Harry and I first met when he joined PROBUS in 1997. Club meetings were then held in Sett Valley House. With a meeting over we formed the habit of making a joint, slow, cautious slither down to Market Street. Here we enjoyed a good chinwag outside Age Concern. This seemed an appropriate location.
Over time I learned that Harry had been the only child of a working class family, in Hurst Lea Road, New Mills. After leaving school, he had become an apprentice in a New Mills printers. Because an apprentice’s pay was poor, and journeys to night school to Manchester comparatively costly, and his father suddenly dying, Harry found himself to be a youthful breadwinner. (Teenagers had yet to be invented). Harry needed to find a better paying job, he became an assistant in a thriving radio shop in Union Road and virtually turned himself into a competent radio technician. He also worked, to supplement income, as an assistant projectionist at the cinema in Union Road.
Before war broke out, the RAF somehow nabbed Harry because of his apparently known skills. Harry served as a ‘Brylcreem’ boy for nearly six years. Sometimes, possibly on request, Harry would open up on some of his wartime experiences. I outline two. The first relates to fate. In his early RAF days Harry was sent home on two weeks sick leave, he had jaundice. On his return to duties at his station, he found no-one there. He later discovered that his detatchment had suddenly been called to a troop ship which had been sunk at sea with very few survivors. In 1944 Harry landed in France on D-Day but (in Eric Morecambe terms) his unit was tersely told – ‘you are in the right radio van but on the wrong beach!’ Incidentally, Harrys travels with the RAF brought him to Denmark – homeland of his sweetheart.
The longer I knew Harry the more I came to admire him. For example, he showed so much determination and applied so much failing strength to keep the Radio Society of Stockport in healthy condition. He served as President for several years I believe. Harry was a man with a great and continuous thirst – not for alcohol, not for wealth or possessions, not even for football – but knowledge about all things radio related and aviation related, a spot of chemistry too and some foreign languages, as well as aspects of WW11.
In a different age or in different circumstances, he would have made an excellent university student. His closest friend Eric Webster, held a PhD being an industrial chemist in a local textile factory. Sadly, Eric’s widow, Alice, is not well enough to describe Harry more fully than we can. On short acquaintance Harry might be thought to be rather too quiet, inoffensive – perhaps a semi-recluse. But on the PROBUS members’ list his ‘occupation’ is given as ‘Air Traffic Controller’. This job irrefutably calls for cool, calm, collected qualities, high capabilities and performance as his colleagues at AVRO would know.
Although much of his home life had been solitary. I never heard him say he was lonely. He remained self-reliant as long as he reasonably could and then graciously gave way to those who wished to provide help like Alice in particular, Joan, Sue, Anna, Bob, Anne, Trevor, Roy, Adam the bookman and his Aladdins cave, and myself. Medical staff also helped greatly, as did social services.
Courtesy to others seemed a natural part of Harrys being. When PROBUS moved to the Golf Club House, and I could still drive, I waited for him at the Rock Inn. If he was just a minute late he would almost overdo his unsought apology. Harry looked forward to PROBUS meetings and the Christmas and summer lunches. He remained calm and courteous when he was teased on entering a dining room with a lady on each arm. He also enjoyed trips out to “The Lamb”, “The Pack Horse”. “The Sportsman”, “The Bridge”, a J20 grapefruit juice suited him just fine, as did his telling of an exciting find in one of his books. Even in his 90s he would become almost as excited as a schoolboy about say, secret codes, the vagaries of the Danish language – and the curious chemicals that were slogging it out in his body.
Harry you were certainly a man to admire, to esteem and to acknowledge as a rare self made scholar, a man like by many, and disliked, as far as I know, by no-one.
Eulogy supplied by Eric Armstong – 17 August 2014
The following announcement was made to members of Stockport Radio Society by Alan G0ROW
“It’s very sad to announce to the world that our President Harry Arnfield G3LX died this morning, Sunday 10 August 2014. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad and difficult time
The funeral took place on Thursday 21st August at St Georges Church, Church Road New Mills. Tony M0SAV, Alan G0ROW (who had worked closely with Harry prior to his passing) and John 2E0GCX paid their respects at the funeral on behalf of the club.
Harry Arnfield G3LX – A great loss to the Society.
Harry has been the president of the society for more years than we, and he, cared to remember. Whilst relatively inactive from a radio point of view – and being well into his 90s – Harry continued to support the society and it’s activities albeit from afar. For many years, members had benefited from Harry’s wealth of knowledge regarding all things radio, as well as being entertained by stories of his times in the RAF and working for Hawker Siddeley at Woodford Aerodrome… thank you Harry. (piece from the next issue of SRS QUALite)
Messages of Respect
|Bernard – G3SHF – He certainly was a well respected member of SRS who provided us with a great many links to our past in so many fields.
Ray – M1REK – Very sad news. Harry was an inspiration to many of us. He always had time to listen and encourage us to try new things.
Stuart – G3PMJ – I was very saddened to hear of the passing of our President, Harry G3LX. He was a really fine gentleman and will be missed by all. RIP Harry.
Marie – 2E0MLK – So sorry to hear this. My sympathies to all, thinking of his family at this sad time.
Nigel 2E0CKA/Heth Web Manager – Although we did not have the pleasure of meeting Harry – he seemed to be a fine gentleman and an inspiration to many with lots of stories to be told – his passing will be a tremendous loss to the club
Mike – M6MPC – Poor Harry, This is so very sad for his family and our club. My deepest sympathy.
Ed – 2E0CFM – Sad news, indeed.
Tom – M0DCG – Such sad news. It was a privilege to know Harry. We’ll all miss him.
Christine – M0LYC – Extremely sad news, Al. I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times, and giving him a lift home after an annual SRS meeting some years back; he was full of stories 🙂 Such a lovely chap. Please pass on my condolences to his family.
Tony Blackburne RIP Harry a really nice gentleman who I had the pleasure of meeting at the club several times and talking to
Christine Simcock Very sorry to hear this, I have fond memories of Harry, it was always a pleasure to spend time with him. Condolences to his family and friends.
Josh Murray Sad news. My thoughts are with his family and friends.