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Alan played a vital role in providing results service at 1948 Olympic Games
12:00pm Sunday 13th May 2012 in News
SALE resident Alan Thorpe believes he is the last surviving member of the Royal Corps of Signals who worked on telecommunications at the 1948, 'shoe String' Olympics at Wembley Stadium.
Alan and other members of 2 Signal Brigade played a vital role in keeping everyone informed about the results of the events.
Alan, aged 82, then a newly trained teleprinter operator, was at a posting depot in Ripon when he learnt that he and 30 others were going to the Games.
“After sleeping in a school hall in Hounslow, we were transferred to an Army camp shared with games competitors. Each country’s culinary taste was catered for.”
From June 15 to August 15, 1948 Alan worked from a wooden hut under the tunnel receiving results and passing them via a teleprinter to the press office and those running the scoreboard.
Alan said: “The Royal Navy erected a scoreboard with scaffolding and ladders. The results were displayed in lexicon type letters."
A receiving teleprinter enabled the ratings to get the results and climb up to put them on the board.
“The man in charge was Lord Burghley. Like Lord Coe he had been a runner, and was a gold medallist in the 400 metre hurdles at the 1928 Olympics."
Alan used a free transport pass to explore the city. He also saw the opening ceremony.
“I remember the King and Queen being there,” he said.
This year, the MOD expects to provide up to 13,500 personnel.