Byron Jones - Radio Officer
1960 - 1964 and 1974 - 1979
Byron followed his father, Thomas John Jones, who was a marine engineer officer during WWII, and joined the Merchant Navy in May 1960, having first passed the examination for a First Class Certificate of Competence in Radiotelegraphy and Authority to Operate Granted by Postmaster General, at Newport and Monmouthshire College of Technology.
He spent a year with Marconi International Marine Radio. The first 9 months were on the Shell tanker S.T.S Vibex with trips to the Gulf, Holland, Australia, Canada, United States, and South America. Three weeks leave then off to join the Ellerman Wilson Line passenger/cargo S.S. Malmo at Hull for a seven week cruise of the Mediterranean. He then tried free lancing with a Greek Shipping Company. One trip was enough and he then joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service in January 1962 his first ship being RFA Black Ranger at H.M. Naval Base, Portland, Dorset. He stayed there for 18 months which suited him fine. He had just got married so was able to rent a flat in Portland and bring his wife down. Black Ranger was involved in the “cod war” so he spent some time thrashing about the icy waters off Iceland. On leaving Black Ranger he did a couple of courses at H.M.S. Collingwood and H.M.S. Mercury then joined RFA Wave Sovereign at North Shields (October 1963) and went out the Far East. He paid off Wave Sovereign on 26 July 1964 in Singapore and left the RFA at the same time.
Then came a complete change of career. He joined the Glamorgan Fire Service and spent the next 9 years working his way ‘up the ladder’ to Station Officer level. But the call of the sea was still there and in 1974 he resigned from the Fire Service and went back to sea with Ocean Fleets of Liverpool. He did 4 more years at sea in the Dumbaia, Degema, Dixcove, Dalla, Donga, and Pegu until they started laying off ROs, then it was back ashore to continued his career in Fire Protection by working for the U.S. Army. He spent 15 years with them as a civilian Fire Chief and Fire Protection Specialist, including six years in their European Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. He moved back home only when the Berlin Wall came down and they started closing bases. He spent the last 12 years of his working life as the Senior Fire Safety Adviser to the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust.
Some of the ships Byron sailed in during his time at sea. Not included is the Panamanian registered ship Anthony owned by the Greek Company Syros Shipping