Your Future Calling!
training for Merchant Navy Radio Officers
training for appointments in every branch of Radio
THE WIRELESS COLLEGE
EAST PARADE, COLWYN BAY, NORTH WALES
Principal : Neville F. Whale
From the earliest
stages of its development, the usefulness of Radio as a means of communicating
with ships was readily recognised. To begin with few ships were fitted, the
whole set-up was purely experimental and only one ''Wireless Operator'' was
carried to operate the equipment at pre-arranged times. A series of marine
disasters, culminating in that of the ''Titanic,'' made it clear that for Radio
to be a real ''Navigational Aid'' and to make a real contribution to the safety
of life at sea, all ships must maintain continuous ''Radio Watch'' all the time
that they are at sea. Laws were enacted making it compulsory, first for the
bigger ships, and nowadays for practically all ships to carry radio equipment.
Furthermore ships must either carry sufficient Radio men to maintain a continuous
24-hour human watch or must carry ''Auto-Alarm'' apparatus to keep watch
between periods of human watch.
From the earliest
simple but ponderous single transmitter and single receiver marine radio
equipment has advanced and continues to advance. In addition to sophisticated
and complicated main and emergency transmitters and receivers, modern ships
carry automatic alarms, automatic keying devices, lifeboat equipment's,
direction finders, echo-sounders, radar, etc.
At first the
Wireless Operator was by some regarded as a passenger making little if any
contribution to the efficient running of the ship, but over the years his
status has risen and present-day Radio Officers are recognised as being as
important as, if not more important than, any other member of the crew. From
the legal standpoint the Radio Officer's contribution is to the Safety of Life
at Sea, which in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death,
but in addition to this he provides contact both between the ship's Captain and
the owners, and between the crew or passengers
and their families or businesses ashore, and he maintains in tip-top
working order numerous Radio Navigational Aids enabling the ship to keep a
rigid time schedule in complete safety regardless of weather conditions. Apart
from the Radio-communicating equipment and the Radio Navigational aids, the
Radio staff may also be in charge of Sound Reproducing equipment, Broadcast
Receiving equipment both for sound and television, even sound film projection
equipment and closed circuit television.
The development of
Radio equipment and the growth in importance of Radio personnel have followed
the same pattern in other fields. Modern aircraft carry an enormous amount of
sophisticated Radio and Electronic equipment. Up to the mid-1950's aircraft on
international flights carried a ''Flight Radio Operator'' who acted as an
intermediary between the Pilot and the ground.
The high speed of
modern aircraft allows no time to relay messages in that way and nowadays the
radio equipment, which is highly automated, is operated directly by the pilot.
Although Radio Operators no longer fly, they are still employed at ground
stations communicating with aircraft.
To keep ships at sea
and aircraft flying extensive shore and ground staffs are required. After a
period at sea Radio Officers can apply for an appointment on the shore staff in
either the technical or the administrative departments with the opportunity to
rise to managerial level. Aircraft Radio Maintenance is a specialised field
requiring specialised training but a general basic training would ensure an
advanced entry to the appropriate
Radio Operators are
employed by numerous government departments, such as the Post Office and The
Diplomatic Wireless Service. Radio and Electronic Technicians and Engineers are
employed by government departments such as the Post Office, the Home Office and
the Board of Trade. Technicians and engineers are, of course, also employed in
all sections of the Radio Industry. Furthermore Radio Staff of all types are
continuously sought in this country for service in overseas territories.
Clearly there is a
vast and ever-expanding range of Radio and Electronic equipment which must be
designed, manufactured, tested, installed, operated, maintained and, from time
to time, modified. The opportunities in all branches are obvious for there will
continue to be a steady demand for personnel in all sections, and a shortage of
specialists having the deeper knowledge required for the more responsible positions.
Here then is a wonderful chance for young people of either sex, especially
those who are mechanically minded, or are interested in Radio or Electronics
generally, not only to make their hobby their profession, but also to prepare
themselves for a useful and rewarding career with a very definitely assured
The Wireless College,
Colwyn Bay, has been established as a
residential training centre for nearly 50 years. Our primary activity has
always been, and still is, the training of Radio Officers for the British
Merchant Navy but we also offer a general training for appointments in all
branches of radio. During the 1939/45 war we relaxed our original ''young men
only'' rule and trained dozens of young women, in addition to many hundreds of
young men for essential war service in the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy.
