MVA Newsletter 2019 – Edition number 21

Please click on the title MVA Newsletter 2019 above to open the full document with the index and on any picture in this newsletter to open a larger image.

Peter Turrall, Chairman Marconi Veterans Association

One hundred and twenty years ago in Chelmsford, Guglielmo Marconi established the world’s first wireless factory. From a small unit just outside the city centre around thirty employees manufactured products which eventually were sold worldwide, establishing communications in the widest sense to assist shipping and contacts by wireless communication, thus opening up a system where day-to-day contacts were possible.
Chelmsford became a centre of attention for many countries who wished to take advantage of this new means of communication having only previously had sthe telephone for this purpose. It was not long before Marconi’s Wireless and Telegraph Company found larger premises near the centre of Chelmsford and eventually over a period of one hundred years employed many thousands of people.

Chelmsford should be proud that an Italian, who became an absolute academic engineering genius, set up the largest wireless company in the world giving large scale employment to citizens in and around the city of Chelmsford

In 1920 the company’s Wireless Station known as 2LO, based in London with all equipment manufactured in Chelmsford, was taken over by the British Government to form the United Kingdom’s first broadcast organisation known as British Broadcasting Company and later renamed British Broadcasting Corporation. Not only all the Marconi equipment but also the Marconi staff of Station 2LO came under the direction of the new organisation affectionately known as the BBC.

Chelmsford City Council has failed to recognise the asset this city has. The statue of Guglielmo Marconi, erected a few years ago and sponsored by a number of organisations including the City Council, is hidden behind the bus station – an insult to this great man.
Coming into the City of Chelmsford, there are signs at every point of entry stating ‘Chelmsford the Birthplace of Radio’. Many times the City Council has been advised that the word ‘Radio’ should read ‘Wireless’ as Marconi named his organisation Marconi’s Wireless and Telegraph Company. Marconi in Chelmsford did not make radios as the signs suggest.

In giving recognition and respect to one of the world’s great engineers, Chelmsford City Council should re-erect the statue in the centre of Chelmsford in Half Moon Square and amend all entry signs accordingly.

In Memoriam

We regret to report the deaths of the following Veterans and extend our sympathy to the families of those mentioned.

Robert (Bob) Adams1957
Harold J Barker MBE1936
I W Bendall1964
W E (Bill) Blakemore1960
Robin (Robbie) Boram1948
Derek J L Brown1957
Barry Christopher Bruce1966
John D S Clarke1960
S E Clarke1946
Anthony (Tony) D Condon1956
Peter J Eves1946
E H Gildersleve1949
Geoff Harris1948
Douglas W Hills1939
Dennis B Huber1964
Gerald R (Gerry) Jinman1941
J M (Mike) Leadbeater1968
Michael (Mike) F Macken1968
Albert Victor George (Vic) Martin1943
E D (Ted) Overy1967
Anthony Alan Parks1966
John G Pickering1959
Alfred (Alf) Porter1954
John V Simpson1969
Arthur D Stevens1952
K Watkins1949
Fred Wilde1958

This list was correct on 18 March 2019 and supersedes the list published on 14 January 2019

We have intentionally kept this page as simple as possible and provide minimal details of the deceased.  However, where we have biographical details of a person and/or funeral details these will be published under the Notices tab above.

At the request of some Veterans we have included Given names where these are known to us.

Reunion 2019 – an invitation from our secretary

Secretary: Veteran Colin Fletcher
41 Sunrise Avenue
Chelmsford
Essex
CM1 4JN
Direct Dial: 01245 267696
February 2019 E-mail : Secretary@marconi-veterans.org

 

Dear Veterans & Friends

First, let me wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2019.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all new members and friends to the Association and hope to see them at the Annual Reunion, which will be held on Saturday 6tht April 2019 and will be our 83rd Reunion. The venue will, as usual, be Hampton Sports & Leisure (ex-Marconi Club), Beehive Lane, Chelmsford, where there is ample parking for those who travel by road. The Member’s Bar is to the left as you enter the Club and will open at 11.00 a.m.

Whilst Friends are invited to the Reunion and Luncheon and are welcome to remain for the AGM, you are asked not to participate in the AGM discussions unless invited to do so. Friends are not eligible to vote. On the very rare occasions that a sensitive subject is to be discussed, you may be asked to leave the Hall for the duration of that discussion.

There will be various displays and the merchandise table will, again, be located in the hall. You will have plenty of time to enjoy meeting up with other attendees until it is time to take your seats for the luncheon.  This will take place, as usual, at 1.00 p.m. with the Annual General Meeting and the Raffle concluding the proceedings. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to ring me on the above number.

We are, again, producing a commemorative Coaster and one per person is included in the ticket price.  There will also be additional coasters, for sale, plus some coasters from previous years.

Our President for 2019 is Veteran John Bower, ex Manufacturing Manager, Mobile Radio

Joining the Reunion as our Honoured Guest is Albert Smith, a college friend of John Bower.

