i worked at fordrough lane, bordesley green, brum. from 1960---1962.played football for gpo. ground was hall green by the old 37 bus terminus. i have a brother, bill. he has passed on now,4 years ago this month. he worked as a wag then postman until he retired in 1998, then got married to janet a week later. i have been trying to find the date a colleague from the lane got killed coming to work .he was knocked off his motor scooter by a wimbush van on the corner of eastfield road--bordesley green, either 1961 or 62. i can not find any reference for his death on D--M--B. his name was alcot. one or two --L--i dont know. i tried to look up other wags from that period--i think it was stoke who hold all the .records--but i was told they have no records for wags past 1959 unbelievable.!!. some names i remember--------bough--rivers---thompson--p.cook--bayliss--faulkner--rae--ashford--alcot--griffiths--buet. i hope i have spelt their names correctly. our gaffers name at the lane was mr nichols. we had to call him sir. our overall boss was cox from hill st--town-. we had not used to wear our sam browns at the lane and when we were told cox was coming it was one mad rush to get them out of our lockers and put them on..sometimes we were to late and got threatened with skins or majors. good days.
In memory of my father Martin Le Page who passed away August 2008, I include an exert from the book he published "A Boy Messengers War", in which he recounts his life during the German Occupation of Guernsey 1940 - 1945.
"I walked into the Teleprinter Room, only to find that the solitary occupant was a German. Worse than that, he had a machine-gun by his side. I stopped dead in my tracks for a second, and then realised, for he had not moved, that he was asleep, and I gently tiptoed out of the room to look for more congenial company.
When I found some senior colleagues they could only tell me that he was part of the Luftwaffe section which had arrived at the Post Office the previous evening. One of them had pushed a machine-gun into the stomach of the clerk who opened the door to their knocks, and that was the end of postal and telegraphic communication with the Mainland. Not, however, before the other clerk on duty had rapidly sent a farewell message to Central Telegraph Office in London"
My father went on to work in the Post Office for 46 years, 1939- 1984, and was awarded the Imperial Service Medal in recognition of his long service. During his career he progressed from Messenger Boy with the GPO to Controller of Posts for the Guernsey Post Office .
In the last few years of his life he enjoyed the camaraderie of the Birmingham Messenger Boys reunions and my thanks go to Keith Cheshire and Roger Green for making him so welcome.
His book is still available and anyone interested, please email Sue Bevan firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes I remember that one - originally I wrote the wag song as I had an idea to write some kind of musical or movie about it - it had references to various people's names I worked with but I couldn't come up with much of a plot so put it on the back burner. Then last year I recorded my novel onto tape as audible.com wanted to publish it and I had to get some recording equipment downloaded when I decided to record it myself. So I had the equipment and recorded quite a lot including the Irish CD from my show and then I kind of re-jigged the wag song with new lyrics etc. I wrote the chorus a long time ago but needed to make the verses more acceptable to people in general and not just the wags who worked with me. It's a coincidence that it has been released on iTunes to more or less coincide with the reunion but joining the web site made me think of the song I had started but not finished some time ago. Take care.
hi chris, are you aware of the 1963 British movie - live it up - its about a group of telegram boys who start a rock band and go for stardom, loads of scenes of the lads in uniform on the bantams, great stuff, stars a very young, gangly david hemmings, also has one of my hero's, steve marriot, of small faces fame later, as the drummer, also got appearances from people like kenny ball, outstanding movie, never saw it at the time but caught a glimpse on daytime t.v. one time and nearly fainted, brings it all back, managed to track it down thru the British film society on the net, cheers _________________ paul girling
That's a laugh - I fell for it for a moment thinking there was some fella with the same name somewhere; I did the same for a mate.
Your bike at 39 seconds: it's very hard for me to remember my bike although I can still remember the pain in my right foot when I had to change down and the gear lever didn't have the little rubber piece on it. We had to walk around with it in our pockets inm case someone took it. It was OK if you were wearing thick boots.
Anyway what year was your bike active? It is a great photo but we made it look a bit faded for the video - if I had have had some footage of the time I would have used it but I couldn't find any so I settled for me dreaming.
I was up near Birkenhead with the army cadets - somewhere near Hightown in sand dunes I remember and then when I started as an actor I did a show called A Family at War playing a soldier and we filmed it in the same place - I remember one night we went into the bar of the hotel there and the pop singer David Whitfield came in with his girl friend who looked about 14!!!!
in liverpool we were known as tally boys chris, the video is amazing, well done, really nice to see a picture of my bike included in there as well. its still in the tram museum in birkenhead if anyone wants to take a look, great vid _________________ paul girling
In case you want to actually listen to the Wag Song and see the video it is now up on line - by the way I only recently found out that a mopper was another word for what we called a wag and I wonder how many other names we were called - names you can decently print that is!! Anyway here is the link for the video:
Last Edit: Apr 16, 2009 22:45:04 GMT by Matt James
Hi I was a telegraphist in Birmingham from June 1970 - April 1992. We moved from Victoria Square in April 1971 to the PLSO were I remained until the 'IG' closed in July 1982. I then moved to the international telegram / telemessage office at 60 Station Street. The actual inland telegram service continued there until it ceased in October 1982. I trained as a telegraphist at the Home Counties Regional Training School at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, now a museum and site of interest due to its role in World War 2. It was a great service to work in and despite not being over-paid in those days it felt very secure to be employed by the Post Office. The main supervisor was Reg 'Billy' Cotton, other supervisors were Lil Walker, Molly Harrison, Peter Green, Bernard Hall, Ray Turner and Tom Andrews. We also had to work at South West TDC (Selly Oak), South East TDC (Sparkhill) and North East TDC (Erdington) - where of course the telegram boys would be mostly based. I do occasionally come into contact with 'messenger' Paul Kennedy who is quite high up in the CWU these days. I am still a member of the CWU as a rep. at Manpower Business Services on the Cable & Wireless contract - where I am a telephone operator. Hopefully I will retire in 2010, just biding my time now. Hopefully some other telegraphists will contact you - thanks for your letter in the Redditch Advertiser. What a good idea to try and get the telegraphists to keep in touch with each other. Regards James (Jamie) Matthews.
