The installation of radio equipment created a huge demand for proficient operators. Coast stations and coastal shipping all required their skills.  Several Room 19 graduates went on to operate in the Dominion Government's coast stations.

    Vancouver School Board begins a wireless course (Vancouver Sun September 1921) in the fall of 1921 in King Edward High School.  In 1926 Walter Lambert (see elsewhere on this site) was the head instructor.  Room 19 was the location, and that name stuck with the graduates even though the course moved to a different building. This course turned out radio operators holding Department of Transport Certificates of Proficiency in Radio (Second Class). The course included Morse code, equipment operation and repair.

    Many joined the armed forces in WW2 and several perished. 

   After a period of on-the-job experience, the holder of the Second Class ticket could write the exam for the First Class Certificate.

   Vince Ramcharran and Hugh Martin were two graduates, some 30 years apart.
Brian Dickinson (student in Room 19 1958-60) supplies the following details:

   "I found a letter from John E. Duke, dated December 1963. He said, "After 37 years in the old King Edward High School, now known as the King Edward Continuation Centre, the Radio Electronics Centre (Room 19) has moved to new and better facilities. The school is now located in Rooms 406 - 412 on the 4th floor of the new High-Rise Building of the Vancouver Vocational Institute, and renamed the Radio Telecommunication Centre (still Room 19)."
    "On March 24, 1972 there was a John Duke and Rod Hodgson (both instructors) student evening at VVI. This may have been when Room 19 closed for good as in the May 3, 1972 edition of the Province newspaper there is an article entitled "Museum gets old (Room 19) wireless gear."

Al Miller, graduated in 1931, sent me a list of some graduates dated August 8, 1994.  (I've added a few names to this list whenever a name is passed on.  FWS)

Vince Ramcharran sends along some photos from his 1968 Room 19 training.

Hugh Martin attended in 1940 and his daughter-in-law supplied some of his class photos plus a 1971 reunion photo here.

   There were commercial schools providing radio training parallel to Room 19.  Room 19 had a strong marine radio operator emphasis, with the graduates qualified to operate either a shore or a ship station.  These commercial schools had a wider syllabus including commercial broadcasting subjects, such as can be seen in the advertisements on this page.

   A signed 1967 Christmas Card from the staff.     (Ramcharran album)
Looks like a sampling of marine radiophone and Morse transmitters. Grads would need exposure to various makes of equipment as they never knew what gear would be in a vessel's radio office.
A set of marine radio direction finders. The loops would have been fitted at the top of the mast (best place) but more likely on top of the wheel house.  There were errors associated with the loops.  For instance if they were not mounted exactly pointing fore and aft, there would be a permanent error of a few degrees.  Another being the ship's metal making the port/starboard loop more sensitive thus creating a 'quadrantal error".  These errors could be measured and a correction card provided to the navigator.
Typical equipment schematics on the wall. Students were expected to know the nuts and bolts of how their equipment worked.

King George V on the wall. He died in 1936.
The beginnings of 'Room 19'.  Walter Lambert, the first instructor in 1926, is the mustached gentleman way at the back. About the only things in common over the intervening years are the tables. The diagrams on the walls, and the equipment have all been changed out to reflect the progress in the technology.

Bowerman photo.

 

Back

 


Early Room 19 class in full swing. Head instructor Walter Lambert is the tall fellow at the front. Bowerman photo

The instructor's names, clockwise from the left, as remembered by Gerry Peters, from a photo supplied by Ted Severud. 

 

Colin Casey, John Duke, Ron Hodgeson, and Tony Lawton.

Colin Casey   Colin was English and spend WW2 as a rear gunner.  He had a tiny Hillman station wagon.

(Des Davidge: My remembrances of Room 19 centers around an instructor called Casey.  Casey had a little English car and we used to go out at noon and put blocks under the rear axles.  Casey never did learn to look, and always had the same shocked expression on his face when he hit the gas pedal and got great noise but little action.

 

John Duke   Head Instructor - Room 19 Graduate - Radio Operator on the RCMP Vessel St Roch. Don't know if he worked at any coast stations.

 

Ron Hodgeson   Room 19 graduate - Radio Operator. Ferry command during WW2. Don't know if he worked at any coast stations. (Ian Morrison remembered first name 11/09)

 

Tony Lawton   Also believe he was a Room 19 Graduate and believe he served in merchant navy during war. Not sure if he served at any coast stations. In 2020 Lawton celebrated his 97th birthday.