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Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:12 pm
by Steven Cole
From: John Leary

I'm sorry to announce the sad news that David Metcalf passed away earlier this month. Details of his untimely death were briefly published in the Andover Advertiser last week.

Webmaster Note:
David passed away peacefully at Winchester Hospital on 17th August and the funeral took place at Salisbury Crematorium on Friday 27th August at 3.00pm. Flowers were requested to be limited to family only, but donations if desired could be sent to Countess of Brecknock Hospice, c/o S & J Maddocks Independent Funeral Directors, Station Approach, Andover. SP10 3HN. Tel: 01264 355600

David, who will be much missed by family and friends, leaves two sons (Colin & David) from his first marriage to Chris (who passed away circa 1995) and his second wife (Sue) and their two children (Abbey & Alex).


Memories of David Metcalf from John Leary

Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:13 pm
by Steven Cole
Memories of David Metcalf from John Leary

I was immensely privileged to have lead the Weyhill Maintenance Planning group during the time it was dealing with maintenance support for the WARC changeout. The team I led I always considered privately to be my ?All Stars? and are too numerous to name here. They know who they are and their picture resides elsewhere on the DTELS web site.

Dave Metcalf was one of the brightest stars in that galaxy of talent and I was immensely saddened to hear that he had died of heart failure in Winchester Hospital on the 17th August 2010 at the age of 66. I heard the news on Friday 27th August, the day of his funeral but fortunately had sufficient time to be present to pay my last respects.

Dave joined the Weyhill team in 1984 on promotion to CWT. He came highly recommended from the Kippax Depot as someone who could really make a difference. What an understatement that turned out to be. When he arrived and he introduced himself, there stood a very tall, thin man who had we met today I would have described as Harry Potters elder brother. I think he even had the round glasses. As he settled in at Weyhill it became clear to me that he was a technical magician and a wizard at computers. His colleagues who I hold in the highest esteem would often seek his advice or run ideas in front of him for a second opinion. His knowledge of computer technology was encyclopaedic, not just at the hardware and application level but down through the layers to assembler and machine code programming.

I once asked him how he had acquired such a depth of knowledge but his self effacing reply of ? Oh I just picked it up along the way? was typical of him because with Dave, what you saw was not what you got. He was a voracious reader, a deep thinker with extensive knowledge across a broad range of subjects. He had an intense interest in politics and social welfare issues. He was also extremely practical and could turn his hand to most things. He was great company, always amiable and friendly and had an absolutely wicked sense of humour.

Dave would listen very attentively to what he would be asked to do, would smile politely and then go away and get it right the first time. I always suspected that he had worked out at least six different, more efficient ways of doing what he had been requested to do but he never sought to undermine your authority by questioning your request.

I learnt at the funeral for the first time that when his first wife was dying of cancer he agreed to donate bone marrow because his very rare blood group had been found to provide a perfect match with a patient who was in urgent need of a transplant. That story to me summed up the humanity of the man.

I moved on from Weyhill to Headquarters and our paths diverged although we often bumped into one another in the latter years because he married again and started a second family at a time when most people are planning a comfortable retirement. He collected his children from a school near to where I live and parked his car near to my home. So we would talk about old times and catch up on events.

From DTELS Dave moved to the MOD but I know nothing about that phase of his career.

I believe that our lives are enriched by the people that we meet and Dave Metcalf was someone who impacted on mine in so many ways. I considered him a friend and mourn his passing.

Memories of David Metcalf from Steven Cole

Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:16 pm
by Steven Cole
Memories of David Metcalf from Steven Cole

By early 1984 it was a time of great change in the Directorate. The WARC programme to re-equip and migrate emergency service communications away from the 88-108 FM Broadcast band was well underway, which created many additional posts in the organisation to meet planning demands. At that time, together with a number of newly created Senior Wireless Technicians (SWT) posts, Dave was one of three new CWTs to join Maintenance Planning Group (MPG).

My recollection of first meeting Dave at Weyhill was when he made a pre-acceptance visit around the winter of 1983/84. He was both warming and enthusiastic about the new opportunities that lay ahead and looked forward to his new maintenance planning role covering overlay pagers and radio alarms. However, this was not our first encounter as our paths had previously crossed during the early 1980s when both of us were SWT's in the Kippax Region, he at the Maintenance Unit running the VDU Section and I based at Sheffield Detachment. I believe it was during his time in this former role that he developed his data communication and computer skills that were to serve him well in later life.

During his time at Weyhill, like his colleagues, Dave helped bring about a new, exciting and stimulating dimension to MPG. Originating from Hebburn, South Tyneside, his blend of Geordie regional humour, direct communication, friendliness and positive 'can-do' approach helped make the group gel and a fun place to work during the remainder of the 80's. I often appreciated his breadth of knowledge and sound advice when discussing work or personal matters.

Dave continued in his CWT role until he was promoted to Senior Wireless Engineer (SWE) at Horseferry House (circa 1992). Following the transfer of HQ to Ruddington in September 1992 for a short while he joined the IT Group, which I headed at that time, until if memory serves me, transferring out of DTELS to MOD sometime around 1993.

I estimate Dave spent around 18 years in the Directorate followed by 11 years with the MOD before retiring around 2004.

Dave, may you rest in peace.

Dave Metcalf

Posted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:04 pm
by Lytham2
I am saddened to hear of Dave's passing.

I first met Dave when he joined Penrith outstation as a WT, I?m not too sure when . . . .

I have many happy memories of working with Dave, going out with him as 'second man'
Any time we were heading over to the west of the county, Dave always made sure to call in on his first wife?s parents, I only learned of Chris's passing by reading about Dave on this site . . . .

Dave's attitude to motor cars was, lets say, rough!, he used to pop out to do some repair or other to his mini-van during our lunch break, soon the sounds of serious hammering would be heard as Dave tried in vain to remove some stubborn bolt or other!

Dave and I had gone up into Penrith one lunch time, on the way back, in the mini, Dave applied the brakes at a fast approaching junction, only the find they did not work!! - we did stop . . . just!!

When I got my 'ticket' I was informed there was a post at Kippax MU, Dave had already taken up the post of SWT there in the PR section.

Being unsure about working on a MU, I almost turned that posting down . . . .
Dave rang me one day and his 'banter' changed my mind, thanks Dave!

It was certainly a big help to me to find a friendly face when I moved down there.
And Dave made sure I was not left sitting in my digs all night too, taking me out on the tiles in Leeds more than once!

I lost contact with Dave when I returned to Penrith O/S in the late 70's, the last time we met up again was at the funeral of Cumbria Fire Service Comms Officer a few years later.

It was quite a shock to see the name David Metcalf on the site . . . . .

John Borradaile
ex WT Kippax and Penrith

Message from Colin Metcalf

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:41 am
by Steven Cole
The following message is posted on behalf of Dave's son, Colin, who recently contacted me by email

Through the wonders of Google I recently stumbled upon your forum regarding DTELS and noticed the touching postings with reference to my dads death.

I do remember his Weyhill days fondly and being taken to a couple of barbeques, fireworks displays etc. I also remember his career details from a family perspective so can shed some small light on his post DTELS work at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as I thought it would fill in some gaps and be of interest to others regarding his later career.

Although always rather coy and unable to tell me too much details regarding his work for the MOD and the "sneaky beakies" he was active in many theatres of conflict including Bosnia and Afghanistan. He worked with the Royal signals setting up front line comms in both theatres, and was parachuted tandem into Bosnia for a specific comms task. He also wrote an article for a service magazine regarding about a low flying apache flight into a Kabul from the yanks to set up some kit in the early days of the war.