Our toast to Absent friends was proposed this year, as on previous occasions, by Veteran Val Cleare
Patron, Honoured Guest, Fellow Veterans
As is customary, I will just mention a few notable absences, the remainder of which can be found in the Absent Veterans booklets displayed.
Gerry Bamford (ex TID)
We have had greetings and best wishes to all friends and colleagues of TID, Design Office and Engineering Departments of Radar Division. Memories of many happy years (41 in fact!)
Regrets she is unable to attend. She wishes all fellow Veterans an enjoyable reunion, and likewise Ann Dimmick who sends best wishes for health and happiness.
There are a few Veterans who are prevented from being here today due to sickness.
We have mentioned about Peter Turrall earlier.
Lady Betty Telford is not well but nevertheless has sent her best wishes for a successful reunion.
David Mainhood is unable to attend having recently had a prostrate operation. He has asked to be remembered to all his old friends and colleagues at Chelmsford and Baddow especially Maritime Development, Communications and Space Systems and Research. He also said that he greatly enjoyed the recent newsletter. There we are Ken — all your hard work has paid off in putting the newsletter together and is appreciated.
We have also heard from Alf Porter who sends his regards to all friends of Marconi Airadio Division, Basildon. He regrets that he cannot travel too far these days.
We have heard from 2 Veterans who live on the Isle of Man. Dick Elstrop is sorry not to be with us this year and says have a great time. Mike Southall who lives in Ramsey on the Isle of Man hopes to see everyone at a future reunion but can’t make it this year. He sends kind regards to all friends and colleagues. Happy memories of Marconi’s from 1958 to 1993.
And now for a trip down memory lane:
We have heard from Veteran Mrs June Mason
From Veteran Mrs June Mason
I was sent to work in Marconi’s in 1942, aged 14 yrs. I went to work in the Packing Despatch Dept. My Foreman was Mr F. Marshall, a very strict but fair man. I enjoyed the work, it was so varied.
They issued us with tin helmets, so, when we had air raids, you stayed at your bench with your helmet on ’till you got three bells.
Then you went into the main building and stood behind a 6ft brick wall.
I stayed at Marconi’s for 46yrs and worked my way up to a supervisory position, in charge of the Preservation Dept which was for the Armed Services.
Also, in those days, the goods yard was across the road and they used to shunt trucks into the Marconi siding which the men loaded and then they were shunted back.
I was interested to read that Bellway Homes are keeping the front offices — our office was the one by the sidings.
I have many happy memories of my years there, when it was Marconi’s, a great firm to work for.
We have also heard from Mrs Dilys Edwards (a friend of the Association)
From Mrs Dilys Edwards (a Friend of The Association)
I look forward to the newsletter and read it from start to finish.
I wonder if you can do me a favour. Would it be possible to ask anyone who worked at Pottery Lane, to recall their memories?
I never see mention of that “little place”. Mostly “little huts” until they built a brick building especially for PDS. The “way in” was a pathway covered in coke cinders — not a good surface for the female workers that wore high heels, nor the male workers that rode bicycles.
The canteen was, in my opinion, the best. The manageress was a lady called Vi. We always had plenty of beef dripping sandwiches, on alternate days, served to the offices by Ernie, on a big trolley. There were two urns on the trolley, one Tea, one Coffee. Ernie came round at 9.30 a.m. and asked for the orders. That was for “tea break”.
The meals served in the canteen were marvellous! But, on Fridays, she didn’t have to cook many dinners. It was “pay day” and most of her regulars were at the “local” — the pub with the biggest bay window in Essex – it was called “The Clock House”. Needless to say, most of us “clocked” in late and were deducted pay on our next pay packet. Oh yes, those little brown envelopes with the holes, so you could count the notes and coins before you signed for your “wage packet”.
Perhaps, one day, I’ll be able to get in touch with other Pottery Lane Veterans.
We have received a message about Derek Juniper who recently fell off a ladder and broke his leg and 5 ribs.
Please be upstanding for a toast to Absent Veterans.