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memories of 1946 by Les Oswin informal way.


Al lthe requests were nat- urally popular music of the day - big bands, Besie, Bing Crosby, Dick Haymes, Frank Sinatra, the Mills Brothers, etc., etc. and in no time at all I was hooked and sent in my first request on 20 March 1946 for a specific record by Stephane Grappelli and the Hot Club of France. My second request for Benny Goodman’s Opus 1/2 was actually sent on 26 March 1946, well before I expected my first one to be played. From that date I sent in requests regularly to Ross Larker Parker at Radio S.E.A.C. Ceylon, and gradu- ally I began to hear my re- cords being broadcast over the air.


Ross Parker’s hourly pro- gramme was always intro- duced with the Duke Elling- ton recording of What Am I Here For” and each Thurs- day I planned my evening to listen in hoping that one


of my requests would come over, and I heard my name on most programmes. In about June 1946 our unit at Kranji was disbanded with the Indian troops re- turning to India and most Britishers catching the boat home; But not me; I had a long time to go before demob, so I was transferred to another Royal Signals unit in a barracks quite close to the infamous Changi Gaol, now in British hands. I took my wireless set with me and soon had it working on the electricity mains with ex- cellent reception of Radio S.E.A.C. Ceylon and espe- cially Thursday’s What Am I Here For”. I continued to send my requests, the last one being on 13 December 1946, and heard so many of mine on my old wooden wireless set.


During his programme in mid-December 1946, Ross Parker notified his listeners that he was due to return to


England for demob some time in January 1947 and he would be planning his final


programme which would be all HIS OWN favourites with no requests from his listen-


ers, so in January 1947 I tuned in on that Thursday for this special programme and enjoyed the records se- lected.


But imagine my surprise when, towards the end of the hour he said: “I’m now going to play a record for my most regular contributor, Les Oswin in Singapore.” I am ashamed to say that after all these years I cannot remember what the record was, but I was so proud to have been mentioned over the air by this great char- acter.


It was after I returned home from Singapore in February 1947 that I learned what a great character Ross Parker was - he actually wrote the great patriotic war- time song, “There’ll Always Be An England”, and he participated in writing “We’ll Meet Again” made famous by Vera Lynn.


Many years later I got to know that he had written


a song specially for Shirley Bassey entitled: “Burning The Candle At Both Ends” which was banned by the B.B.C. for some time. Ross Parker died a few years ago after a long and dis- tinguished career in music, and I’ll always remember the pleasure it gave me to be a contributor to that spe- cial programme on Radio S.E.A.C. Ceylon in 1946. (EDITOR: Thanks for sharing those radio memo- ries, Les! You have set me thinking. What radio pre- senters did other Welling- ton News readers listen to, years ago? Two that come to mind immediately are Ed Stewart and Johnny Walker on Radio Caroline. Please, other readers, do tell us about the radio listeners you used to listen to. Did you have any requests played? Send your Wellington News Radio Memories to the Wel- lington News, the address is on page 2.)


25 24, 25 Letters.indd 2 26/03/2012 10:46


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