We have never re-introduced the ''young men only'' rule and from time to time
during the last 20 years we have had small numbers of female students. We
originated and have developed the idea of healthily situated and completely
self-contained Residential Wireless Training Centres and the fact that students
are able to live in a ''radio atmosphere'' contributes significantly to their
progress and our continued success.
RADIO OFFICERS in
the BRITISH MERCHANT NAVY or at BRITISH COAST STATIONS are required to hold a
certificate of competence issued by H.M. Postmaster-General. P.M.G.
Certificates are issued in three grades - SPECIAL CLASS, SECOND CLASS and FIRST
CLASS; the minimum training periods (for students following a standard course)
being 2 1/2 terms, 3 1/2 terms and 4 1/2 terms respectively.
CERTIFICATE entitles the holder to operate apparatus in small ships, such as fishing vessels
and private yachts which are not by law compulsorily fitted
with radio. Because of its limited usefulness, training for the Special
Certificate alone is not recommended. The SECOND CLASS CERTIFICATE entitles the
holder to serve as a junior Radio Officer in any British ship and as the Radio
Officer-in-charge in some British ships.
The FIRST CLASS CERTIFICATE entitles the holder to be the Radio
Officer-in-charge of the entire Radio installation and the Chief of the entire
Radio staff in any British ship. Various periods of qualifying service for the
different categories of ship are required before obtaining a Chief's
appointment so all new entrants to the Service start as juniors with the same
rates of pay regardless of whether they hold First or Second Class
Certificates. A duplicated slip showing
the standard rates of pay is enclosed. The employment position varies from time
to time but, in general, appointments are readily available as soon as the
Second Class Certificate is secured. Nevertheless when circumstances permit it
is better to obtain a First Class Certificate before going to sea rather than
to go with a Second Class Certificate intending to return for further training
at some future date. Some employers insist on, or give preference to,
applicants holding more than the legal minimum qualification, and they are
prepared to pay above the agreed minimum rates. The P.M.G. Certificates are
generally required for operating appointments ashore, with preference being
given to holders of the First Class Certificate.
appointments in the CITY AND GUILDS OF LONDON CERTIFICATES in
TELECOMMUNICATIONS ENGINEERING have general acceptance. Certificates are issued
to candidates passing individual examinations but in addition those candidates
who pass a prescribed number of examinations in an approved sequence can apply
for a Grouped Certificate which carries much greater weight.
INTERMEDATE TELECOMMUNICATIONS CERTIFICATE is issued to candidates who have
passed in:- Practical Mathematics; Engineering Science; Elementary Telecommunications
Practice; Mathematics for Telecommunications ''A'' ; Telecommunications
Principles ''A'' ; and Radio ''A''. The last three passes must be obtained in
the same year. Candidates already holding G.C.E. ''O'' Level in Mathematics are
exempted from the Practical Mathematics Examination and those already holding
G.C.E. ''O'' Level in Physics, Physics-with-Chemistry, or General Science, are
exempted from the Engineering Science examination.
appointments as junior technicians are generally available to holders of the
Grouped Intermediate Certificate, it is unusual to proceed beyond that stage by
full-time study. The usual procedure is to take an appointment and to study for
higher qualifications on a part-time basis either by correspondence or at
evening classes. Full-time courses are, however, arranged whenever a number
sufficient to form a class require the more advances training.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNICIANS' CERTIFICATE is issued to candidates already
holding the Intermediate Telecommunications Certificate on passing :-
Telecommunications Principles ''B'' and ''C'' : Mathematics for
Telecommunications ''B'' and ''C'' : and Radio ''B'' and ''C''. The three ''C''
level passes must be obtained in the same year.
The CITY AND GUILDS
OF LONDON FULL TECHNOLOGICAL CERTIFICATE in TELECOMMUNICATIONS ENGINEERING is
issued to candidates, who are over 21 and who have had an adequate experience
in a responsible Telecommunications appointment, on passing two SUPPLEMENTARY
EXAMINATIONS in a specialist subject.
