I left Mayfield in 1963 and became a trainee technician with the Telephone Department of the GPO. I resigned in 1969 and took a job with a company maintaining amusement machines and one arm bandits. The method in my madness was soon rewarded. I was sent to look after twelve one arm bandits on the SS Southern Cross, and sailed around the world three times on her. On the first trip I met a lovely Australian girl, Dianne. On the last trip we married and I brought her home to meet mum and dad.
We lived in the UK for a couple of years but decided to move to Australia in 1974. At first we lived in, Sydney close to Dianne’s mother. I had a couple of jobs while there, the last at GEC Telecommunications where I was in charge of the special services workshop. But we tired of the city and decided to move to the country in 1978. Here I started work with the local council as a Tradesman’s Assistant on the underground electrical gang. From a desk job to a pick and shovel is a quantum move. After a few months I moved into the radio room as an assistant to the Radio Technician. Six months later he retired and I was promoted to Radio Technician. From this I have steadily worked my way through Instrument Technician to SCADA Officer. At present I’m in charge of the control and monitoring computers for the water and wastewater systems of our city. This includes planning, implementing and maintaining of the system comprising some twenty control computers.
Following a couple of heart attacks I’ve decided to retire early and hope to do so after my sixtieth birthday. I am proud to say I have three wonderful sons and two live locally. I taught my youngest son some basic programming when he was thirteen and he now works for a company in Hull UK, writing code for internet based programs. He commutes to see his girlfriend in Norway on a regular basis, maybe he’s a chip off the block.
Any one of my age will remember growing up at a time when World War 2 was still a recent memory for our parents. The landscape was full of reminders, air raid shelters, pill boxes and bomb sites. I still remember Spitfires flying from Hornchurch Airfield. As a child I was fascinated by my father’s war time photos and in the 1960′s I enjoyed holidays with him in Ardrishaig, on the West Coast of Scotland. Ardrishaig had been the home of HMS Seahawk, a naval training base, during the war. It was there that my father had undergone special training as a Petty Officer Motor Mechanic on board ML 115, a launch that was used to train ASDIC operators in the fight against the U boat menace. The ASDIC training bases were classed top secret during the war.
Some years ago, during a visit to the UK, my mother gave me all the family photos. When I returned to Australia I began researching HMS Seahawk and, using my father’s photos, started a website about the base. I have managed to reach a few of the original personnel who passed through HMS Seahawk and with their help, which I cherish dearly, the site continues to grow. Please click HERE to visit the HMS Seahawk website.
These are some photos of a match we played against Fairlop in the mid 1960’s. The first photo is of our cheer leaders. On the left in the picture is Andy Mills who was a great player and, after badly damaging his shoulder, still came every week to cheer us on. The next season he returned to the team only to have the same shoulder injured again. The doctor warned him another injury could be catastrophic so he retired from the game and was much missed. He had a great sense of humour and was a good friend to all.
The girls were a great bunch. They came out in all weathers to cheer us on, to more losses than wins as I remember. The team would not have been the same without the girls, they were a part of us and all of the players appreciated their support. I suppose we should have made a supporters trophy for them. Anyway, please send my thanks to them for their efforts on those cold wet days they gave us hope of victory.
The remaining photos of the game show moments of action and I can recognise myself and others in them. One I see is John Scanes, an old school friend but long lost. I remember John Hornby very well both from school and when he was the hooker for the Youth Club Team. He always got ducked in the mud in the middle of the field when the scrum collapsed. One player absent from all this is John Small, the back bone of the scrum and a truly great person. It was also a shock to read of the passing of Trevor Furlong’s brother, Richard, who played for us on many occasions.
Memories of the Mayfield Youth Club Rugby Team
Training – George, our trainer used to put us through hell in the gym. We always worked up a giant thirst. I remember a few occasions calling into the Seven Kings Hotel and my order was two pints please, and before the barmaid had pulled the second I drained the first.
Travelling – Trevor Furlong had an old sit up and beg Ford Anglia. Our transport was very limited so it wasn’t unknown for Trevor to have two in the front passenger seat and four in the back. But the old car always got us to the match.
The Venues – Pitches still covered with frost on a winters morning. The first tackle would show just how sharp the frozen mud was. We came off looking like we’d played on ash felt. The waterlogged pitch near Romford. It was great fun running up field though the pond, nobody seemed keen to tackle you in the middle. And of course there were the pitches at Fairlop playing fields, alongside the Central Line between Fairlop and Barkingside. When an over eager kicker dropped the ball on the line we jumped the fence and retrieved it, stepping over the electrified rail. It’s scary looking back at that, but it was all part of the game then.
The Matches – In a match against Maldon an older guy weighing around 14 stone was taking great pleasure in flattening our smaller players. Well, he gets the ball and can see our touch line. He bulldozes through our small fry and with a roar thinks he’s home, then crash! Our second row scrum, John Small, took him out with a beautiful straight on tackle. John was a big fit boy you just didn’t tangle with. A gentle giant and a great mate. But he also took umbrage at any opposition banging crap out of our smaller guys. A great cheer went up and the older guy realised he’d met his match.
Another match I remember is for what happened after the game. Richard Furlong, the younger brother of Trevor, was a trainee fireman. He use to come and play for us occasionally, and one time threw down the gauntlet; us against the trainee firemen. After the game we were naked getting showered in the visitors changing room when the door opened and a smoke canister rolled in. I grabbed the canister and threw it back outside and while some opened windows others held the door closed to prevent the canister coming back. The building outside filled up nicely with smoke, setting off the fire alarms, the trainees had lost the battle. When we sauntered out to take tea and sticky buns, they were getting a roasting from their superiors.
The fondest memory I have of Mayfield Old Boys is the friendship. I have trouble with names and faces now, but I know I had some great times with a bunch of fantastic fellows. If any are out there, more power to your elbow, have one for me and thanks for all the good times.