(Page updated: 2010-Mar-7)

Ron Potts

Life Senior Member

Ron Potts

Remembrance of things past-with apologies to Proust

Assigned to Standard Telephones & Cables in Southgate North London, this was the home of Workers Playtime on the BBC at lunch time and an audience of some 10,000 .

A 50kw short wave transmitter which had been manufactured and shipped to Bahrain in the Middle East was prevented from entering the Suez Canal in 1940 and returned to S.T. &C.. In 1943 the ST&C Radar group consisted of 4 divisions. Naval, Army, Air force and Ground Services. The Short Wave Transmitter was converted to a device named Homing G and used as a directional signal for homecoming aircraft crossing the North Sea from Holland. The transmitter was located on the north east coast of England.

August 1960 I travelled on the Great Northern Railway from Winnipeg to Pit Siding, or mile 256 as it was known, which was the distance from Hudson Bay, the terminal for the railway. This was the closest main line connection to the Kelsey Hydro-electric Power project on the Nelson River. The first of many power stations that were developed by Manitoba Hydro.

From The Pas, which was the only station stop from Winnipeg to Pit Siding some 500 miles north was over muskeg which in August was somewhat fluid. This resulted in the diesel locomotive coming off the tracks every few miles as the rail track was essentially floating. The Natives who were allowed to use the railroad as a free means of communication provided the manual labor required to lever the loco back on the track. This was fairly easy as the track would offer little resistance top being levered for the loco wheels. The train journey took some 24 hours instead of the scheduled 12 and to get to the construction site the passenger carriages were shunted onto a siding and a small loco pushed the one passenger car to its final destination.

In the 1980’s while the Iraq-Iran war was in progress I travelled to Isfahan in southern Iran, which was the site of a new steel making plant. The journey necessitated flying first to London GB overnight and taking an Iran Air flight from Heathrow to Teheran at midnight (UK Time), arriving in Teheran airport at 6am the next morning. Before landing I and my fellow traveler – Harvey Polk of Stelco were asked to give our passports to the steward and on landing were segregated into a special bus directly from the aircraft to the airport terminal. There we were told our baggage was being looked after and again by special bus with some 20 other persons of all nationalities taken to a hotel. Not the one we were supposedly registered at in Teheran but a very Iranian hotel. Ushered into the lobby we were greeted by a heavily gowned Mullah and directed to a buffet table which was laid out with fruit and breakfast breads

The next incident was for my companion Harvey to be led away to the nearest elevator by an obvious official. I continued eating and then Harvey arrived from the elevator yelling very loudly that “no way was he going to kneel on a prayer mat and face the east”.

This caused some confusion amongst the various officials and after a short time Harvey and myself were escorted out of the hotel and hurried into a car and driven to our original destination which was another Hotel in Teheran. The reason for the treatment, first as VIP’s and then as undesirables was that we were firstly thought to be in a group ,all on the same plane from GB,, going to a conference of compatriots of the government of Iran and expected to be of the Moslem faith, which, as well as being incorrectly included with the other passengers on the plane we were not on the guest list.

An interesting observation during this same event, when arriving at the site of the steel plant under construction in Isfahan, some 400 km., south of Teheran was that the site was circled by anti-aircraft guns. These were the same guns that were used in Great Britain in the defense of London during the second world war. GB in order to pay the USA for lease lend equipment had sold most of its usable armaments to the Shah of Iran in 1946.