There is very little
difference between the theoretical syllabuses of the P.M.G. First Class
Certificate and the C. & G. Intermediate Telecommunication
Certificate. The foundational material
is the same so it is possible to prepare for both Certificates simultaneously,
finishing off with the specialised training for each at the end of the course.
Time and other circumstances permitting, those students who do not intend to
make the sea a permanent career should complete our Comprehensive Radio Course
for the P.M.G. Second Class Certificate, the P.M.G. First Class Certificate and
the C. & G. Intermediate Telecommunication Certificate. Provided they keep
up their studies whilst they are at sea they remain qualified to make application
for a shore appointment whenever they feel inclined to do so. Looking to the
future it is fairly certain that in the next decade or two present day Radio
Officers, with the emphasis on their communicating roles, will gradually be
replaced by Electronics Officers who are Technicians rather than Operators. The
precise form which the appropriate examination will then take has not yet been
decided but as an interim measure the combination of a P.M.G. First Class
Certificate and a C. & G. Intermediate Telecommunication Certificate is
regarded by all associated with Marine Radio as becoming increasingly
desirable. Even those wishing to make a career of the sea, our Comprehensive
Radio Course is to be recommended.
STANDARD. A genuine interest in radio, the desire to succeed, and the
willingness to study are essential. Because the absence of these cannot be
compensated for by academic qualifications alone, we do not hold formal
entrance examinations, nor do we insist on specific academic qualifications before
entry. However, a reasonable standard in ordinary arithmetic and a fair command
of the English language, indicated by the ability to understand and learn from
printed instructional material and the ability to express ideas clearly on
paper, are essential. G.C.E., ''O'' Level, or C.S.E. passes in these subjects,
with perhaps Physics or General Science, are ideal, but the lack of such formal
qualifications is no barrier. Provided a basic ability and the will to work are
present, any slight handicap arising from the lack of a formal basic
educational qualification can readily be overcome during the first term or two.
is not required for the P.M.G. Certificates nor for the lower grade City and
Guilds Certificates. Although students must be interested in Radio and
Electronics, previous knowledge or experience of the subject is not necessary
for our standard courses are designed to suit the requirements of students
starting from scratch. Prospective students with previous training and experience,
perhaps in the armed forces, should enrol for our Special Classes.
AGE OF ENTRY.
Students can commence with us as soon as they have reached the statutory
minimum school leaving age but, apart from this restriction, there is neither a lower nor an upper age limit.
However, since an adequate basic
education is essential, it is
recommended that unless his basic education is already well advanced a
student should not leave ordinary school at the earliest opportunity.
TIMES OF ENTRY. We
have three terms each year, each term containing twelve weeks uninterrupted
instruction. New students are admitted at the beginning of each term; in early
January, late April, and mid-September. Late entry, up to two weeks after a
term has begun, can be arranged if necessary. It is in order for students with
previous training or experience, who are enrolling for Special Classes, to
commence their training at any time during a term.
STAFF AND EQUIPMENT.
The Founder-Principal was actively associated with the College for over 40
years before which he had considerable experience in the erection, operation
and maintenance of some of the world's first large transmitting stations. The
present Principal, before assuming that role, had nearly 20 years experience in
Radio teaching covering all departments, and maintains a close supervision over
all stages and all sections of the training. Our Instructors are experts in
their respective departments, each specialising in one section of the course,
but all hold the certificates for which they are preparing students and all
have had operating or technical experience either at sea or on land or both.
They are thus fully conversant with the intricacies of preparing for
examination, passing examinations, and doing the job when a Certificate has
Installed in the
College in such a way as to resemble closely a typical Ship's Radio Cabin is
the following Marine Radio Equipment specially supplied by Marconi
International Marine Co. Ltd. :-
'Oceanspan VII' MAIN
Transmitter 'Lifeguard' Automatic
Transmitter 'Alert' Emergency
'Electra' Main Receivers 'Lodestone'
Keying Device 'Salvita' Lifeboat
We also have
numerous other items of marine, aircraft and commercial equipment, together
with Test Instruments, Signal Generators, Oscilloscopes, etc.
