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 Henry Wheeler - signalman

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Caro
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PostSubject: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Fri 17 Feb 2012, 23:05

This is a follow-up on something I asked about on the BBC, which I am sure Gil answered. I thought of putting it just on the bar thread but have decided it won't hurt to have its own space.

Henry Wheeler, signalman, was one of the people during the war who chose Desert Island Discs and we didn't know why or who he was. On another site someone has been sent the following from DID people, which has some information though nothing specific.

They said:

Quote :


Many thanks for contacting Desert Island Discs and apologies for the tardiness of the reply. I have found out a little bit about Signalman Henry Wheeler: from the transcript of the programme it appears that he was on the programme as a real-life castaway because he was stationed on an island at the time of the recording. He was 20 years old at the time of the recording and had been in the Navy for about two years by then




They have asked for the full transcript - it might say more.

This will be in too small a print, Nordmann has explained how to stop this but I haven't taken notice. Sorry. Will try to soon. I hope this won't all be italics - I wanted the quote in italics but it was putting everything afterwards in italics too, so I have started again.



Caro.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Fri 17 Feb 2012, 23:19

Oh. I am tempted to put lots of argghy smileys here. What did I do wrong?

Nordmann, would it be possible for you to put these technical advice bits you give all into the Technical Changes thread? I do often save such things into Word for reference, so perhaps I should just do that. But I haven't with these.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Fri 17 Feb 2012, 23:20

I fixed it for you.

Twice actually. First time you undid all my good work and set the over-coded version in again!
Smile
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Fri 17 Feb 2012, 23:32

Ooh, sorry. That is too funny. I was just trying to fix it, very unsuccessfully. Thank you.
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Sat 18 Feb 2012, 19:26

@Caro wrote:
This is a follow-up on something I asked about on the BBC, which I am sure Gil answered. I thought of putting it just on the bar thread but have decided it won't hurt to have its own space.

Henry Wheeler, signalman, was one of the people during the war who chose Desert Island Discs and we didn't know why or who he was. On another site someone has been sent the following from DID people, which has some information though nothing specific.

They said:

Quote :


Many thanks for contacting Desert Island Discs and apologies for the tardiness of the reply. I have found out a little bit about Signalman Henry Wheeler: from the transcript of the programme it appears that he was on the programme as a real-life castaway because he was stationed on an island at the time of the recording. He was 20 years old at the time of the recording and had been in the Navy for about two years by then




They have asked for the full transcript - it might say more.

This will be in too small a print, Nordmann has explained how to stop this but I haven't taken notice. Sorry. Will try to soon. I hope this won't all be italics - I wanted the quote in italics but it was putting everything afterwards in italics too, so I have started again.



Caro.

Glad to see you're making some progress with Henry Wheeler,Caro.

The other one,Tom Pook and the unknown ship,I've tried tracing on odd occassions but with no luck.

T.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Sun 19 Feb 2012, 04:07

You know, I had totally forgotten about him, Triceratops. I had a look just now to see what else that author had written but it was her first book and she hasn't written any more yet. If she uses obscure historical figures and has to research them, it is no wonder. I suppose there are records in the Auckland Museum not online.

These real people fictionalised are often a bit of a problem. I wrote (Here? or on the BBC boards?) about Maurice Shadbolt's book Season of the Jew where he uses a composite figure, then in notes at the back about their reality, talks about the character's children by name, one of whom was killed in WWI, but there is no sign of anyone fitting the name or any similar name, in the records. I looked and looked but couldn't find who he could possibly be meaning.

Cheers, Caro.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Sun 04 Mar 2012, 06:56

The BBC people have replied to someone on another board about Henry Wheeler with much more detail (though nothing of his later life, of course).

He was a 20 year old doing garrison duty on a small (unnamed) island off the coast of Europe, He came from Vernhan Grove in Bath and had been in the Royal Navy for two years.

He was the eldest of a family of six and his civilian job was a tailor's assistant. His hobbies were athletics, snooker and carpentry. He completed his training on HMS Impregnable amd took part in the invasion of France on the day after D-Day.

His song choices were Danny Boy, Begin the Beguine, If You were the Only Girl in the World, Schumann's Romance in A Sharp Minor, Beautiful Love, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, Greensleeves arranged by Vaughan Williams and The Holy City.

I don't seem to see his book choice and luxury - did they have those at that time?

If you want to see the whole transcript it is at http://s4.zetaboards.com/Radio4forum/topic/9087144/2/#new
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The Man From Devana
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Sun 10 Jun 2012, 20:58

From the BBC's Desert Island Discs microsite:

Quote :
The programme came off air in 1946 returning to the Home Service in 1951. On 16th September that year, the choice of luxury was introduced when garlic was chosen by the actress Sally Ann Howes. The choice of book made its first appearance on 9th October 1951 when actor and director Henry Kendall chose Who’s Who in the Theatre.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/about/history-of-desert-island-discs
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Sun 17 Nov 2013, 16:39

@Caro wrote:
This is a follow-up on something I asked about on the BBC, which I am sure Gil answered. I thought of putting it just on the bar thread but have decided it won't hurt to have its own space.

