Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

CARS Meetings: July - September 2004

December Meeting - Social Evening

Normally, CARS has a Christmas Dinner at a local resturant with about 35 persons attending. At a Committee Meeting during the hot weather it was suggested we should have something "more sociable". We voted to have a Social Evening in lieu of the Christmas Dinner and have instead of the usual December Meeting.

The room was booked so we did nothing about it until a few weeks before!.

G8DET & G7KLV with encouragement from Murray G6JYB, suggested ideas which were accepted, tickets printed, menu chosen and invites issued. 65 Members and a number of Guests said they would come - pity a number of local ARS Clubs could not attend.

The great night came very quickly. The room was quickly decorated by the Marconi Social Club staff while the audio equipment was set up together with the keyboard of Tony G4YTG used to entertain early birds.

After logging in Guests & Members, Committee Members introduced visitors and old & new aquaintences were made.

The Raffle Table was growning under the weight of excellent prizes under the watchful eye of Martyn, G1EFL & Chris, G0IPU.

Raffle table with G4NZQ
Raffle table with Chairman Chris G0IPU, Phillip G4NZQ (centre) & Martyn G1EFL (right). Jim 2E1GUA (extreme right) looks on.
Photos by Trevor M5AKA

Some seventy members, wives, partners and guests then enjoyed a large selection of hot and cold food, which covered a wide range of tastes and palates. Quiches, rolls, sandwiches and spreads of all sorts were all set out in a grand manner to set the evening off to a good nourishing start. Tea and coffee on call, was available to those not imbibing stronger fare from the bar.

Vice Chairman, John G8DET introduced Guests which included Dr Geoff & Helen Bowles, Keeper of the Science & Industry Museum at Sandford Mill, Malcolm Salmon G3XVV, Past Region 12 RSGB Rep & Phillip Brooks G4NZQ, his replacement came from Norwich.

Phillip G4NZQ & Malcolm G3XVV
Phillip Brooks G4NZQ (left) with Malcoln G3XVV, new & past RSGB Region 12 representatives.

Marc Litchman G0TOC (Sec) & John Mulye G0VEH (Chairman) came from Loughton & Epping ARS while Andrew Mowbray G0LWS came from the Silverthorn Club. All were made very welcome.

John G8DET
John G8DET introducing the Guests.

Eating, however, was not all that occupied us during the event as Chris G0IPU had arranged a couple of mind-bending quizzes for everyone to ponder over while digesting their food.

A table deep in thought
A table deep in thought.

Also to keep us busy and keep our thinking caps well in place Pauline and John G8DET produced 40 small sealed linen bags. Each bag contained a mystery object that had to be recognised by feel alone, some were fairly obvious, while others were quite undetectable. Nobody however guessed all of the objects. Prizes were awarded to those with the highest score.

Rhona at her table with relatives
Rhona 2E1GQL (Winner of a Quiz) at her table with relatives.

Chris G0IPU reading the Raffle Prize number.
Chris G0IPU reading the Raffle Prize numbers.

Thanks to the superb culinary efforts of Jill, Phil and Pauline, the XYL's respectively of David M0BQC, Geoff G7KLV & John G8DET, three fine iced cakes appeared and were devoured with relish to finish off the gourmet part of the evening. Chocolates were circulated which were quickly devoured.

John & Jill.
John G8DET with Jill, maker of the lovely Amateur Radio Christmas Cake which sported a 3 Element Beam & a Vertical aerial.

Our thanks to Marconi Sports & Social Club for providing the room & food and to Geoff KLV and Chris IPU and others who had helped in making the evening a success.

Vice President Charles G0GJS echoed the thoughts of all us when he thanked John and Pauline for their efforts in the new venture and suggested that maybe we could have a repeat performance in twelve months time.

At the end of a very enjoyable evening Tony was again called on to send to us all home in a happy mood by playing many well-known favourites old and new.

August Meeting - The Tabletop Sale by Colin G0TRM.

Another August, and another Club Tabletop Sale has come and gone, this last one, was possibly the most successful we have yet held. Over 90 people were known to have attended as members, vendors and visitors. Our well known visitor Zipy, G4ZPE was again much in evidence, he had many happy customers at their table vying for all sorts of goodies from the depths of the Waters and Stanton store. Particular thanks to them for the super prize they gave to the Club Raffle, the World Wide Clock helped to make the Raffle a great success.

Mike Wheaton G4ZPE (Zipy) on his table
Zipy on the Waters & Stanton Table.
Photos by Anthony, M1FDE.

Classic Heathkit Receiver
Classic Heathkit Trans-Receiver for sale.
Photos by Trevor, M5AKA.

Bargains for those early
Bargains for those early.
Note, the Amateur nearest the camera is clutching his raffle tickets - I wonder if he won!.

One of the many Traders.
One of the many Traders.
This Gentlemen sold many things from a Weather Station to Computers & their Software. You can see he also had a good selection of printing calculators. He sold half of his stall. This he thought was quite good.