COLWYN BAY is a modern seaside
town and its popularity as a health resort throughout all seasons of the year
has, in recent years, steadily increased. The College, overlooking the
seafront, approximately in the centre of the sweep of the Bay and adjoining Eirias Park,
is centrally heated and all rooms are light, sunny, and well ventilated. From
the rear the outlook is quite open, giving uninterrupted views of the
surrounding country and mountains. There are facilities for all sports and
recreations, either in the College itself, or with local clubs in the town who
welcome our students, and we have our own theatre, seating about 150. Parents
can rest assured that students will not only receive a most thorough training
in the shortest possible period under conditions which cannot be surpassed, but
will also, whilst in training, be kept familiar with regular habits and upright
INSTRUCTION - £84 PER TERM (for dormitory accommodation) payable terminally in
advance. The only extras are printed instructional material for the whole
course and headphones, costing jointly about £6, this being added to the first
term's account. Students under 18 years of age attend as boarders unless they
go to their own homes daily, and are always under the jurisdiction of the
Instructors. The Instructors maintain an out-of-class rota of duties and are
available to help the Boarders at all reasonable times.
We have a limited
number of more comfortably furnished small rooms, each accommodating two, three
or four students at an extra charge of £6/10/- PER TERM. Subject to
availability, single rooms are £9/15/-
extra PER TERM.
DAY STUDENTS. Responsible
students over 18 years of age capable of managing their own affairs, and those
who live near enough to the College to go to their own homes each day, are
acceptable as Day Students and are under our jurisdiction during Class Hours
only. TRAINING FEE £36 PER TERM payable terminally in advance. We have a list
of addresses where accommodation is available in the town at from 90/- weekly.
For periods of
attendance shorter than one term, a fee equal to one-tenth of the full term's
fee, payable in advance, is charged for each college week - Monday to Saturday
- or part thereof, provided that such a period of attendance has been proposed
and agreed to in advance.
Fees not paid in
advance are subject to 10% addition.
Class Hours :-
Mondays, Tuesdays 9.30 a.m. to 12-30 p.m
Fridays 1-30 p.m. to 5-0 p.m.
Wednesdays 9-30 a.m. to 12-30
p.m. to 2-30 p.m.
Saturdays 9-30 a.m. to
SPECIAL CLASSES. For
prospective students with previous training and experience it is usually
possible to arrange a special course which enables them to secure a certificate
in the shortest possible period. For this an additional fee of £6/10/- per
term, or pro-rata for shorter periods, is charged.
SCHEME. Under this scheme selected students, a limited number at any one time,
are permitted to leave their training fees, (not the boarding fees) unpaid
until they qualify. The outstanding fees, plus 10%, are then repaid after
appointment by monthly allotment from the Radio Officer's salary. Students
wishing to train under this scheme must complete one probationary term on a
fully paid basis.
APPEARANCE. Nothing special nor expensive is required in the way of clothing.
Students coming to us straight from ordinary school can continue to use the
clothing they already have. All need only bring the articles of clothing one
would take anywhere for a three months' stay. The College uniform is optional
so the guiding principle can be that if the student has finished growing and is
due for a new outfit, then this can conveniently be the uniform. Patterns and
prices, with self-measurement forms, are available, post-free and without
obligation , from our tailors,
Messrs. Harveys, Leadenhall Street, London E.C.3. When a student qualifies the
College uniform needs only new buttons and gold lace to convert it into a Radio
Officer's working uniform.
We supply all bed
linen so the only items required, in addition to clothing, are towels and
toilet requisites. Personal laundry can either be sent home or can be handed to
the local laundry man who calls each week, or can be taken by the student to
the local launderette.
expected to maintain a standard of dress and personal appearance in keeping
with that of ship's junior officers in training.
