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Henry Cranfield Passed Away Tuesday 29 September 2015 Aged 89 Years

30 Sep 15
Peter Bull

Henry and Riggers Nov 1991

























Allan Hennessy has just informed me that Henry’s Barbara has just given him the sad news that Henry passed away yesterday afternoon after he was released from St George Hospital and being moved into a Nursing Home.

As funeral arrangements are clarified I will update you further.

I have known Henry since about 1980 when he was Manager of the Paddington Terminal until 1985-6 when he went to Maritime. I have always found him to be generous with his time and advice. He was a member of the OTVA Committee for in excess of 12 years and was OTVA President for a number of them.

He was always full of stories about events that transpired in OTC in which he was involved and the characters of OTC that had impacted upon him over the many years in which he worked for OTC after moving from PMG. He had his memory right till the end and there are many untold stories that have gone to heaven with him.

May He Rest In Peace

Peter Bull
Managers Conference 1986


  1. Peter Bull September 30, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Bloody hell, I thought that he looked so well when I saw him 2 weeks ago.
    Mick Callaghan

  2. Peter Bull September 30, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Thank you for letting us know the terribly sad news. Rest in Peace Henry.


    Roger Boyden

  3. Peter Bull September 30, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I was in Ceduna when Henry was manager – there was no two ways about it, the station was new and Henry made sure we had all the test equipment necessary to operate that station effectively. Tidiness and cleanliness were also factors that were very important to Henry.
    I dare say this story has been repeated many times but worth telling again;
    Roy Docherty, Ron Beckett and I can’t be sure but I think I was on the floor when Roy carried a cup of coffee from the lunch room out to the control room, (Henry had decreed all food items to be consumed in the lunch room only) and in the process spilt a little on the floor. Henry came on the scene, saw the minor spill on the floor and began frothing at the mouth wanting to know who was the culprit. Ron stepped forward, wet his figure, bent down and put his figure on one of the dried drops. On rising and following licking his figured claimed to Henry it was not his spill as he couldn’t taste any sugar which he has in his coffee. Henry exploded and walked away and Roy thinking Henry was out of ear shot said something to the effect, “We have just witnessed the ravings of a madman”. Henry was still behind the racks and heard Roy make a comment but he either didn’t hear it in full or made out he didn’t as he flew out from behind the racks and demanded to know what Roy said. I am not sure but don’t believe Roy was able to explain or repeat what he had said.
    While he was manager at Ceduna, he certainly made that station tick. I think Geoff Warner was the manager that followed Henry.
    John Eades

  4. Peter Bull September 30, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Very sad to learn of the passing of another of our industry icon. Please convey our condolences to his family.
    Eternal Rest Grant To Him O Lord.
    Sincere Regards
    Vernon Yen

  5. Peter Bull October 1, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Please pass on the Henry’s Family my respects, The world was richer because of him and poorer for his passing. May he Rest in Peace.
    Brendan Quirk

  6. Peter Bull October 6, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Thanks, Peter.
    How sad. I’m so glad I had some time with him last week.
    I can’t make it to the funeral. as I shall be in hospital on Thursday undergoing minor surgery.
    Please convey my condolences to the family.

  7. Peter Bull October 6, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I have just heard news of Henry Cranfield’s passing. I remember him with great fondness. He worked with my Dad – late Murray Ewen at the Cable station in Madang. Even though I was a mere teen, I knew he was a special man.
    My condolences to his family and friends
    Rosemary Howard (nee Ewen)

  8. Peter Bull October 6, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Hi Peter,
    Sad news. I didn’t know Henry personally, but knew of him through others at OTC.
    My thoughts are with his family and May He Rest In Peace.
    Nuruddin Merchant

  9. Peter Bull October 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Family and friends of Henry are invited to attend his Funeral Service.

    Time: 10:30am
    Date: Thursday 8 October 2015
    Where: Mary Mother of Mercy Chapel,
    Barnet Avenue,
    Rookwood Catholic Cemetery

    In lieu of flowers donation to the Cancer Council would be appreciated. Envelopes will be available at the Chapel.

  10. Peter Bull October 8, 2015 at 8:26 am

    My first memory of Henry Cranfield is of his voice – very distinctive. When I first heard Henry speaking, I felt concerned. I was in the HR Division and I wondered: could he be a person who would question/disagree with some of the procedures I was expected to administer and implement?
    In a sense my hunch was correct .But I came to realise that Henry’s comments did have validity and were made in a spirit of endeavouring to assist staff and management develop sensible outcomes.
    I believe Henry was a good manager, always fair, but able to discern if a staff member was being less than honest or not pulling their weight.
    Since I have been on the OTVA Committee, I have enjoyed listening to Henry in his role as a raconteur – he had an amazing number of stories of incidents and people at the various stations where he had served, often as manager. These accounts often shed light on individuals, especially on more senior people in Head Office and their inability to at times appreciate the demands of life at an outstation.
    As a member of the OTVA Committee, Henry always sought to promote the Association’s objective of enabling former OTC staff to continue to share memories and continue friendships formed during their working lives.
    David Richardson

  11. Peter Bull October 8, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Having reached the age of 89 years there must be plenty of stories of Henry that epitomise the contribution that Henry made to our lives and for which he will be long remembered.