I am now 80 years old (2008) and was privileged to be a telegram messenger boy T51 in Aberdeen from 1942 – 1945 when I left the Post Office to join the Fleet Air Arm
Of the many telegrams I delivered and the recipients I met, the one that stands out the most prominent, and with a mixture of joy and sadness was the following, in late 1944 the Japanese Government agreed to release some of the most seriously wounded British Personnel held in captivity by the Japanese in the Far East
One dark October morning I was given a telegram to deliver to a lady living in Castlehill Barracks one of the most deprived and poverty stricken areas in Aberdeen I went up the tenants stairs, found the address and was looking for a number at the door (in those days if you delivered a priority telegram it was always advisable to wait in case there was a reply )
A lady came to the door in her night dress opened the telegram and gave a loud painful and tearful cry, “My Mans coming Home” wait there young Laddie she said and disappeared, shortly afterwards came back and gave me two coins which I put straight in to my pocket , thanking her When I looked later there were two half crowns , probably all the money she had in the house and certainly the biggest tip I ever had as a messenger boys
(Ex General Secretary Telephone Contract Officers Association)
The photo’s below are of my Father as a Telegram Messenger Boy, taken in 1924 at the age of 14 years. He is the boy on the right. My fathers name was George Gregory, born February 18th 1910 in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
He work in the G.P.O. for 46 years all his working life, as a Telegram Boy, then as a Telegraphist, and later on the counter at Market Harborough Post Office
Dad received the Queens Coronation Medal in 1953 for working 25 years as a postal telegraph officer
In WW2 he was posted to India where he was in signals
Probably his cycling to deliver telegrams gave him a love of cycling and he was a founder member of the Welland Valley Wheelers, eventually becoming a life member. He won many prizes, helped with the training for the Olympics Games. George used to cycle 100 miles from Market Harborough to London to see my Mother Elsie before they were married. It must have been worth the ride!
Telegrams were widely used before the days of electronics most people received telegrams of congratulations on their wedding day, which the best man would read out I know that we received some in 1961
A real sign of the change of the times is a telegram that I found to my Mother in hospital on the day that my younger brother was born in 1952, congratulating his wife on the birth of his son, looking forward to seeing the baby at visiting time in the evening! These days the father has to be at the birth, helping out.
I am researching my family history and found out that my grandfather, George’s father was also a Post Messenger Boy at the age of 13. This is on the 1901 census for Market Harborough John Gregory he was born in 1888
I was born in Bristol , both sides of my family were Bristolians. My Mother before her marriage had worked in the Post Office , in the days of Morse Code
My Father two uncles and a cousin were all employed in the Bristol Main Office. Although I was at grammar school in 1936 at the age of fifteen, my mother advised me to apply for a position in the Post Office.
In those days it was not easy to obtain a job I was made up to Telegraphist in 1936, I had by then reached 30 words a minute.
During the war we worked 12 hours a day seven days a week, with a Sunday off every two weeks.
I was in the building the night it was set on fire during an air raid , it was 1am and we had to run , on a November night , with water from the firemens hoses raining down upon us and bombs falling too near for comfort, to telephone avenue, where we were taken to the basement and given stretchers and a blanket and we all slept until morning.
We were, after that moved to another building and then to a very large underground room two hundred of us in the room. There was no air conditioning, we were allowed to go out and stand in the street for brief periods to obtain fresh air. Two of the girls developed T.B. and one of the men, after being called up, developed T.B. and died overseas
Part of my job at the time was to teach the teleprinter to girls of the three forces . We were restricted to a very few circuits mainly TS, BM,MR,GW,EX.
I was one of ten out of two hundred, selected to learn codes to enable us to go underground should Hitler invade, I am still able to remember the codes, even thought I now find it difficult to remember which day it is . Before the war there was a canteen on the sixth floor with a piano on which, a very talented girl named Margaret Dowell would entertain us with all the hit tunes of the times
Two of us were sent to Taunton to the counter school, I was not keen on counter work. Two of us were sent to Truro in Cornwall in 1944, as they were short of telegragphist.
I met my husband at that time a Cornishman we were married in 1944 and I went to live in Newquay. I had to retire from the Post Office and received £80 service pay, I later worked as a temp in the Newquay office but became pregnant and had to leave
We moved to Bristol in 1952 and after two years we moved to what was then a village called Nailsea, it is about eight miles south of Bristol
In 1962 during a winter of snow and ice I was asked to work at the local telephone exchange as a telephone operator as a temp. When Nailsea went automatic, we were asked to work in Bristol. Then union negotiated pension rights for us at the age of 60 I retired and have drawn a pension ever since, I am now 87 (2008) the pension at present is £92.31 a month not a fortune but it helps
Sally is a name by which I am known but was christened Audrey