Copyright Tony Mooney and others.
If you are an ex-apprentice you are free to copy any material for your own use. For commercial use please contact the webmaster
Last updated on 30 March, 2019 at 2:43 PM
Gary Guy said in an email on 11 October 2008:
When we all left Locking and sent to our respective stations - Derek Orgill and I ended up at Cranwell, where we were not overly impressed with the sloppy national service airmen in our 40 bed H block dorm and camp. Especially after the bullshit of our passing out parade. They constantly took the piss out of us over our 12 year commitment. Yet that first day when we scrambled down to the radio section after pulling our best blues out of our rucksacks and missing breakfast, the dozy OC of the section sent us back to clean our buttons. I'll never forget that - we could have strolled down in our working blues 2 days later for all anyone cared. Spike Milligan and Jim Nottingham had been "posted" to the college at Cranwell and we saw them occasionally marching furiously past, arms shoulder high like the German youth. Not even a wink - after the times I let Spike get the better of me at wrestling.
Derek went to Seletar in 1962 and I to Changi in the August of that year. He was married to Shirley and I to Sheila. We met up in the Pas a Ris hotel 2 days after my arrival and Derek demonstrated his prowess at drinking Tiger beer. Smudge Smith was there and someone else, whom I cannot remember, but Derek encountered some apps at Seletar. What a tour - overseas allowance, good food and cheap drink. Hmm, that was the start of my alcoholism. The beginning of 1965 saw me stationed at St. Athan in Wales. I had had this idea of being an instructor and thought that Athans was a training camp. It had been, but by then was an MU. No-one ever volunteered for St Athans and no-one left there (alive) so my last 4½ years were in Wales, Peter Moore came later luckily and whilst there I went to Swansea tech and got my HNC in electronics and maths. Peter looked after 30 hangar and I had 29 hangar. I applied to extend my years in the RAF, but was told that they had too many chiefs and not enough indians. Personally, I think it was because I am Scottish. Anyway there I was -rejected and in Civvy St.( and I'm only 29 ).
Armed with my HNC I had to find a job. I had one lined up at the petroleum refinery at Landarcy, Port Talbot, but they let me down at the last minute. My second choice was Elliot Bros who built simulators for the RAF. They became Marconi and then GEC later. It was appealing cos they were in Fife and offered me a post of PDS engineer. Sounds good but the money was not any better than the RAF and there was no travelling expenses etc. I took it, as I was getting desperate and it did give the respective families-in-law a chance to see our 2 children. But - what a bummer - there was not a tetrode nor pentode in sight. There were tichy little amplifiers, pnp npn gates galore, and many other wonderful pcb gadgets, PHEW! My young colleagues had BSCs and one was an MA in electronics from Edinburgh University. I did a little designing but mainly my job was cabling, writing specs, and commissioning at various RAF bomber stations. That suited me, cos I was in charge and there were expenses. Ray Thorne was at one station and WO Bryson (the twot ), who I knew from St. Athans, at another. The job was alright for experience, but I had sold my Wimpey house in Wales and bought a large bungalow in Dalgety Bay so had to move on. Selling was the game, I thought, but they only wanted people with experience. How do you get that if no-one will give you a job? Eventually I left and Joined a double glazing firm. I know, it sounds bad and it was a struggle at first but I lapped up the constant speciality sales training and after 3 months they made me area manager and gave me a Ford Escort. With the positiveness gained from that, my first interview secured me working for a relay company in Harlow. This next bit I just love telling. ITT/STC, who were big manufacturers in Harlow, headhunted me and offered me a sales executive position looking after key accounts in Scotland, Ireland and north of England. That was 1973 and the TROUBLES were rife in Ireland but I am Scottish - -and the money was great, so what the hell. Being a salesman is not all best hotels and expense accounts. Sales forecasts, sales budgets, actual sales and meetings preoccupy a lot of time and stress, but ITT, who are the selling arm of STC, were the last of the big spenders so golf tournaments, race meetings and entertaining helped to ease the pain (and the alcohol helped!)
In 1984 the company had a very senior position vacant and it did not go to me, SO, I decided to do something else. We had seen a large bar for sale in Torremolinos whilst on holiday and went for it. Fortunately it worked for us, but we saw them come and we saw them go (bar owners I mean). I would not recommend it to my worst enemy(well I might). Sometimes a 16 hour day was needed, but our bar was large enough to sustain live entertainment and it paid which was an advantage.
The disadvantage was working with family, and that put paid to happy life in the sun. We divorced (amicably) in 1996. Not so amicable is the loss of shekels and portfolio. Another thing, we did visit the UK once in our first 8 years and that was 1988. Harlow was in trouble. The government had awarded "System X" to Plessey and GEC and left in the cold ITT/STC. Thank goodness I moved when I did, cos the manufacturing capacity had no outlets and just shut. Thank you, Maggie.
My current partner is called Sandra, whom I have known for 20 years. She and her husband frequented our bar, and after my divorce the 3 of us used to go to Karaoke together. Unfortunately Hugh died and now the two of us are together. Whilst my mum was alive she spent some time in Bearsden, Glasgow, with Sandra and Hugh. It is nice that there is some history there and we have things in common. We have reached the stage in our lives where we can relax and enjoy ourselves (you'd better believe it ).
A couple of the lads have laid down their lives (on paper) so I thought I would do the same - Hope it does not bore?