder Dempster reunion there a couple of months back.

Derek
 

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A.G.Greenwood said:
Think I must have been on the Marwarri the same time as you. Captain (Cyclone) Saxty, Gus Loedwik (with motor cycle), Bill Milne etc. Also Les Flockhart (Purser). Do you remember Pete Fuller 5th Engineer, I am trying to locate him.
Tony Greenwood (Apprentice & 4th Officer).
Well! This site is amazing and to think I almost packed it in! Anyway Tony, I'm raking around in what remnants of memory I have and trying to place you, any chance of a photo? I really value your post though, you have given me the surname of Gus Loedwig which is marvellous. Among all those I sailed with he stands out with his huge presence, a lovable and loyal rogue who made a staunch friend. Which Marwarri trip were you on, May-Nov 1960 or Dec60- April 61 ? On the first one my wife was with us as supernumery, the Purser was Pete Boggon, that was the trip when the Calcutta chandlers made our ship a gift of masses of bonded alcohol with decomposed labels out of a bonded store (been there for years). Gus was captured by the Madras customs lowering a load of it into a bum boat. We went home via the States, Savannah first. I recall that Gus had a motorbike with him and would drive around Calcutta on it, one day a plump lady of Calcutta riding pillion bounced off and landed in the grass on the Maidan.
Second trip Gus had his arm in a sling much of the time and was sent home from Calcutta on another ship I think. When we arrived in Liverpool he met us at the quayside with a new motor cycle and side car (wife sat inside) painted in Brocklebanks colours. On that second trip the Super flew out from UK and stopped the chipping of the hull in Kidderpore Dock, Marwarri was so rotten the chipping hammers were going through the bows. We had some new plates affixed and they sent us home, the bunkers were oozing through and down the plates! As she had been mined and sunk during the war I was beginning to lose confidence in her. On the way through the Med a freak wave hit us and set the windlass back three inches and we took a lot of water into the forward hold among 300 tons of Sudanese cotton... which was a bit of a worry. The masts whipped and my aerials came down, I fell out of my chair in the radio room and hurt a finger which troubled me for a good few years afterwards.
Bill Milne was the 1st mate (from Drumnadrochit) and Capt Saxty in charge on both trips. Capt Saxty for me is the 'bearer of the archetype' of the sea captain. Gus the carpenter does not fit any human type I've met before or since, he was unique.
Anyway which of those trips were you on the Marwarri... remind me please.
I would like to be prompted about Les Flockhart the purser... I can't seem to recall his face. On the first trip a Colin was 4th eng. a Jeff was chief eng, and Brian the 5th. The 2nd mate was also Colin. These are from photo's, I dont have surnames (do you?)
Anyway which of those trips were you on?
 

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eldersuk said:
Harry Nicholson mentions Purser Pete Boggon. Well Harry you will be glad to know that Pete is still going strong down in Perth, Oz, and attended a small Elder Dempster reunion there a couple of months back.

Derek
Hello Derek,
Thats great to hear, I often wonder where he is and have imagined him running some fine pub and restaurant in a posh part of Cheshire. So he is in Perth WA! Its amazing how everyone has dispersed around the globe.
Have you some way of sending Pete the warmest regards of myself and Beryl (my wife who did a trip with us on Marwarri)?.
 
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