Blog Detail

Vale – Jim Bairstow – Passed 9.9.2014 – Aged 87 Years

16 Sep 14
Peter Bull
No Comments




James Percy (Jim):

25.5.1927 – 9.9.2014 Much loved husband of Patricia (dec) and father of Penny, Ian and Peter; grandfather of Tamara, Daniel, Patrick, James, Andrew, Kieran, Melissa, Cameron, Jarrad, Stephanie, Daniel and Sean; also father-in-law of Ed, Penny and Suzanne.

A gentle and gracious man.

He will be deeply missed.

From Kevan Bourke:

It is with sadness that I pass on the news from Des Kinnersley that Jim Bairstow passed away recently. Jim was one of the older vets from the Cable and Wireless era who trained and worked with Ron Cocker. I didn’t know him personally but had heard of him. I’ve attached some info written by Derek and Des at the time of Ron Cocker’s passing which gives some background on both Ron and Jim. Apparently Jim was one of the ones who opted not to return to WA after the war.

From Derek Walker:

Very sad to read about Ron Cocker’s death. Following is from my files

Ron was born 18 September 1926, joined Cable and Wireless in Perth 1944 and went to Adelaide for 14 months training as a cable operator, joining a group known as Telcom, whose purpose was to staff Far East cable stations decimated by the Japanese. After training Ron sailed from Fremantle in June 1945 for Colombo. After four months in Colombo his group left for Penang and Singapore. He came back to Perth in November 1946 and after leave went to OTC in Spring Street, Sydney for a year. leaving there for the Cottesloe cable station. He stayed there, apart from a two year stint on Cocos Island from 1962 to 1964, until Cottesloe closed in 1965, when he transferred to Applecross radio station. When Applecross closed in 1967 he transferred to Gnangara. He retired from Gnangara as a TO2 in 1986.

From Des Kinnersley:

Here is some further information on the “TELCOM” group mentioned in Derek Walker’s comments above.

The group was formed in 1944 to provide operators for the Cable & Wireless Far East stations, Banjoewangi (Indonesia), Saigon, Singapore, HongKong, Penang and Rangoon after they were retaken from the Japanese.  This TELCOM group was given quasi-military status and they wore khaki uniforms. The groups consisted of young Australians, New Zealanders and others from Great Britain numbering about 150 operators in total.

The Australian group consisted of South and West Australians. Some of the West Australian were: Ron Cocker, Brian Morell, Ken Clark, Jim Bairstow, Heb Farrar and George Scurry.

Some of the South Australians were : Randy Payne, Ken Banks, Ted Gunning (I think), Sherry Sherwood.

After the war most of the WA staff returned to WA although a couple opted to stay when Cable & Wireless and AWA were merged and nationalised to form OTCA. The SA staff were not so lucky as the Adelaide station was closed around 1947 and they wound up in SOR. Some like Randy Payne worked their way up into very prestigious positions.

A Cable & Wireless publication ‘ The Thin Red Lines’ has a photograph of the WA TELCOM contingent. (Page 113). Sadly, Ron Cocker was missing from the photograph as he became ill on the troopship taking the group to Colombo via Calcutta. He had to stay in Calcutta until he recovered and subsequently rejoined the rest of the group in Colombo. In the below photo Jim is the Third from the Left in the Back Row.

The Thin Red Lines p113

Leave A Comment