From Des Kinnersley:
Ron’s daughter, Debra Gaye, rang me on Sunday 14 July 2013 to advise that Ron Cocker has passed away.
The funeral details will be in the West Australian in the next couple of days.
Ron had been in poor shape with fluid on the lungs and had been in respite care for a few weeks. He passed away peacefully.
Kevan could you please circulate this info to all the WA OTC Vets.
Debra Gaye’s e mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with her.
She can also be contacted on Ron’s telephone number 9362 1170.
(Picture 1: Ron is on LHS of above photo with Des Kinnersley on the RHS)
(Picture 2: Ron is on LHS of above photo with Kevan Bourke on the RHS)
(Picture 3: Ron and his daughters (Julie, Debra Gaye and Tracey) that Brian Woods took at the Wireless Hill (Applecross) Centenary held in 2012.)
From Brian Woods:
Hello Des, Kevan,Peter…
Sad news indeed…Many thanks letting us know…..Knew Ron well, my WA days along with fishing for Brim, Murray River, Jewfish (Catfish) in the Canning, Crabs in the Swan, all helped along with the odd beer at the Majestic…….
If anyone has any photos of Ron can s/he please email them to me so that I can upload it or them to the OTVA web site.
From Derek Walker:
Very sad to read about Ron’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 email.
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.
From Debbie Solomon (Ron’s middle daughter)
My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. We had trouble finding where dad kept his photos of OTC but I have attached some of the ones we found.
The first photo is Dad on the phone, presumably at Gnangara.
Not sure about the second photo but this photo has copyright of WA Newspapers on the back.
The third photo is dated 1946 but has no address on it.
The fourth photo is dad on Cocos Island in 1964 with Johnny Lennon. I have fond memories of Johnny Lennon as he taught me to swim over there. I was around 9 years old and we often went on long swims in the lagoon (shark infested I might add).
The fifth photo is of the club house on Cocos Island with Dad behind the bar and Peter Beebar in front. Peter was a hunk and we all had a crush on him!
The sixth photo may be of Gnangara, I am not sure. The person with him is Harry Devine.
And the last is an article we found on dad’s 40th year at OTC. He received an inscribed gold watch (which we have in our possession now).
The funeral is at 2pm tomorrow (Wednesday 24th July) at Fremantle Cemetery, West Chapel.
Dad was a real character and we will miss him enormously. He had such a great wit and sense of humour and often told us of practical jokes he used to play on fellow work mates. But he didn’t suffer fools gladly and was a bit outspoken on a number of subjects in later years! We loved his saying “someone’s got to care” and he used this (so he told us) on OTC trainees in his work years, and everything he did or built in later years. He had other sayings, but they were mostly inappropriate!
Thanks Peter for your interest and in passing the photos on.
Debbie Solomon (middle daughter)
08 9330 8995