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This web site is to remember Post Office and BT services and people who provided these services from the 1950's to the 1980's

 

This fascinating history of Electra House and itís connection to NASA are with special thanks to John Reeve
(who is now 91) and his Granddaughter Sarah Facey :-

When I was in the RAF I was trained in radio communications and morse code.
I received the basic training in the RAF and shortly after this I attended and passed a high level Radio training course at Cable and Wireless in London.
I was then posted to Cairo during the war as a Radio Operator.

After I served my time in the RAF I applied for and got a job at Electra House with Cable and Wireless.
Other servicemen whom I had known also started work there. I recall when I first started at EH that we had our own doctor, nurse and even a dentist that the company provided.
I also remember that on occassion people would frequent the EH bar or the Cheshire Cheese and they could often be found sleeping it off on their desks!
I initially worked in the Overseas Telegraph room but I wasnít there very long as President Kennedy decided to put a man and the moon and bring him back again!
At the time, the only way this could be achieved was for part of NASA to operate in London as London, Cable and Wireless, was the communication centre of the world.

NASA came to Electra House, london and selected myself and I think, five others. Their names were, Hughie Hynd, Joe Dreezer, Burt Ashley,Tommy Blake and Eric Weldon - I am not sure these are the correct
spelling of the names and I apologise if I have the spelling wrong. We were taken away from all other operations in Electra House and trained by the Americans.
I recall someone saying in EH that once we went to NASA we simply disapeared!
We didn't - we just went to the ground floor and had a room which was locked off from the rest of the building.
I recall it had NASA STRICTLY NO ENTRY on the door. The six of us worked shifts alone and other than an occassional big wig from cable and wireless/GPO or NASA who occassionally popped in to have
a look around, we didn't see anybody.

We had to work to American protocol and ways of working, our Manager was an ex forces American. We didn't have the same manager all the time, they changed roughly every two years.
My job was basically monitoring data. Technical information/data was sent from space, from the crafts and satellites and my job was to check that information came through strongly and correctly
and that it was passed on in the same manner and reached its destination in tact. This was very important especially during the NASA missions because if the data signal was too weak or came through
garbled the engineers and technical staff could not monitor the condition of the space craft and spot any potential disaster.
Not being able to do this could potentially have had a direct and fatal impact on those aboard the craft.

In order to maintain the quality of the data it was put through an amplifying system. If the signal was weak or garbled I would have to send the data a different route via a stronger signal.
I could switch the signal to anywhere in the world including Australia and to/through ships based in the Indian ocean, pacific ocean and the Atlantic ocean among other places.

We had three tracking stations, one in the States, one in Madrid and one in Australia. I also had a direct voice link to these countries and I got to know my collegues in the other countries well.
I still write to the chap who was based in Spain. I also spoke to many of the astronaughts over the years on numerous occassions.
The space missions was not the only data that was monitored and passed on, I recall I also had to monitor data quality from other satellites including the weather satellite Nimbus.

I very much enjoyed my job and was sorry to retire! During my time at EH which I believe to be from 1946 - 1984, I participated in all the NASA programmes including Gemini, Apollo and the shuttles.'

John Reeve (aka Leslie Reeve)

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