Norman Whitehead, G4HL died age 96 on 5 September 2013. He was licensed in 1939 in Lancashire and soon found himself called up into the Navy as a Radio Officer. Initially based in Dover, he was in Coastal Forces on Armed Trawlers, specifically HMS Clythness (FY1596) and later HMS Elm (T105), a larger Tree Class MS trawler on convoy duties in the N Atlantic between NW Britain and Iceland. He was also on at least one Arctic convoy to Murmansk. He was a first rate CW operator and resumed amateur radio after 1945 until the late 1950s.
I met him in the late 1970s when he joined the Thames Conservancy in Reading, whilst he was living in Aldershot and was a member of the Farnborough club. On approaching his retirement in 1982, I encouraged him to re-take the Morse test and apply for his old callsign. He soon became active again, retiring and moving back to Dover where he join the Dover club. He was then on the air using CW and almost daily on SSB, keeping sheds with many friends on 80m nets and later on 60m, morning and afternoon, occasionally on 20m with friends in the United States when conditions permitted, using only a single wire G5RV antenna. Later he used PCs to receive retransmitted SSTV weather pictures daily and, later, DRM Easypal digital pictures. For several years, he ran CW training transmissions for the East Kent area. Everyone who spoke to him agreed he was a perfect gentleman with a well disciplined operation procedure.
Fluent in French, he travelled frequently around France and was involved in many exchange activities between Dover and French Channel Coast communities.
He is sadly missed by many of us who knew him and had many hours of pleasant conversation with him.
Tribute by Vin Robinson, G4JTR
Category: Silent Keys