Ikeda, Alert Bay, Prince Rupert, Digby Island, Dead Tree, Triangle Island, Estevan Point, Pachena, Victoria, Gonzales, Cape Lazo Vince
Front cover of the Vancouver Vocational Institute's 1968 calendar.
Room 19's 1968 course syllabus.

 Vince demonstrating a lifeboat radio transmitter/receiver.  (It was the radio operator's duty to get this radio from its storage space, usually near at hand to the davits, and into the lifeboat.  The other option was to toss this buoyant equipment overboard for retrieval later.  Of course he had to ensure it wasn't dropped into the lifeboat as it would probably take it's bottom out.
This may be a British Marconi Salvor. It was very heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Associated with it would be a canvas bag containing a telescoping vertical antenna, antenna wire, a grounding wire (into the sea water) etc. An instruction card would explain how to erect a suitable antenna in a lifeboat and operate the radio. Frequency would be 500 kHz and 2182 kHz. A toothed wheel, coded with the vessel's radio call sign and also a series of four dashes with one second spaces, could be engaged to key the transmitter if no proficient operator available. Power supplied by some poor sod cranking the side handles. FWS)

  Vince at the radar equipment in Room 19.
Emergency battery bank.

   (In those days, regulations required that there be enough capacity to operate the ship's emergency radio equipment, located in the radio room, for a certain number of hours independently of the main engine room generators. FWS)
A direction finder receiver.  The equipment to the left appears to be an emergency battery powered transmitter on the bottom of the rack, and a distress tone receiver on the top. 

   (No doubt a British Marconi. The circular dial was calibrated in degrees and the goniometer rotated by the knob Vince is holding. The dial would be rotated until a minimum signal was received in the ear phones. FWS)
Motor generator sets.
   (It was common for a manufacturer to provide a M/G set to give the proper voltages for the radio room equipment regardless of what may be encountered in the world wide ship building industry. The motor side would accept the ship's electrical feed, whether AC or DC voltages and the generator side would produce the appropriate voltages for the equipment. FWS)

 A British Marconi shipboard radio room transmitter.

 

   Vince's Room 19 student ID.
August 1969 photo of Vince, on the right, at instructor John Duke's place in White Rock.
Gordon Tremain, a classmate of Vince's, at one of the benches. Note the Morse keys and the ashtray. Students were permitted to smoke in class.
   A couple more classmates, Ray Audit and Gord Campbell.
Unknown 1968 student in Room 19. (British Marconi ship radio room all band receivers. These would generally cover 200kHz to 20 mHz. FWS)
Unknown Room 19 student with a British Marconi Direction Finder receiver. (To the left is a rack containing an autokeyer and emergency 500 kHz band receiver. This rack would run off the radio room's emergency battery system. When the radio officer was off watch, he would set the autokeyer to listen on 500 kHz for a series of 4 second dashes. This was an international agreed upon distress signal. If it did receive the dashes, a bell would ring in the radio office, radio officer's cabin (if off duty) and another in the wheel house thus alerting everyone. The vessel in distress would use the autokeyer to send the dashes via the main or emergency (below) transmitter--thus the radio operator could set all this into operation and head for the lifeboat.  Hopefully he would remember to grab the lifeboat radio!  FWS)

Introduction to Canada


Vince Ramcharran's introduction to Canada (class of 1967) :

  Re Room 19....A significant part of continuing my course at Room 19 was due to Mr. Duke’s intervention. A month after arriving in Vancouver in 1967 and not knowing anyone. Not knowing what to eat, because my mom and sisters always prepared our meals and not familiar with restaurants, I went to Mr. Duke's office in tears saying that I am quitting the course and returning to Guyana. His first response was ‘ You can't do that’ [I see humour in it now]. He asked me to promise to give him one day to think about it. The following day I was called to his office and a Afro-Guyanese lady was there, I am still surprised how he found her. After telling her my problems she told me that Chinese restaurants carry some type of curry foods. I later found one by the cinemas on Granville street and ate there for months after, same meal, curry chicken and steamed rice. I was in curry heaven. Later I married a Canadian and with our four children born here with no strong link to my background, they converted me to a western diet.
    I remember asking the lady how long she lived in Canada and she said 25 years. My thought was, I will first die before I live here for 25 years. Its been 45 years. After that Mr. Duke will take me to his family on weekends overlooking the ocean in White Rock and I cherished the Saturday morning walks along the railway tracks with his wife Kay. I attended their church and met many of their friends, including their neighbour Dr. Johnson.
    Myself and some of the Room 19 guys stayed at a men's hostel at 150 Robson street, where we did some chores to operate the place for our room and board. It was during the days when the buildings in front of the main post office [ new library] and CBC building were wooden houses. I have some photos taken from on top of the building at 150 Robson street, regarding what the area looked like in summer 1968.
    When Mr. Duke retired, they moved to an apartment overlooking the harbour in Victoria and eventually moved back to White Rock, where they spent the rest of their lives.
    I was told that all of the photos of the grads of Room 19, including those from King Edward High school of RO during the war, were taken to Mr. Lawton’s basement and got destroyed in a flood, I believe in 1968. The Room 19 class after ours [1968] had the first female student, I believe after that class, the course was discontinued.
Room 19 class in full swing. Head instructor Walter Lambert is the tall fellow at the front. Bowerman photo

Vince's Room 19 Experience

   In 2013 Vince Ramcharran sent along some photos of him at Room 19's equipment. Vince took the course in 1968 and after graduation found himself on the SS Tiha as a radio operator.

    My comments denoted by FWS.
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