It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of long time member George Banner. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. His friend and colleague David Barlow provided us with the following information.
George Banner died age 97 – not bad for a baby who when born was put at the bottom of the bed because they thought he would not survive. He was born and raised in Coseley, Nr. Dudley in Worcestershire (later Staffordshire and now the West Midlands).
He attended Colwyn Bay Wireless College and his Morse instructer was “Tubby” Nelson. He went to sea as a Radio Officer in the 1930’s and was proud of working Hong Kong on a spark transmitter from the Mediterranean. He left the sea and worked for the GPO but on the outbreak of war he saw an internal memo asking for Morse operators at an increased salary (having just got married). He got the job and was dispatched to Thurso to a DF station to monitor , report and triangulate UK rogue or spy signals in conjunction with similar stations in Cornwall and Kent. Life in Thurso was somewhat sparse. After the war he worked at Rugby Radio, one of his jobs was with the time signal equipment and he knew its accuracy to within about 12 decimal points ! George rose through the ranks and he was the General Manager of the Goonhilly satellite station in Cornwall.
On retirement he revived his interest in amateur radio and was president of Poldhu Amateur Radio Club. If ever the club needed a speaker for its club meeting he was available and could stand, without notes, and deliver the most riveting and interesting talk about his experiences in life and with radio. I recall that one ship he joined had a Captain who kept pigeons and he found his cabin full of straw and bedding for the birds.
George was a true gentleman and I was pleased to call him a friend and visited his house on a number of occasions – I only wish I had taken a tape recorder with me. He delighted in telling visitors to Poldhu that he and I were taught CW by the same “Tubby” Nelson 30 years apart and that our “fist” was often confused one with another.
It is with great sadness that the ROA has been informed of the passing of our dear friend and colleague Charles.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.
Charles was a long time supporter of the ROA, indeed he was one of the very first to join when the organisation was formed. He was the first Flight R/O to join the ROA.
Charles Shelton trained as an RAF apprentice between 1942 and 1944. After his RAF service with Coastal Command Charles joined the Marconi Aeronautical Division in 1950 and remained with that company until 1963.
In 1952 the RAF despatched a flight of four Canberra bombers on a sales and demonstration trip to the Caribbean and Latin America. In the course of the exercise the Canberras made the first jet crossings, in both directions, of the South Atlantic. Although Charles was working for Marconi at the time he was invited to be promoted to RAF Pilot Officer, kitted out as such and was the lead Wireless Operator and Metrological Support Officer for the entire trip. Code-named “Operation Round Trip”, the journey involved a 6 1/2-week tour of the Caribbean and Latin American states covering over 38,000 kilometers and involving more than thirty flying demonstrations in thirteen countries in the West Indies, Central and South America, and doubtless were responsible in no small measure for the Canberra’s subsequent sales record in that part of the world. Charles later joined Cossor Electronics as a sales manager, rising to deputy chairman prior to his retirement.
Charles was a long time radio amateur who gained his licence in the 1980’s and used the callsign G0GJS. Together with David Barlow Charles was instrumental in setting up the ROA Radio Amateur Section (ROARS). He was one of the main organizers of the regular communication nets and served on the ROARS Committee until his death. Charles was also very active in the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS), being Secretary from 1993-2000, where his Morse keying skills were much admired. ROA member Dave Ellis, a fellow CARS member, recalls that when things were slow Charles would often ring up and say. “Hi, Dave, fancy a bit of CW?” I knew the drill and would come back with something like “OK, Charles, 3538kHz in 5 minutes.” We would both quickly run up our transceivers and spend the next half hour chatting away happily using high-speed Morse!” Tom Frawley, Chairman of ROARS, remembers that “After spending time on the Morse net, Charles would often ask that we go up to Skype, a further communications channel, in order to discuss band conditions, Morse skills and further ROA news.”
Charles was a strong supporter of the ROA and was a regular attendee at the Annual General Meeting. Charles was very excited that, for the first time, the ROA AGM was coming to his home town and he was greatly looking forward to hosting the event. It is particularly poignant that Charles died on the eve of the AGM.
At the AGM many tributes were paid to Charles, the most common sentiment being that he was a true gentlemen of the old school who will be greatly missed. Charles’ funeral was held in Chelmsford on the 9th May and the Association was represented by Ian Channing and Dave Ellis. Charles was 87.
A TRIBUTE TO CHARLES SHELTON
MY FRIEND AND FELLOW RADIO-OFFICER
ON THE OCCASION OF HIS FUNERAL
By Dave Ellis.
|G0GJS_2||To the left is a morse farewell to Charles. Please click on the link.|
It is with sadness we learn of the passing away of Member John Royle of Manchester.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of John
Although not a member we are sad to report the passing of Mike Johns on the 20th January 2013 at the age of 84. Mike may well have been well known to some members and this tribute is posted at the request of Stan McNally.
Mike was a very private person and well liked by all who met him. He took over the test room in Marconi’s office in Liverpool when Charlie Clayton retired all those years ago.
His nick name when on the docks was ” Rommel” because of his attire in long leather jacket, goggles and beret, as his mode of transport was a motorbike and side car. Many a young trainee Marconi man travelled in that side car ranging from Holyhead to Workington to learn under his teaching.
Captains with sick “Quo Vadis radars” were extremely pleased to see him, as they knew their troubles were over after he passed his hands over their radar. One Master even refused anybody else to look at it until he got back to Liverpool’s Garston Dock.
He always took his holidays during the Manx TT so he could be there for those races and see the many types of machines , especially those with side cars.
His other passion was formula one racing which he would watch avidly on his little black and white TV. I don’t think he ever changed to colour until forced too.
Mike’s hobby was model engines, of which he made a few. His garage was his temple, where he spent most of his free time building everything from scratch with his lathe and many tools.
If you had any kind of mechanical problem, or something special making, he was your man.
He looked forward to his retirement and joy of working tirelessly in this garage on the mechanical models he had dreamed of making.
We will miss you Mike.
Remaining “Old Marconi Men”