Newsletter 2011

Where are apprentices of the Class of ‘57?

The following digest of email exchanges started with one received via the website from David Samways in Australia on the 28th January this year:

Just found this website and would like to register. I joined MWT in 1957 at Chelmsford and would love to meet up with some of my colleagues on your website. How do I do this?

A reply by Chris Gardiner explaining the situation regarding the service qualification for MVA membership, and suggesting that the MOGS forum might be relevant to his situation resulted in a further email from David Samways the same day.

Thank you so much for your email – very efficient.  I don’t qualify because I was only with Marconi for eleven years so I will have a look at MOGS.  (See the article “Creating a history of the Marconi Radar companies” in Section 25 below for more information about MOGS)

Its quite curious really, it has been exceptionally difficult to locate any substantial information on ‘old-boys’ at either Marconi or the Mid-Essex Technical College – in the latter case apparently most of the records were destroyed in a fire!

David Samways has subsequently joined MOGS and entered into a dialogue with Mike Plant, another MOGS member with a similar interest. Then on the following day (29th January) Mike Plant wrote, referring to the MOGS forum:

I wonder if you know of any similar groups from other than just Radar Division? One of the MOGS members has said he thinks there could be a regular meeting of ex Communications people, along much the same lines as MOGS, but no detail has been forthcoming. I didn’t realise for a couple of months following my acceptance into MOGS that it is mainly just comprised of Radar people.

I have renewed my interest in this possibility as a direct result of the exciting correspondence with David Samways on the MOGS site. I started in the same apprentice intake in August 1957. Already, since Ian Gillis’ first mention of David, he and I have exchanged a number of long emails about friends from 1957!

I spent eleven years total with the company, five good years in Supplies in Chelmsford and a further two years in Baddow and Witham with Microelectronics, from which I joined a supplier and spent a busy thirty two years, but I mention this to illustrate the point that this will be of no interest to any except those with connections with the apprentice scheme as it ran in the 1956/7/8 period!

MOGS is a splendid group, but to ask them via chairman Ian Gillis whether we can ‘adopt’ their site for the sort of directory/ongoing exchange that I believe David Samways is looking for might be seen as unreasonable mainly as it is principally an ex Radar group, this partly explaining my interest in whether other divisions may have some similar activity to MOGS, but currently unknown to us…

Secondly, as David’s interest starts with the apprentice intake, and mainly that of 1957, with some links perhaps a year or so either side, where individuals ended up while still in MWT clearly would involve most divisions that the company was operating in the late 50s and early to mid 60s. Traditionally, as I remember and understand it, the apprentice was normally offered a position in the last station to which he was posted at the end of the apprenticeship.

The above highlights the possibility or potential for other groups of ex-Marconi people. The Marconi Veterans’ Association would welcome hearing from any such groups and could list them on our website. Accordingly, we invite them to contact the Secretary with their details (name of group, a brief comment on the general aims and composition of the group, details of meetings, if any, and contact) so that we can compile a register for publication on the website. Group name and contact details could also be published in the newsletter.

Regrettably, we are not able to assist in the formation of new groups other than to publicise requests for potential members to contact the (potential) organiser – this via the website and in the newsletter.

Group members who do not qualify for full membership of the Marconi Veterans’ Association (21 years service) are cordially invited to become a ‘Friend’ of the Association and receive the annual newsletter.