    I remember an occasion where a new freezer was delivered to Paddington into which we were supposed to put the subsidised meals and other things that needed to be securely stored. The problem was that OTC had not purchased one that had a lock. I rang Henry and asked permission to install a lock. Henry gave permission.

    Well despite the fact that we had a fully qualified freezer technician in the form of Robert Pollikett (PAD INMC) looking on but offering no advice or assistance I inadvertently drilled through the Freon line when attempting to affix the lock. In a mad panic I stuck my finger over the hole which did absolutely nothing to stem the leaking of the gas but seemed to make me feel as if I was remedying the situation somehow. In hindsight it was a stupid thing to do but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    I then rang Henry and told him what had happened expecting to be sacked on the spot or at least receive a very thorough tongue lashing. Henry was very calm and considered in his response. He simply said “Can you fix it?”. I confidently said “Yes” as the staff of the Paddo ITMC had already developed a plan of action under the creative eye of Bill Millar. Henry said “Well do it”.

    The team hacksawed around the area where the pipe had been cut to get room to work. I went up to Robbo’s Automotive Parts located opposite the Centennial Park gates at the Five Ways and purchased a length of pipe that could be used as a sleeve while the other guys cut the Freon line in the vicinity of the leak while someone held a vacuum cleaner nozzle near it to stop metal fragments from getting into the line. Ian Bourke soldered or welded (I forget which) the sleeve in place. Carl Viglianti called his brother who responded quickly and evacuated the line before re-gassing the unit. Ian Bourke then repacked the hole and closed the metal flap before applying some automotive repair compound to make the repair appear less visible. Ian employed his panel-beating and spray-painting skills gained over many years of practice to my advantage that day. The finished job looked pretty good even if I do say so myself – great teamwork.

    Henry stormed in on Monday morning to check out the damage and was very impressed with the repair job. He chewed me out for stuffing up the installation but then lessened the pain that I was feeling by saying “Good job on the repair. Well done”. I am sure that Henry was so glad that he did not have to tell Head Office and get the new freezer replaced or repaired.

    The details of my stuff up and the subsequent repair seemed to “leak” (pardon the pun) throughout OTC technical ranks in a matter of hours. Everyone had a great laugh at my expense but the irony was that the guys at Broadway did exactly the same “stuff up” a week later.

    Henry saved my bacon that day.

    I saw Henry when he was red-faced and cranky but I also saw the tender, considerate, forgiving side of him.

    When I think of my days in OTC (1971-1992) Henry will be one of the many “characters’ that I had the privilege to meet and learn to appreciate. He has gone but he will never be forgotten.
    Peter Bull

  12. Peter Bull October 8, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Here’s a story about Henry when he was manager at Guam told to me today by John Simmons. John worked with Henry in OTC Maritime.

    How Henry Landed a Plane Tail Section on his Front Lawn.

    The American’s had an air base on Guam & one of their unskilled “pilots” was trying to get a plane ready to fly to Australia. He had made 6 unsuccessful attempts & while he could fly the plane he needed somebody to land it for him. On his last attempt he foolishly went up by himself. However the plane ran out of fuel & he tried an emergency landing. As the plane was headed straight for a radar hut the 6 men inside scurried for their lives before the plane hit the hut & broke up. It was a small twin engine plane & the wreck was left as scrap. Prior to this happening somebody remembered Henry asking if anyone knew how he could get hold of a transponder. They knew the tail section had one in so they arranged a huge truck to pick up the whole tail section & it was delivered free of charge to Henry’s house. He got a big shock when he received it. There was no mention of the pilot being injured in the crash.

    While Henry was on Guam he had a video made which he treasured as memories of his stay.
    Neil Yakalis

  13. Peter Bull October 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    He was a great bloke, admired by all and will be missed.
    Peter Warrilow

  14. Peter Bull October 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    You are right Peter, Henry was definitely one of the good guys. He will be missed.
    Best regards
    Maree Giddins

  15. Peter Bull October 12, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Henry was always cheerful, he was keen to help and readily shared his font of technical knowledge, he had a marvellous sense of humour, he was a pleasure to work with – in short, he was one of life’s gems.
    Ray Hookway

  16. Peter Bull October 15, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Extremely sorry to hear of Henry’s passing. Such a nice affable soul and always willing to help in sticky situations.
    May he rest in peace.
    Len Wylde

  17. Peter Bull October 22, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I was sorry to learn of the passing of “Handsome Henry” as I knew him. Cyril interviewed me when I applied for one of the first Technical Officer positions. It was to be a separate career path back then. Ray Hookway and I would be the only originals left I would guess.
    Thanks for for keeping us old members informed.
    See on the 24th
    David Wills

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