INTERVIEWS. As the
majority of our students come from too far away for them to make a special
journey, we do not insist on a personal interview before acceptance and
admission, but for those who live within easy travelling distance, or for whom
there are any special circumstances best dealt with verbally, a personal
interview is recommended. Interviews can be arranged at almost any time on any
day, Saturdays and Sundays included especially during term-time, so it is only
necessary to write a few days in advance giving the date and approximate time
of your proposed visit.
complete Government examinations for the P.M.G. Certificates are held at the
College during every year, so that, regardless of his time of entry and his
rate of progress, each student can enter for the examination as soon as he is
ready. The First and Second Class examinations are in two parts - Part One,
Written Theory - Part Two, Morse and practical. A Part One examination is held
at the end of each term and a Part Two examination is held half-way through
each term. The Part One examination must be passed before Part Two examination
can be attempted but a Part One pass is valid for 12 months allowing a maximum
of three attempts at Part Two. City and Guilds examinations are held once each
year between late April and early June.
Employers are generally waiting for the results of our examinations so it is
not unusual for qualifying students to be in good appointments, in the ocean-going
ships of the British Merchant Navy, within two or three weeks of obtaining
their Certificates. For shore appointments the demand is less continuous but
qualified students have a vast range of employers to whom they can apply for
appointments which will make them self-supporting and give excellent
opportunities for advancement.
Merchant Navy Radio Officers are required to be reasonably well developed and
to be physically fit. It is impossible to give details here but young men of
normal build, who enjoy normal health, and who have had no serious illness
which may have left some complications, are almost certain to pass the medical
examination necessary before appointment. However, in cases where any doubt
exists it is advisable to have the medical examination before commencing the
P.M.G. Course here and this can be arranged if required. Colour vision is not
tested and spectacles may be worn for the eyesight tests. Vaccination against
Smallpox and Yellow Fever will be necessary before going to sea.
NATIONALITY. To be
eligible to hold a P.M.G. Certificate and to serve as a Radio Officer in a
British Merchant ship, a student must be British born; or of British-born
parent's; or a naturalised British Subject; or a naturalised British parent.
For this purpose Eire, Commonwealth countries,
and countries under British Sovereignty at the time of the student's birth are regarded as British. Non-British students
can take the training and sit for the P.M.G. examinations but on passing are issued
only with a statement of competence instead of the normal certificate. All
prospective students, between being accepted and being admitted, are required
to furnish credentials so as to establish their status in this matter.
The College is
recognised by the leading Wireless, Radar, Television, Cable and Shipping
Companies. Our apparatus is licensed by H.M. Postmaster General, and the
College is an official P.M.G. Examination centre.
Your attention is
respectively drawn to the enclosed list of successes. These lists indicate the
names and home districts of students obtaining the various grades of
Certificate in each year. Because of their vast number it is possible to give
details of our successes only for very recent years, nevertheless you will undoubtedly
find names from your part of the world.
As we invariably
have students coming from every part, there is usually no difficulty in
arranging for students to travel with others from the same or from adjoining
districts, if desired. All inward trains on opening days carry large numbers of
our students so that new students, whether or not in uniform, are sure to meet
In this booklet it
is impossible to give anything more than broad, general details of our
activities. Further information or advice on any one or a number of aspects
will gladly be given on request absolutely free of charge and without
obligation. Such a request should preferably be accompanied by a completed
application form to provide us with the background information we require to
give the most helpful answers to your questions.
The submission of a
completed application form is the first step towards admission to the College,
but entails no obligation. If the applicant is acceptable a place will be
offered either for the date of entry requested or for the earliest date
thereafter on which places are available. A definite reservation can then be
made, if so desired, by forwarding the usual deposit of £5, which is deductable
from the first term's fees.
TRAINED WHERE SUCCESS IS CERTAIN
LEADING WIRELESS TRAINING CENTRE
of Stage in College Theatre (taken from Balcony) Student taking bearings on college direction Finder
Oceanspan VII Transmitter, Lifeguard Automatic Alarm,
Emergency Receiver and Aerial Switching Unit as installed
the College. - Photo by courtesy of Marconi Marine.
''Marconi Loadestone Direction Finder,'' ''Automatic Keying device,''
''Alert Emergency Receiver.'' ''Mercury and ElectraReceivers,'' and
''Reliance Emergency Transmitter'' installed In the College.