10 March 2004

First Draft: South Shields. The Examinations

After 18 months study suddenly it seemed the exams were closely in the offing. I had tried my best with my studies I felt, but was that enough? I felt fatalistic and I remember thinking, "Well I can't do much about it now. Hopefully I'll scrape through".

The day of the exams arrived. There were 2 three-hour papers to sit.

1. Principles of Electricity and Magnetism.

2. Radio Theory and Practise.

Each paper consisted of 8 questions. Three compulsory questions and 5 other questions. Six questions to be attempted, 2 of which must be from the compulsory list.

Next day came a practical examination in operating and faulty finding procedures of marine receiving and transmitting equipment and other ancillary equipment.

Then we came to the Morse examination receiving and sending and operating procedures.

To cut a long story short I failed the examinations. I could not sit the 2 Theory papers again for 6 months and the Morse and operating examinations again for 3 months. Although I had scraped through in one of the Theory papers I would need to sit both papers again... in 6 months including the practical and operating examinations.

The Morse exam. I had failed miserably. The Westmorland Education Board were very good about the whole thing and I kept my scholarship. I was devastated at the time. It seemed the world had come crashing down on me. I wondered years later, was it my young age that saved me with the Board.

After the Morse examination the Examiner asked me to wait. At that instant I didn't know whether I had passed or failed. After the completed examination of the other students the Examiner came through to me. He asked me if I was aware that I had failed? Miserably I said, "Yes". He told me my operating practises were passable but my Morse sending and receiving was not up to standard... too many mistakes. He told me I needed a lots of practise. The Examiner then paused and asked if I would I be interested in some out of College tuition? He gave me a hand drawn map and suggested if I was interested to come to the enclosed address next Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Little did I know then, I had met my second good Samaritan.

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