Henry Wheeler, signalman, was one of the people during the war who chose Desert Island Discs and we didn't know why or who he was. On another site someone has been sent the following from DID people, which has some information though nothing specific.

They said:

Quote :


Many thanks for contacting Desert Island Discs and apologies for the tardiness of the reply. I have found out a little bit about Signalman Henry Wheeler: from the transcript of the programme it appears that he was on the programme as a real-life castaway because he was stationed on an island at the time of the recording. He was 20 years old at the time of the recording and had been in the Navy for about two years by then

 



Caro.
I was in ASDA today, and saw a new book about Desert Island Discs. Just out of curiousity, I checked to see if there was anything on Henry Wheeler and there was indeed a short chapter about his programme.
Wheeler was stationed on an island "somewhere off Europe", during the programme he mentioned it was very cold [guess: the North Sea or the Baltic] Wheeler himself was originally from Bath.
Next time I come across it I'll take a bit more time to read it.(ideally, the Library will have a copy)
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Sun 17 Nov 2013, 22:45

That's worth knowing about, Triceratops, though whether it will make its way to my library is uncertain.  There is still lots of interest in any British tradition here, though I think it's a long time since we had Desert Island Disc here.  Having gone to check when it was last played here, I can't find any mention of it ever being played.  Maybe copyright issues meant it couldn't be sent overseas.  But in that case why is its format so familiar to me?
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Sun 17 Nov 2013, 23:20

Could you have heard it on World Service?
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Gran
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Mon 18 Nov 2013, 02:54

We do not have anything by Henry Wheeler in our Library Caro, I used to listen to Desert Island Discs but must have missed that one. Here is some info about the Coast Watchers on islands in the Pacific, some of whom met some awful deaths at the hands of the Japanese.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/page/nz-coastwatchers-executed-japanese
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Mon 18 Nov 2013, 04:07

I don't think the book Trike mentioned was by Henry Wheeler, but about the DID generally. 
There's a couple of men in my town who worked during the war on a radio station on the southern coast near Bluff, intercepting and sending on messages.  Even based in NZ there was an element of danger.  The wife of one has written a story for our historical society booklets, and part of it says, Twenty-four hours a day continuous shifts, seven days a week, were worked listening to ships at sea, particularly the Japanese as they strived to invade the Pacific Islands, sometimes with success.
When the operators first entered Awarua they were all proficient in Morse code, having been to the Post Office training schools and then working as telegraphists in post offices.  Staff were required for Awarua Radio and staff were sent there from all over New Zealand. It was considered an essential national interest position and staff remained there until the war ended in 1945. It was a position not without danger.  The work involved looking for boats in the southern ocean and intercepting messages from the Japanese and other enemy ships.  Under international law they were spies and could have been shot as they were not uniformed military people.  After some New Zealand coastguarders were killed by the Japanese on the Pacific Islands they became part of the military and therefore protected.   

When operators first entered Awarua they had to learn the Japanese Morse alphabet which included 52 letters of our alphabet, plus another 40-odd.  New Zealand authorities devised characters to fit these extra letters.  The Japanese use the same figures 1 to 10 in Morse code as we do.

All messages intercepted from ships and shore stations were sent in code by teleprinter to the Navy office in Wellington.  Staff at Awarua seldom knew what the messages were about – they just copied them for the Navy to deal with.  There was a permanent watch for German ships too, with their special code.

The large majority of messages were from shore stations but operators were always on the lookout for transmission from ships so they could get a ‘fix’ on them from the network of direction-finding stations,  Of course ships kept silent most of the time; it was war-time and they did not want to reveal their location.


 


 
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Gran
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Mon 18 Nov 2013, 06:11

Very interesting Caro, I had not heard about the NZ watchers, those guys must be getting on a bit now. I have been reading an interesting book called "Blitz Kids" by Sean Longden about the children during the war and the brave things they did, putting up their age and achieving unbelievable acts. A 12 year old signed on to a merchant ship, but officialy they could sign on at 14 anyway, and brave the Atlantic in ships carrying high octane aviation spirit etc. I'm afraid they had to grow up fast back then.
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Wheeler - signalman   Mon 18 Nov 2013, 09:39

@Caro wrote:
I don't think the book Trike mentioned was by Henry Wheeler, but about the DID generally. 



 


 
 Yes, it's this one;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desert-Island-Discs-years-castaways/dp/0593070062

for a minute, I thought we were going to get lucky and the Wheeler chapter would show up in the click to open preview, but it doesn't.
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Henry Wheeler - signalman

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