This year, we have returned to the Standard menu: –

Brussels Pate with Melba Toast and a Caramelised Onion Chutney
Chicken Wellington stuffed with Sage and Onion
Pear and Blackberry Crumble with a Pistachio topping
Cheese & Biscuits, Tea or Coffee

We appreciate that some attendees may have special dietary requirements and would request that you indicate this on your application. We are able to cater for most requirements.

As happened last year, Friends are now invited to the Reunion.  Veterans will continue to benefit from a reduced price – this year £28 – whereas Friends will be asked to pay £33. I am sure that you will agree that this is excellent value for a four-course meal with tea/coffee and wine. Subscriptions will remain for Veterans at £6.00 per annum and £3.00 for Friends. As the Association has a very limited income, and in order to keep our expenses to a minimum, receipts for Subscriptions and/or Donations will not be issued unless requested so we thank you in anticipation.

Those who wish to attend are requested to apply to the above address at the earliest possible date but not later than Friday 22nd March. We regret having to set this tight deadline but it is necessary to enable the caterers to source the ingredients for our meal. To reduce administration, please combine your ticket price, subscription, etc. onto a single cheque which should be made payable to ‘Marconi Veterans’ Association’.

Please note that it is not acceptable for attendees to bring their own drink or food into the Club. Please refrain from this practice as anyone doing so may be asked to leave the Reunion and could be refused a ticket in the future.  As last year, additional drinks can be purchased from the bar.

We often hear comments that members would come to the Reunion but are afraid that they “would not know anyone on their table” or that “the speeches are long winded and boring”. If you feel this way, please read the article in this year’s Newsletter, speak to a Veteran or Friend who does attend or give me a ring. Then, if you’re still not decided, try it – if it really isn’t your ‘thing’ then there is no obligation to come again.

Your assistance is requested with the seating arrangements and we ask you to indicate, on your application, with which Company you would prefer to sit (i.e. Comms, Mobile, Radar, Baddow, Basildon, Marine, MI).

We continue to compile a list of forenames and nicknames in an effort to make the various lists less formal and enable people to distinguish between Colleagues with similar initials.  With regard to the name tags, last year’s arrangements seemed to work quite well so we will, again, produce the name tags on A4 sheets which will be at the merchandise table so you can collect your label as you enter the Hall.  When you order your ticket, please indicate, in the box provided, how you would like your tag to read.  Please note that THE DEFAULT WILL BE TO PRINT YOUR NAME AS IT APPEARS ON THE FIRST LINE OF YOUR ADDRESS LABEL.

So please fill in the spaces on the Subscription/Ticket application form.

We are, as usual, inviting entries for the ‘Absent Friends’ book, containing messages from Veterans or Friends who were unable to attend.  Two copies will be produced and prominently displayed at the Reunion.  If you wish to place a message in the book, please use the space provided on the enclosed form. Entries will be identified by name but no contact details will be provided unless you include them within the message area.

Your Committee is prepared to receive any nominations, propositions or suggestions from Veterans for submission to the Annual General Meeting providing they reach me in writing by 22nd March 2019.

We now have over 70 ‘Friends of the Marconi Veterans’ Association’ and would be pleased to welcome more. If you know of anyone who would like to attend the Reunion, or just receive the newsletter, please urge them to contact me, at the above address, as soon as possible.

I am often not informed when a Veteran or Friend dies, and in these circumstances, I would like to extend my condolences to members of the families who receive this letter and apologise for any distress or inconvenience caused.  Should you be aware of any Veterans or Friends who have passed away recently, I would appreciate it if you would let me know so that I can amend our records and avoid any embarrassment.

As announced previously, Barry Powell has stepped down as Secretary and passed the baton to me. Hopefully the changeover will be smooth and seamless. Fortunately, Barry remains ever available to offer good sound advice and ‘nudge’ me in the right direction. We are indeed fortunate to have Barry.

We trust that you will accept this letter as a very cordial invitation to attend the Eighty-Third Reunion, but if, for any reason, you cannot be with us, the Committee would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best of luck and good health for the future.

Finally, the 2020 Reunion will be on Saturday 25th April

I look forward to seeing you at the Reunion.

With kindest regards

Yours sincerely

Veteran Colin Fletcher

Secretary

For a copy of the Subscription/Ticket application Veterans form for downloading and printing please CLICK HERE.

For a copy of the Subscription/Ticket application Friends form for downloading and printing please CLICK HERE.

We regret we are no yet able to accept electronic payments.

In Memoriam

We regret to report the deaths of the following Veterans and extend our sympathy to the families of those mentioned.

Keith Chittenden1955
Mike Field1961
Derek Sizeman1944
Ray Walls1946

This list was correct on 14 January 2019 and supersedes the list published on 5 December 2018

We have intentionally kept this page as simple as possible and provide minimal details of the deceased.  However, where we have biographical details of a person and/or funeral details these will be published under the Notices tab above.

At the request of some Veterans we have included Given names where these are known to us.

Keith Chittenden

Keith Chittenden, Managing Director of Marconi Radar Systems at the time of his retirement, passed away on Saturday 12th January aged 84.  He is survived by his wife Sylvia, his daughter Sandra and his son Jeremy.

