Tom (Tam) Robertson

I left Cosford for Digby and 591SU. Despite much sucking in of breath by those "in the know", 591 was a good posting with lots of detachments to camps all over the country and even Germany - lots of different pubs to visit! I had a lot of fun there. However, an overseas tour was calling and I was lucky enough to get Singapore - HQ FEAFOC at Changi in 1968. There were quite a few ex 303 there and in the various Commcens .

After Singapore things could only get worse, although it didn't seem like that at first.

It was back to UK in 1970 to Pitreavie Castle . The CO thought I was a Wireless Op for some reason and I ended up in the Wireless room with the civvies talking (by W/T) to Shacks, the last of the Marine Craft and Mountain Rescue teams.

I got married at the end of 1970 and was immediately PV cleared. Ah, a nice posting at somewhere like NATO perhaps. No such luck North Luffenham and Digby were calling!

So after the Q-Tel-Sp course it was back to Digby - the dreaded 399 this time. I soon realised that I would never escape so I took the shilling and remustered to ROT. This put me back to Luffenham twice then to Masirah. My daughter was born while I was there and she was over a week old before the RAF decided to tell me!

Back at good old 399 I decided enough was enough so in 1975, at the end of my 9 years, I escaped.

I did a Marine Radio Officer Certificate at Hull with the intention of going to sea - despite being violently sea-sick! I finished just in time for the shipping slump so when the chance of a job on Rigs came up in 1976 I took it.

Being a Rig R/O soon lost its appeal so I took a job with the now defunct Ferranti as a Radio Operator/Technician on a Production Platform. I stuck that for a bit and decided in 1979 I was fed up with the offshore life and took a contract as a Technician with a two-bit company in Qatar in the Gulf. Well, it seemed a good idea at the time!

When I came back to UK in 1981 I decided to give offshore a go again but only for a few years - I am still there!

I started with the defunct East Anglian Electronics (EAE) on a contract with Shell in the Brent field. I stayed with them for 8 years then took a Short-service Contract with Shell, still in the Brent/Cormorant fields. That "short service contract" lasted for 7 years! Shell then gave me a permanent contract so here I am, still offshore after 20 years!

I hope to stay offshore with Shell until they make me retire at 60 - only 6 years to go, frightening isn't it? After that I suppose I will have to try and find a "real" job for a few years!

Tom Robertson
December 2001