Actual coincidences I have experienced Part 2 – by John Heys G3BDQ


When I was a young lad and before I went to Secondary School one of my pals was a boy named Harold Mellor. Harold was small for his age and was known as “Egg Mellor” by the adults in my life at that time.

About the time I went up to the “Big School” after the eleven plus exams Harold and his rather poor family moved to a new address across the town, too distant to keep up our closefriendship and we lost touch completely. The War began and I served with Bomber Command. Eventually it was all over and the Squadron’s bomber aircraft were replaced by American Dakotas. We flew out to India by stages eventually settling at Mauripur near Karachi, then in India but now a part of Pakistan.

From Mauripur the RAF flew four engined aircraft that had been converted into troop carriers. These planes took thousands of ex-POWs and the soldiers involved in the struggle against Japan home to the UK. One evening on one of the regular visits to the Indian staffed Canteen to buy and guzzle the favourite ‘Ek Oonda Roti’ (One Egg Bread)  egg sandwich when I recognised Harold in the queue for grub and tea. I had not seen him for at least eleven years. He had become an aircrew Navigator and we had a very long natter about times past. I bought a small chest of tea, which he kindly took back to the UK to my grandparents. I never saw him again but think he became his local Hospital Finance Chief.


In 1982 we had a short break away in Coalbrookdale close to Ironbridge and visited most of the fascinating museums in the area. One of these was in a large brick multi-storey building and it housed hundreds if not thousands of cast iron artefacts made when the iron foundry there was operating. The range of items included locomotives and doorknockers. You name it, they made it! When going up the stairs to another display Betty stopped to speak to the son of a neighbour. He lived in Essex but had taken along his dad Mr. Jim Webb the retired Managing Director, and chemist, of the Rye Harbour Oil Refinery. Jim lived at the corner house at the top of Friars Hill just yards away from this house where I live. We had no idea that Jim was visiting the Ironbridge area and we learned that it had been a snap decision made just a day before their trip.

A Few Chance Meetings:-

Going into the Pump Room in Harrogate for morning coffee we encountered a couple of retired headmistresses we knew sitting in the vestibule of the building. They were on a cheap weekend rail excursion.

We were in Corbridge ‘doing the Roman Wall’ but found it impossible to find an evening meal in that small town. We drove over to Hexham and found a Chinese restaurant. No sooner did we sit down than a loud “Yoo Hoo” came from the parents of one of Betty’s pupils whom she knew very well.

They had gone up to Cambridge for the day on their motorcycle combination.


My special and advanced subject at school and college was Geography, especially the sub-division called Physical Geography. In June 1939 my northern hometown had its annual week of holiday when all the mills and factories closed down. That week I went with my parents on a motor coach tour to Newquay in Cornwall, staying in a large bungalow on Pentire Head. Along the southern side of this headland was a deep gorge at the bottom of which was an inlet of the sea. I found this to be fascinating for it was a perfect example of what is known as a ‘drowned valley’. A couple of weeks after my holiday it was exam time and I sat the many papers of the Cambridge School Certificate. One of the important questions on the Physical Geography paper showed the copy of a part of an Ordnance Survey one-inch map. Yes, it was a map of Pentire Head and the Gannel! The questions were such as “If you stood at point A and looked to the north-east what would you see?”

A similar situation arose when I sat the far from easy Physical Geography paper that had been set by London University during my Finals at College. The map location this time was of a section of the limestone valley of the river Manifold in Derbyshire, a classic example of limestone topography.

It was an area that I had visited several times as a boy on day trips by car. These two ‘lucky’ co-incidences helped me to gain Distinctions in both exams. As a footnote I must mention that the place we stayed in on Pentire Head was run by a chap named Morrissey who was the Chief Civil Defence Officer for the South West during the last War. My last visit to Newquay and Pentire was about 2O years ago and I noticed that there had been a lot of new housing developments. The Morrissey establishment was no longer the end house. One of the properties had a nice 40 metre dipole in the garden and a little detective work with the RSGB Callbook soon revealed that it belonged to G4ADV Secretary of the Newquay Radio Club.


One Saturday afternoon in the mid-60s I was trawling the CW end of 20 metres but only hearing the ‘charp-charp’ of Russian ‘Club’ stations and a varied bag of Europeans. Then, as now, I seldom called CQ, but did just that on what seemed to be the only empty few kHz of the band. A strong signal came back which gave the callsign VE3***. Soon I was amazed to learn that it was my old DXing pal G3*** who back in the late 1940s lived not far from my St. Leonards QTH. He was located in Guelph an old Ontario town and the place where Fred Hammond VE3HC the ‘Museum Man’ and loudspeaker manufacturer lived. Another Guelph amateur was named ‘Rocco’ a VE, that I had contacted several times on SSB. ‘Rocco’ had actually been Mayor of Guelph and was a prosperous Plant Hirer and builder of anything made from steel.

My friend G3*** had re-married in 1947 and soon after seemed to vanish. No one knew where they had gone but the favourite rumour was that they were in Mozambique.

Years later around 1975 the VE3*** from Sussex returned to the County and took up his old G3 call. When I first had a meeting with him at his lovely home and well equipped shack he told me that on the particular Saturday years earlier he was tuning around 20 metres and then remembered that in our early days my most used frequency was 14022 kHz. This was because I had a 7 MHz crystal which doubled up to that spot. It was at a time when VFO operation was rare and was a technique frowned upon by the GPO who were still living in the ‘dark ages’ of amateur radio. G3*** must remain anonymous, for he is still very much alive and does not wish to be identified.


Perhaps my good memory has helped to establish some of my co-incidences, but I certainly did not recognise any during my early years, and don’t seem to notice any now that I am becoming quite ancient! I feel sure that some my readers will have experienced similar odd scenarios and situations. ‘Spooky’ things still happen though. Just the other day I left my TV on whilst I was doing something in the kitchen. When I returned to the living room The TV displayed the Menu for ‘Picture Adjustment’. The hand­held was where I had left it. I live alone and have no pets.

John Heys G3BDQ from Vital Spark published August 2008.

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