Keith was born at Ipswich in 1934 and was educated at Hymers College Hull, Nottingham High School, and Imperial College, University of London, where he gained a BSc Honours degree.

In 1955 he joined Elliott Bros., Borehamwood, starting as an engineer and progressing to Senior Engineer and Project Leader.  In 1962 he transferred to Elliott Space and Weapon Automation Systems, Frimley, Surrey, which was later absorbed into Marconi Space and Defence Systems, becoming Assistant Chief Engineer and then Project Manager DN181 ‘Blindfire’ Radar development. After several years as Divisional Manager, Radar and Missile Systems Division, he was appointed Deputy General Manager in 1978 and General Manager in 1981.

He was appointed Managing Director at Marconi Radar Systems at Chelmsford from 1982 until his retirement towards the end of the decade in about 1987.

An article written by Keith is included in the MVA Newsletter for 2009 at http://www.marconi-veterans.org/?p=490&page=22

A service commemorating his life will be held at Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton at 2pm on Tuesday 29th January.

In Memoriam

We regret to report the deaths of the following Veterans and extend our sympathy to the families of those mentioned.

D C Bloomfield1967
Alan Camp1959
K F Kippen1950
K W Hawthorne1953
Ron Mills1949

This list was correct on 5 December 2018 and supersedes the list published on 24 September 2018

We have intentionally kept this page as simple as possible and provide minimal details of the deceased.  However, where we have biographical details of a person and/or funeral details these will be published under the Notices tab above.

At the request of some Veterans we have included Given names where these are known to us.

In Memoriam

We regret to report the deaths of the following Veterans and extend our sympathy to the families of those mentioned.

Stan Atkins1967
Paul Baird1964
Peter Chapman1953
Arnold Clegg1953
Prof. Bernard de Neumann1961
Basil Francis1939
John Marrs1973
D K Marshall1954
Miss Pam Reynolds1960
Graham Sefton1959
R Sleet1942

This list was correct on  24 September 2018 and supersedes the list published on 19 March 2018

We have intentionally kept this page as simple as possible and provide minimal details of the deceased.  However, where we have biographical details of a person and/or funeral details these will be published under the Notices tab above.

At the request of some Veterans we have included Given names where these are known to us.

Norman Day

On the 4th June 2018, Norman Day (David Day), celebrated 50 years of employment within the Marine Division.  It’s not many Veterans who manage (or survive) 50 years in continuous employment.  Norman must be made of strong material.  50 years is an amazing achievement, these days it is mostly unheard of for individuals to continuously work for 50 years let alone stay with the same company, within the same department!

Norman started work 4th June 1968, and landed the job after one interview with MIMCO straight from school. Employed as an Office Junior within the Radio Traffic Department referred to as A9.  The majority of tasks involved Filing and other office junior tasks.  Norman progressed into processing invoices..manually, processing call data from thousands of vessels and working with telegrams.  Norman was the proud owner of the second calculator (personal calculator – office didn’t provide!) within Marine after moving away from pounds, shilling and pence!

Jump forward 50 years and Norman now processes invoices and sets airtime rates for all marine airtime customers electronically and with a touch of a button…although technology does of course bring its own issues when nothing happens when you press that button.  All invoices used to go out by royal mail and the office was covered with piles of paper ready to be put into envelopes, now these are sent electronically via email!

If ever short of conversation with Norman, you just need to mention motorbikes and Beer festivals…and the conversation just flows…like the Ale!!

It was called MIMCO when he started and he has gone full circle to SIRM also being a former Marconi company.

SIRM know that their growth and success is dependent on having devoted and capable team members such as Norman, and they wanted to recognise the contributions he has made in helping them achieve their goals.  To honour his 50 years of service, SIRM presented him with a gift – a Tankard inscribed with the words – 4th June 1968, Cheers to 50 years.

 

Most of the text of this article was provided by Lisa Cornell from SIRM in South Woodham Ferrers whose input we thankfully acknowledge.

Webmaster.

Malcolm Cozens

We have been advised that Malcolm Cozens is in Southend Hospital, having suffered a stroke.

Malcolm was, until recently, a member of the MVA committee and will be remembered by many as the Master of Ceremonies at the annual reunion.

If anyone wishes further information would you please contact the secretary, Colin Fletcher.

Basil Francis – Veteran and past President

We regret to announce that Basil Francis, who was our president in 2015, died on 2 May.

Basil joined what was then Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company  in 1939 just after war had been declared and worked in the Installation Design Division that had recently been transferred from London to the research centre at Great Baddow.  Here he started a Mechanical Engineering course at Mid Essex Technical College but this was interrupted in 1941 when he volunteered for the RAF.  Here he gained his wings and flew various aircraft ending up in Burma before being demobbed in 1946.

He returned to MWT in the drawing office and completed his college training.  In the DO he moved up eventually becoming head on the Installation Drawing Office at New Street before retiring in 1989.

His funeral was at Chelmsford Crematorium on Wednesday 30th May and afterwards there was a wake at Little Channels Golf Club.