MARITIME
RADIO
STATIONS
OF THE
WORLD
GKR Wives 1976

Wick Radio
GKR

UK Index 
World index

Wick Radio
PEOPLE

Sandy Mowat

Sandy Mowat was the boss - the Officer in Charge of Wick Radio. At the rank of Radio Assistant Superintendent (RAS), Sandy was the senior Coast Station man in Scotland (There were others at RAS rank in Ship Radio inspection Offices) and was once referred to by the head of one of the large Scottish fishing fleets as the "chief radio operator".

Sandy was to be feared! He was an old time Post Office man, with a nack of picking you up on the one minor error you had made all day !

The role of Manager of the Radio Station was viewed locally as one of significance. Sandy could often be seen taking coffee with others with significant roles in the town, such as Bank Managers.

Sandy Mowat - Officer in Charge
Sandy Mowat - Radio Assistant Superintendant
Sandy Mowat supervising operations at GKR

Jimmy Kay

Jimmy Kay was a Glaswegian who spent many years at GKR, serving the local community at a Wick Town Councillor.

Despite his service to community, he was reminded by locals that he would never be a Wicker. "But", said Jimmy, "my daughters are." "They will be", responded the locals, "but not 'till you're deed".

After serving as the station's Overseer, following the retirement of Sandy Mowat Jimmy was promoted to Radio Assistant Superintendant and, in the role of Field Manager Scotland, was the liaison Manager for all Scottish coast radio stations.

Jimmy was born on 25th April 1920, the same day that Wick Radio GKR commenced operations under ownership of the General Post Office (GPO), a fact that was mentioned during the diamond jubilee celebrations of the station in 1980.

Jimmy retired from Wick Radio and continued to live in Wick where he died in 1996 at the age of 76.

 

Jimmy Kay
Jimmy Kay Radio Overseer
Jimmy Kay at DF Point
Wick Radio Diamond Jubilee Celebration 1980

Cecil Clark

Cecil Clark came to Wick Radio following a career as a Radio Officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Cecil went on to become Station Manager before moving to a post as Radio Surveyor in the London Ship Radio Inspection Office based in the government's London Marine Office. The pictures adjacent and below were taken at the time of Cecil's departure from GKR and were published in local newspapers with the caption-

Officer in Charge of Wick Radio for four years, Mr Cecil Clark (centre left) received a Caithness decanter and glasses from Scottish Field manager Mr James A R Kay to mark his departure to a promoted post with the Ship Inspection department in London. The gift was made on behalf of Mr Clark's colleagues at the radio station.
Looking on (centre) is Mr Robert Dixon, the station's new Officer in Charge.

Cecil Clark presentation by Jimmy Kay

Cecil's spell at the London Marine Office was then followed by promotion to a management post in the London Headquarters of Maritime Radio Services.

Cecil continued his career in maritime radio when he became communications manager for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, retiring from that post at the end of 2005.

Cecil then went on to further one of his long term activities in the church, becoming part of the leadership team in St Barnabus Church, Bearwood, Bournmouth.

Presenttion to Cecil Clark

Rev Cecil Clark with wife Beryl

Bob Dixon

Taken in 1977, Bob was leaving GKR to take up post at Station Manager at Oban Radio/GNE.

Picture is taken at the 2nd RT position in the main operating room. Bob (front left) is receiving a Caithness Glass lamp from Robbie Sutherland. Also in the picture are John MacAskil, Dave, John, Paul Dewes, Neil Muir and Steve Fell

presentation to Bob Dixon 1977

Tom MacLennan

Tom is pictured sending a TTT/Securitay message on 431kHz at the GKR distress watch and 500kHz working point. Tom was the man responsible for sending the close-down message from GKR on 500kHz.

Tom retired when the service closed down and remained in Wick.

Tom passed away on Wednesday 19th November 2014.

Tom MacLellan at the GKR distress watch point

Charlie Gregory

Charlie served at GKR from 1958 to 1974 before moving on to become Station Manager at Northforeland Radio/GNF and later to Cardiff Ship Radio Inspection Office.

Charlie is a self publishing author.

His book "Fated" can be downloaded or purchased on Lulu. You can preview part of the book on Google. Or you read a full chapter of the book, all about a Sunday at Wick Radio, on Charlie's blog.

Another piece of work from Charlie's pen (or is it his old telegraph typewriter?) is "Sailing with Hunters". This is not yet available in paper form but an early version of it can be read in full online.

Both of the above works give a flavour of the marriage of the sea and radio.

Charlie Gregory on main RT
Charlie Gregory
Charlie Gregory Radio Officer

Some GKR men - 1976

left to right
Bob (half hidden), Steve, Dave, Tony, Sandy

GKR men relaxing

and their GKR Wives

wick radio wives 1976

Glasgow College of Nautical Studies
This class of radio students, taken in June 1971 in the college radio room, contains no less than three future Wick Radio/GKR staff members (Bob Dixon / Les Anderson / Sandy Steel) together with one existing Oban Radio/GNE staff member (Donald Macleod).
The teacher is Bobbie Corcoran (GM3HZA), well known to hundreds of radio officers who were taught by him at GCNS or the James Watt College in Greenock

Glasgow College of Nautical Studies radio students June 1971

George Mochrie

George was born in Muirkirk Ayrshire 31st March 1944. He trained at the James Watt College Greenock and joined MIMCO (Marconi Marine) in June 1962. Joining London & Overseas Freighters in November 1964 until 1970. He then worked at Wick Radio, Sealink, the REOU (Radio Officer Union), P&O, DTp, IDB Mobile, SES and finally back with Marconi in Chelmsford prior to retiring in 2004.

George was in hospital in April 2006 having an operation when he suffered a post operative heart attack from which he never recovered, passing away on the 18th April 2006, survived by his wife Ruth, son Neil and daughter Shona.

George Mochrie

The Men at the End

At the end, staff numbers at GKR were considerably down on it's one-time complement of 30 Radio Officers. In 2008, ten years after the station was de-manned, those who had served at the end met for a reunion meal. Click here or on the picture for a larger image and more information.

2008 reunion of staff at Wick Radio GKR

A Christmas Card from Wick Radio

Christmas card from Wick Radio GKR
  • James Ainslie, Radio Telegraphist
    James is shown as the occupant of the radio station house in both the 1920 and 1925 Valuation Rolls
    Wick Radio on the 1925 valuation roll showing James Ainslie as the occupant of Radio Station House
  • John Hastie
  • Bruce Mackie
    Bruce was Officer-in-Charge of Wick Radio in the 1950's
  • Ian M Malcolm
    Ian worked at GKR in 1953/54. Ian commented that the work at Wick Radio was interesting as was life in Caithness, but he found that a year was enough! He didn't enjoy the split shifts and fixed duties, he didn't get a Saturday off in a whole year and, because the undersea cable to Thorshaven on the Faroe Islands was forever breaking down, he was sometimes called out for 2 hours on a Sunday. Ian transferred to what was then GKL (Portishead Radio in Somerset) and spnt 2 years there before moving on to train as a teacher in Edinburgh.