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Dave Lloyd

Some memories of working for Post Office Telephones and Scouting in West Somerset

All photos by kind permission of Dave Lloyd

The GPO years.

Dave Lloyd with his PO van on Winsford Hill 1941 or 1942.

 

Below are extracts of emails to Ron Blundell from Dave Lloyd September 2011

recounting some of his Post Office Telephone and Scouting memories.

"I found a letter from The Sectional Engineer ( g.Bowyer) dated Jan 1940 saying that I had been accepted as a Youth In Training (YIT) at 22/- per week.

I was highly delighted I recall. Briefly I was placed with Bart Naylor on TD and repairing cords etc, topping up batteries in the Exchange, taking courses in Shirehampton etc,then later with Ray Howe, Ken Stoate over the hills. Later USW and Technician (est1947) in the meantime after Linesman on Maintenance locally and after some fitting work with Eric Newcombe, I was called to work in Southampton (where the exchange had been totally bombed out) and then to Bridgwater on a load that covered Puriton ROF, Puriton and Chilton Polden areas. It was while there that in spite of my having been allocated a ship for training in the Royal Navy (after being in a semi reserved occupation in the PO Engineering Dept) that the Bevin conscription lottery was thought up and I was one of those directed into the Coal Mines where I was for the next 4. 1/2 years (fortunately as an underground electrician).

It was on my return that I went into the family business in Friday St. I am now in my 89th year ! but generally my memory is thankfully very good of the time I was with PO Engineering pals. I do have one picture of me with my van taken whilst travelling from Dulverton (miss Lynch) to K3 Observer Post on Winsford Hill. and attach herewith. I will try and look out any others,but films were few and far between in those days.

Kind regards"

 

Dave

 

Hi Ron,

Having a guess that the picture I sent on Winsford Hill would have been taken in the summer of 1941/42 no way of being precise I know I was on way to K3 Observer post at time.

If you wish to use those recollections and picture thats fine with me.

Below is a photo of our ” Dads Army” Home Guard platoon formed from PO Engineers/Postal staff taken behind the Exchange in front of the WI Hall, (Now demolised and replaced with flats.) 

 

Members of D Company 15th Gloucester (Post Office) Battalion.

 

Photo taken outside of Womens Institute Hall that stood adjacent to the Telephone Exchange and close to the postal sorting office.

Key:  E = PO Engineer  P = Postal staff  MT = Motor Transport

 

Back row: Dave Stoate (E) Gordon Edwards (E) John Bruford (E) Ray Howe (E) Ken Stoat (E) Dave Lloyd (E) Douglas Bryant (P)

 

Middle row: Mr Notion (P) Eric Newcombe (E) Jim Hurley (E) Harry Stevens (MT) Mr May (P) Mr Mason (P) Mr Double (P) Clem Williams (P) Mr? (P) Mr? (P) Bart Naylor (E)

 

Front Row: Bert Reed (E) Mr Agnes (or Agers)(P) Sgt Bill Gill (E) Mr? (MT) Mr Moore (P) Mr Baggett or Puttock?

 

 

I think there was some resentment that for some obscure reason that the PO, because the Region Headquarters were in Bristol, came under the Royal Gloucesters and in consequence we had the double Cap Badges, whereas the Minehead Home Guard was The Somerset LI, but on parade we marched together of course. If you have not got that picture I can send it, as of course it gives you a picture of most of the guys I worked with including Bart Naylor, Ray Howe, Bert Reed, Ken Stoate, Gordon Edwards, John Bruford, Les Land, Jim Hurley, Dave Stoate, Eric Newcombe, Bill Gill etc.

 

A war time traffic accident.

I have also found an old tiny picture of poor quality of the day Les Land (driver) Eric Newcombe and myself set off to do something in Taunton (I was sitting on the floor well between Erics legs) we were rounding the bend at Big Firs, Carhampton hairpin curve, when some Army idiot driving at 50 on our side, ended the day in hospital, the van which had chassis then turned over and faced the way back to Minehead, I think we were lucky to survive the impact.

 

Sorry about the quality of these photos. The date on each is the reproduction date Not the date of the accident. 

 

 

Those

The Google Earth co-ordinates of this accident are: N51.10.892 W3.25.732

 

Morris vans were tough but the engine was not big enough for the vehicle, we took it as a matter of course that you turned around on the first bend on Porlock hill and then went into reverse to be able to get up a little way after the first hairpin bend and then turn around again to complete in 1st gear.

I was really interested in the Link GI Joes of your two sons in the GI Joes Uniforms and it brings back vivid memories of the time my mother used to have three come into our home at 18 Queens Rd most Saturday evenings to get a bit of normal home life. I have a musical recording made by my wartime buddy (also conscripted into the mines) who like me was a fan of the Glenn Miller music of the time,he later did a slot for Carlisle Hospital Radio as volunteer in retirement and I feel was superb, he made two for 60 years anniversary of both VE Day and VJ Day, if your sons are into that time, then I could download them and let you have them.

 

With regards to memories of Radar Station and North Hill, I really only have two, as the area was out of bounds and highly sensitive. I worked with Bill Spracklen putting a line and phone into a Canadian Tank repair unit near the old reservoir, but the most vivid memory was in my connection with the Hush hush Radar Station something quite new then . The Minehead Inspector (Mr Platts) called me into his office to instruct me to make up an instrument (wall mounted) on a board with ASTIC facility and own primary  (wet) battery supply to be fitted in the Radar Station. I had clearance to go ahead and recall going through steel heavy double doors(with ouside armed guard) into a divided section of Power Plant etc. into the darkened Control Room. All the walls were lined in a Cork finish on the wall facing West and were there was an operator sitting at a console with round green screen about 15” /20” I think?  He let me have a look and pointed out background which he said was Welch Mountains. I dont think it oscillated and I think the antennae was a fixture. I had fitted the board and phone on the same wall and to my surprise got an answer simply as “Hartland Point” this was the first indication that I had where this Private Line would terminate. As I recall there was no facility in the set up to call or ring so guessed it was open and monitored all the time. No idea what was at Hartland Point either at that time but since gathered that it was also connected with Bletchley Park. What a good thing your are keeping this history alive with your lads.

Regards Dave

More about the radar site at a great website.

 

 

I think this is the stand down march of the ARP wardens probably the same march as the Home Guard. My dad is the first on the left. he was a RSM in the First World War.  Dave

 

My Scouting years

 

 

 

My recollections of times Scouting only lasted from early 30s until starting work in P.O.Engineering but were interesting in the fact of being involved in photography in Minehead. I was in the 1st Alcombe Troop, after Patrol leader then Troop Leader I became a Kings Scout and was fortunate to travel with the other Kings Scout that year from Minehead  with Alan Slocombe (son of gang foreman Harry Slocombe) to Windsor Castle for Kings review. But as J.H. Martin Cross of the Hazeldine Studios in the Avenue Minehead was the official illustration photographer for the "Scout" magazine I ended up being in many issues of the magazine of that time,a very interesting life at the time and also great fun for me as he took some shots in the studio ( two attached),but many more around the local countryside. We also made several Movie Films for the Scouts and one in Colour, named' Davids Quest', I often wonder where they ended up and if they are still around somewhere in an attic!

Dave.

 

 

 

 

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