- Commissions ▼
- Crews ▼
- The Ship ▼
- Loose Ends ▼
Ray Hargreaves was a National Serviceman who was on the 1957/8 commission of HMS Gambia as an Able Seaman. His service number was CJ 968095. Ray was a shallow water diver and also helped to run the ship's radio.
Ray attended St George's School in Harpenden, Hertfordshire and in the Autumn 2015 issue of The Georgian Newsletter wrote the following about his life:
Having left St Georges in 1957, I took a brief job working for HC Janes builders working on construction sites, whilst waiting to join the Navy for my National Service. My father who was a Dentist in Luton didn't really approve of this career move since it involved driving through Luton on the back of a truck every day, whilst making comments to passersby.
On joining the Navy I soon qualified as a frogman (the romantic name for shallow water diver) or to girls I met on shore, the SW become shark wrestler! After serving on an aircraft carrier, and frigate I then undertook an 18 months commission on, HMS Gambia a Second World War cruiser, to the East Indies.
Moving back into reality, after being demobed, I then took a job in printing at, ES and A Robinson' s of Bristol, through the Public schools employment bureau. After a short spell in the mail room packing parcels, they had told me that is where Mr Robinson started. What they didn't tell me was, that Mr Robinson spent only a week in the department, whilst it could be a lifetime for me!
I then was moved to packaging in Gravesend, where the idea checking valve sizes on paper sacks for the rest of my life, didn't bear consideration! The only bright spot of this career move was that I dated Miss Gravesend!
It was then that I decided that the world of advertising was in great need of my input! From the telephone book wrote off to every major ad agency. I received one reply, and this was from a publisher looking for space salesman. I had no idea what a space salesman did, but moving from Gravesend to London was a big attraction. Thus began my career in publishing.
From this company Magazine Advertising, I moved to Fleet street working on Norfolk newspaper Group, and then to the BMA, working on the British Medical Journal and specialist journals of the BMA, this was the first taste of medical publishing which was to become my lifelong career. After the BMA I then moved to Thompson newspapers, where I became publisher of two trade papers, before moving back into Medical publishing with the Haymarket group, and my boss would be the Rht Hon Michael Heseltine. I will always remember his late night visits to our office to check on the orders we had for the next edition of GP a weekly newspaper.
I was then headhunted to become Managing Director of Update Publications, where I spent five years developing the company before it was bought by Reed Elsevier.
By then I had been contacted by an American company to take over the runner of the British edition of Medical News Tribune. From this base I set up companies in the Far East, and South Africa besides launching some 14 Medical journals and medical services in these countries. This was a time of great worldwide travel particularly as the Medical Tribune group now had offices in Japan China Hong Kong, Germany France Italy South Africa UK and the USA. After 13 years I was persuaded to transfer to NY to run the US operation together with my past responsibilities'.
As with a lot of moves overseas, I was aware that moving so close to the owner, who notoriously had even fired members of his own family, would be difficult and demanding, this proved to be the case and we parted company rather acrimoniously, after 13 years, with a resultant case, that finished up the NY High court. I'm happy to say we won the case, but there were many stressful months before I decided to set up a Medical Communication in Bronxville NY.
This company launched the first Managed Care publication in America and this was the start of a company that provided both medical publications and services to American Pharmacists and Doctors, besides employing over 30 people. After 21 years the company was sold, and my wife and I retired. Whilst living in Bronxville I was shocked to enter an antique store to be met by a fellow OG Jenny Peake, who was then running the store! Small world!
Whilst my family still lives in Luton and I remain a dedicated follower of the Hatters, I have also become a follower of the NY Rangers Ice hockey. I have no doubt that I will always follow the British teams in all the sports in spite of now being an US citizen.
Unfortunately I have only been able to visit one OG reunion, where I was able to meet up with several class mates and friends, including Anthony Evans, Dicky Stevens, Peter Sharp Anthony Hunter, Graham Pauncefort and several more some whom I'm afraid are now deceased, here I must include Mike Frost who was a loyal friend over the years and who died so suddenly a few weeks ago after a very short illness.
I now live with my wife and two Bichon Frizzes in NC, where our daughter also lives with three grandchildren a few minutes away. We are loving the change of environment.
I'm sorry if this short piece appears to be self-promoting, and it has certainly left out some great stories and very stressful times we experienced as a family. But if nothing else I hope it shows that dedication and perseverance will pay off where ever you are. Please convey to any OG who may be traveling in this part of the world that I would welcome their contacting me.
The Georgian Newsletter - Autumn 2015