My Deuce Time - Noel Wesson

I came from LEO where I trained as a maintenance man on LEO 1 at Cadby Hall, but as they were still trying to get the first LEO 2 to work I was moved to the development lab, an old horse bus station in Shepherds Bush.

Getting fed up with commuting I applied to EE Co and was interviewed by Derek Royle who offered me a job at a lot more money working as a mobile service engineer for Jack Richardson at Starcross Street. What really clinched it for me was when he showed me round the lab and I saw all the Tektronix scopes! Believe it or not all LEO labs had at that time was one double beam Cossor and one single beam Solartron.

After the middle month of the Deuce course Derek sent me to Glasgow to look after the Deuce at the University, newly commissioned by Jeremy Walker and Brian Bispham. The University's site engineer was Tony White, a Brummie who lived for the mountains and had taken the job so he could spend every weekend in the mountains.

That was where I met Ann who acted as my interpreter, the Clydebank accent being unintelligible to a Londoner. It was also where I discovered the joy of living on expenses!

When I returned to Starcross Street I was sometimes called back to Kidsgrove to help commission Deuces, in particular the Atomic Energy one at Capenhurst with Fiery Frank, where I stayed on after hand over while their engineers were trained.

I also went to Belfast to add a special read only Ampex mag tape for playing back flight test info at Short Bros and Harland. I used to visit all the sites in the southern half of the country while Jeremy was Mobile services North.

Brian Bispham used to borrow me from Jack Richardson to help at Guildford, the first machine I had worked on with 2 mushrooms. I recall Brian and I on the roof in a strong wind getting a tarpaulin over the ducting which was letting rain into the Deuce! We were lucky not to get blown off. It was there that I first met Alex Robinson, who had a lovely old Rolls Royce that he sold to buy his house.

Eventually I was offered the job of looking after the Deuce Bureau at Kidsgrove and became a permanent member of Lyncroft instead of a part time one.

We had a brand new 80 column Deuce, and a very old one from NRL. Mike Gaherty and Derek Ranyell were my first engineers, although Derek Renyell went back to Stafford after a short while. When we asked for more help Derek Royle used to give us a couple of engineers off the course for a short while so I met quite a few, but mostly I have forgotten their names.

We eventually got a "Card Operated Typewriter" that was all done by relays and needed as much attention as the two Deuces together. Meanwhile, through the wall they were developing lovely new transistor machines, KDP10 and KDF9 and I transferred to Development, ending my Deuce career.

I remember walking through the bureau when it was being dismantled some years later and all the spares I had kept so carefully were in a heap on the floor waiting for the scrap man. Mike Gaherty stayed on and was in charge of the much increased Bureau, with KDP10 and KDF9. He eventually moved to Kode at Calne in Wiltshire. © Noel Wesson - 19 December 2004