Suited and booted

at 17



Nauticold'n Trainit


Actyup in spotlighty

Starrystage'n screel

Sitting cumftibold


In the mid-1920s, Stanley was dispatched to the Gibb's Nautical Training School (a college run by the National Children's Home) in Penarth in South Wales. Here he learnt about wireless telegraphy and graduated with a first class Postmaster General's Certificate in September 1927.


A month later he landed a posting on the SS Bakana, although his duties there had more to do with his proficiency with a broom than with a wireless set. He also discovered very quickly - by the mouth of the Bristol Channel, in fact - that he was very prone to seasickness but that didn't seem to put him off serving another short term on the ship.


He was due for a third outing later that same year (this time on the SS Palma) but had second thoughts, bringing his seafaring days - at least for the moment - to an end. 


So it was off to the local Labour Exchange instead.


He very quickly landed a job with the wireless manufacturer Peto Scott in Hoxton in London and would have probably made a decent career out of it had a practical joke involving a Bunsen burner, some gas, an empty wooden trunk and his boss's posterior not (quite literally) backfired.


He was sacked on the spot.


So it was back to the Labour Exchange again (without a reference) and another job - this time at Huson's (Hughes and Sons), a nautical instrument makers in Barkingside in Essex.


After about six months Stanley was approached by the owner of a local bicycle shop. Bert Trumble, a man remembered with much warmth and affection by Stanley and his family, had been making and selling bikes from his shop in Leyton for a number of years but had also developed a neat sideline in electrical components and it was this side of the business - mainly due to the flourishing amateur wireless market - that was now taking off.


As a frequent customer Stanley was a familiar face at the shop so the manager, knowing Stanley's background in wireless telegraphy, wondered whether he would be interested in joining the business.


Stanley took him up on the offer and he stayed there for a while before being tempted back to Huson's to work on the amplifying side of the echo-sounding department (no, I've no idea what that is either). Again, it wasn't long before he got itchy feet and he slapped in an application to the Plessey Company to work in a new field that was now being referred to as 'radio'.


His interview at Plessey was notable for the following bizarre exchange:

"I see from your letter that you know something of oscilloscopes. What would you use one for?" he [Dennis Moody, Test Design department] asked.

...There was some confusion in my explanation as the words jumbled out...

"Percentage modulakers on the output," I began.

"Pardon?" asked Moody.

"Transmitter on the 'Y' with tone on the horizole modulating the carrier throom, left over right times 100%." I was worried about conveying the information which I knew to be right and hoped at least I was getting the cardinal points in the right order.

"What about time bases?" he asked.

"Ah! Thyraton discharbs. Hellumercry vapours. Then there's the puckle..." Moody's manner was reassuring and this increased my confidence. Gradually I found a better grasp of the technical terms was coming and I was able to give him satisfaction. I must have done, because I got the job.