Thanks to all the Club Members who came along to sell, to buy or just to have a look and to exchange views with others. Thanks of course to the Stewards and others who played their part in helping to make it a very successful evening.

During the evening Carl, G3PEM announced those had passed the July Intermediate Examination. Of the 10 who passed, a number came forward to collect their certificates.

Harry presenting Certificate

President Harry, G5HF presenting a certificate to one of those who passed in July, 2004.
Photos by Anthony, M1FDE.

Harry presenting another Certificate

President Harry, G5HF presenting a certificate to another Amateur who passed in July, 2004.
Photos by Anthony, M1FDE.

July Meeting - Memories by Mr Les Sayer, MBE, DSM

Les recounted his early memories prior to joining the Navy. He tried a number different jobs before appyling to be a Telegraphist Air Gunner (TAG). A TAG is a Non Commissioned Officer who sits in the aircraft facing backwards and receives (and sometimes transmits using Morse) information regarding targets etc and protects the aircraft using a machine gun. Because of the strict Officer to Non Commissioned Officer role, hardly any conversation was entered into with the Pilot so a TAG's life was quite solitary but very important.

Les seated infront of the video monitor
Les seated infront of the video monitor.

The Fairey Swordfish was the main plane which Les flew in but other TAGs had flown in Fairey Barracudas, Fireflys, Albacores & Fulmars, Sharks, Condors, Hurricanes, Blackburn Darts, Walrus and a number of other well known names. Because of their simplicity & reliability they were better for their chosen role than they looked being make of canvas & wood. They were even used to transport barrels of beer and bicycles by tieing them to the wing root.

Les with the model of the Swordfish

Les with the model of the Swordfish.

Les described a number of hair raising roles he was involved in but the most famous event was his attack on the German warship, the "Bismarck".
In a prevoius, but brief battle with the Bismarck, HMS Hood blew up, with only 3 of her crew of 1,400 surviving. The Prince of Wales retreated from the battle, damaged - Churchill ordered "Sink the Bismarck".

Aircraft carrier HMS Victorious was packed with Spifires bound for Malta but was diverted to search for the Bismarck. Les's plane had a live torpedo slung underneath which he could just see. They found the Bismarck and the other 5 planes from the wing attacked it. Les's Pilot did not drop his torpedo as he felt that his course was not quite right so he said "Going around again". This was not what one wanted to hear!. They turned and began their second attack run with virtually nothing being fired at them - they dropped the torpedo - then all hell let loose. They were only at wave height and all the Bismarck's armament was poured in their direction. The 15 inch guns made a tremedous splash - one such splash ripped the bottom of the fabric away. Clear of the firepower they made way for "home" - the Victorious broke regulations and switched on her light beacons & they landed safely.

There was no debriefing & no one from the Navy asked Les whether they had hit it. Remember, the Pilot & Co-pilot were concentrating on flying - only Les was looking back at the ship to see the water spout of a contact.
Years later it transpired that their torpedo was the only one which hit the Bismarck, in its midships which caused a fuel leak, killed one German Seaman & injured 6 others. For his support in this action Les was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM).

A number of TAGs came to support Les.

3 TAGs
3 TAGs, from left to right. Les Sayer, Bernie Smith & Bernie Haselton.

A very interesting presentation whereby Morse had been the basis for Les's career from Navy TAG to BOAC Training Manager. Les told us in finishing that he had just applied to become a Radio Amateur. We look forward to a QSL.

Note added August 2006, Les has been allocated Call-Sign M3HDT. Members of the Harwich Amateur Radio Interest Group have assisted him in erecting an 80m Dipole so he is now "on the air".

Thank you Les for a great evening, also to Colin, G0TRM for arranging the video and sound which enabled a large audience to see & hear Les so well.

There are a number of excellent Web Sites, including German & Danish where you can read more about the sinking of the Bismarck.

The Fleet Air Arm Archive Web Site is at:-

Look for references to HMS Victorious & Bismarck.

Another good site is at:-

Les has written (with Vernon Ball) an excellent book (340 pages) about TAGs called: - "Tag on a Stringbag". It has a Foreward by Commodore Laurie Farrington, RCN/Canadian Forces (Retd).
ISBN 1-899386-00-9

It is an Aspen Publication Ltd, Cefn Ydfa, The Cliff, Borth, DYFED. SY24 5NN.

After Les's presentation, Duncan presented CARS with the final Log Book which Louis Varney, G5RV used to own. It was being sold on eBay for profit. The CARS Committee decided it would be nice to have it as we have so many good memories & also Club President, Harry, G5HF was the last person to work him.

Buying on eBay is an art form & we were very pleased when Duncan bought it on our behalf in the last 8 seconds of bidding & within our budget.

John, Duncan & the G5RV Log Book

Chairman John, Duncan & the G5RV Log Book. Duncan apologised for his dress as he said he had just rushed from work with the Log Book - we are pleased you did & thank you.

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