The Ups And Downs Of Jeremy James
Becoming a Grownup in the 1980s
(United Kingdom, Egypt, Oman)
A free pdf copy of Part one and Part two is available to download below:
This book follows on from my earlier book:
The Ups and Downs of Jeremy James - Growing up in New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s.
For a free pdf download of this earlier book please click here.
This continuation of my story is about my time in the 1980s. It is being self published in two volumes (Part 1 and Part 2) and I will be ordering a small print run limited to 100 copies. These will be a high quality hardbound production and will include 538 colour illustrations. At this point in time the cost is assumed to be approx £25 per volume (£50 for both volumes). The pdf download is free but, if you would prefer a hard copy to read or you would like to have it as a memento, please contact me to reserve a copy (
Chapter 1. I leave NZ for an Overseas Experience (1980)
Chapter 2. My first job - Marconi Radar, Chelmsford (1980)
Chapter 3. Posted to Portsmouth, 800 Series Radar (1980)
Chapter 4. The second year of my working holiday (1981)
Chapter 5. Posted to Alexandria in Egypt (1981)
Chapter 6. Return to Portsmouth (1981)
Chapter 7. Posted to Oman, 600 Series Radar (1982)
Chapter 8. I continue at the Thumrait Airbase (1983)
Chapter 9. I continue at the Calibration Lab at Seeb (1984)
Chapter 10. New job with Rohde & Schwarz (1984)
Chapter 11. Learning to be a Salesman (1985)
Chapter 12. New friends in Bournemouth (1986)
Chapter 13. Four weddings and a new house (1987)
Chapter 14. Once in your life you find her (1988)
Chapter 15. JJ and Sue get married (1989)
Chapter 16. Postscript (1990 and after)
Chapter 17. What went wrong with British Engineering?
During the lockdown period in 2020 I took the opportunity to write a book about my early days in New Zealand. This was titled: ‘The Ups & Downs of Jeremy James – Growing up in New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s’.
I self-published, printing 100 copies which I gave away as gifts to friends. At the same time, I created a pdf copy available to anyone as a free download from my website www.jjhc.info
I didn’t have any great expectations but most of my friends said they found the book easy to read and they enjoyed the story. For many of them it was a nostalgic revisit of some aspects of their younger days. My story covered time spent at school with friends and the ups and downs of daily life. It also recorded a social history of the era including how old technology items worked (telephones, cameras, etc). I also gave brief mentions of some of the current events of the time but the thing that really did strike a chord, was noting some of the music that we heard on the radio and in particular the tunes that we all sang along to.
A few of my readers commented that they would love to see a sequel that would continue my story into the 1980s. I am pleased to be able to write that this my third book ‘The Ups & Downs of Jeremy James – becoming a grownup in the 1980s’ is now complete.
Because I was born in 1959, the 1980s just happen to align almost perfectly with my twenties. I was 20 years old at the beginning of 1980 and by the end of 1989 I had turned 30. It also aligns with the period in my life when I was a single man and relatively free of responsibilities.
From 1980 to the end of 1984, I worked as an electronics engineer with a British company called Marconi Radar Systems and for the remainder of the decade I worked as a sales engineer for a German company called Rohde & Schwarz (R&S). During this time, I had a wide range of experiences within the British engineering industry and probably saw far more of it than most people. As a result, much of my story is a social history of what I saw going on around me through that decade.
In addition to covering the electronics industry, I have also brought into my story many of the people who I bumped into along the way and so I hope this social history will be of interest to everyone.
The other aspect that I wanted to cover in this book is the ups and downs of relationships. I spent most of the 1980s as a single man fumbling along looking for a nice young lady with whom to have a personal long-lasting relationship with but despite all my best efforts this took me the whole decade to achieve. Of course, I had no prior training for this. It really was a case of trying things and learning from my mistakes as I went along.
I hope you enjoy my story.
I would like to thank Linda Watson and John Kruiniger for sharing their memories of our early days in the UK. We were part of a group of a dozen Kiwis who all arrived from the other side of the world taking up jobs with Marconi Radar Systems in Chelmsford at the beginning of 1980.
From my time living in Portsmouth, I would like to thank Rebecca Butler, Vanessa Copeland and Angus Raby.
Regarding my time working for Marconi on the 800 radar project in Portsmouth and Egypt, and on the 600 radar project in Oman, I would like to thank: Kevin Bishop, Dick Eassom, Eddy Eagles, Tim Fisher, Roger Franks, Russell Garner, Kevin Howard, Philip Kidd, David Lugton, Charlie Martin, Geoff Merriday, Peter Moore, Phil Raymond, Andy Reed and Andrew Treglohan.
Also sharing memories of time in Oman were Ali Al-Abdullatif, Richard & Rosie Braund, Neil Breeze, Chris Fenton, Alan Field, Audrey Hunt, Ross Ireland, Martin O’Carroll, Ian Pritchard, JT & Anne-Marie Tiller, John & Ilene White. Many of these were fellow runners in the Muscat Hash House Harriers.
I am very much indebted to the members of the Marconi Old Geezers Society (MOGS) many of whom exchanged messages with me regarding their memories of their time working in Chelmsford covering the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This was particularly useful as, while I spent five years working for the company, I only spent my first three months in Chelmsford and so was never up to date with events at the main office. I would like to thank: Steve Bousfield, Brian Buick, Ian Gillis, Don Halstead, Alan Hartley-Smith, Malcolm G D Mack, Barry Pettican, Ken Wilkinson and Ken Wright.
Regarding my Rohde and Schwarz (R&S) days I was very pleased to talk to many of my ex-colleagues, all of whom were very happy to share their memories. I would like to thank: Alison Barber, Brigitte Coley-Heitmann, Steve Cranstone, Colin Dale, Terry Dunford, Steve Goodenough, David Green, Peter Harris, John Hendricks, Nasim Hyder, Jenny Kemp, Stephen Kirk, Campbell Morrow, Tony Norris, Trish Stevens, Paul Ramsden, Brian Watson and David Whitfield.
From my time living in Bournemouth and Chandler’s Ford I would like to thank my special friends, most of whom I am still in regular contact with. Carolyn & Craig Atkinson, Sue & Phil Children, Mark Frankland, Carol Moody, Judy & Angus Raby, Alison & Paul Simmonds, Nichola & Tony Underwood.
Towards the end of 1980 I bought a “Pentax ME Super” camera and over the decade I took thousands of photographs. This was before the days of digital cameras, so all my pictures were taken on rolls of film which allowed 36 images. Once a film was finished, I would send it off for the negatives to be developed and prints made. These would come back a week later. On the back of each print, I carefully wrote down the location, date, and names of friends. This has been an invaluable source of information for this book. In addition to my images, I have also included a few extras given to me by friends and I would like to thank, Michael Bajcar, Richard Braund, Neil Breeze, Brian Buick, Shaun Connor, Howard Curtis, Ian Gillis, Audrey Hunt, David Key, David Lugton, John Kruiniger, Charlie Martin and Linda Watson.
Many of my friends helped me with editing sections of my draft. I would like to thank: Neil Breeze, Dick Eassom, Chris Haines, Michael Heath-Caldwell, Verity Heath-Caldwell, Nasim Hyder, John Kruiniger, Charlie Martin, Martin O’Carroll, Geoff Meads, Philip Raymond, Ian Rock and David Whitfield.
Special thanks also to Tony Hill and Tim Underwood at Sarsen Press in Winchester.
Most of all I would like to thank everyone who I bumped into in the 1980s. We were all sharing our life’s journeys.
Also special thanks to my beautiful wife Sue who has shared my journey from 1988 onwards.