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Recollections from John Leary

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 8:42 am
by Steven Cole
Posted on behalf of John Leary

It is only in the last few days that I have learnt of the passing of Jimmy Woodmansey in August of last year. I was extremely lucky to have worked with many gifted and dedicated people during my career with DTELS, particularly during my time at the Field Service HQ, at Harrow.

This was when Field Services was headed and managed by engineers such as Robin Hughes, Don Oldnall and Jimmy Woodmansey who collectively at that time were facing the support challenges and uncertainties posed by the WARC 79 re-engineering programme.

I first met Jim Woodmansey in the mid to late 1960’s when I was a newly appointed outstation technician, working at the Northamptonshire Police HQ at Wootton Hall. At that time he was a HQ system planning engineer involved with the Local Government Reorganisation that was then taking place. My experience of Senior Engineers then was confined to Jim Cornwall, the Stanton Depot RWE who I held in awe because of the power and authority that he exercised over my working life. Jimmy Woodmansey however was a revelation because he was so approachable and took time and effort to explain what he was doing.

A few years later we met again when he persuaded me to work for him as a newly promoted CWT at Harrow to undertake technical control duties which we would now call project management. He was then a Principal Engineer. He recognised the need very early on to control the WARC roll-out and wanted it planned in meticulous detail. As the WARC programme progressed, roll-out planning became a HQ function at the insistence of the then Director, Mr John Cubberley.

In time I moved on from Harrow, but the next time I came under his management control was when I did a sideways transfer from headquarters to become the Senior Engineer responsible for Maintenance Planning at Weyhill. That was in December 1983.

Looking back over my career, I now believe that Jimmy Woodmansey was the closest thing to a mentor that I ever had. He was meticulous in the way that he carried out his duties always expecting the very best from himself and those who worked for him. He could be a hard taskmaster and would never accept what he considered to be second best, but then he expected the same high standards from himself. He would encourage rather than criticise and would always speak to you as a valued colleague rather than as a subordinate member of staff. I never saw him lose his temper although given some of the situations he had to deal with he might have been forgiven if he had. He was always approachable and would take time to explain the wider issues associated with the tasks that you were given.

The last time I saw him was at his retirement party. From memory that was around 1987/88. As ever he was his usual friendly self and extremely good company. I remember clearly from his farewell speech that he wished all concerned with the WARC programme a successful conclusion, typically and modestly, not mentioning his own considerable contribution to that eventual outcome.

It remains true that those in Government and the public at large are rarely aware of the brilliant, skilled and professional contribution that many in the Civil Service make to their safety, comfort and wellbeing. One such person to whom the public owe a huge debt of gratitude is Jimmy Woodmansey who even if not known and appreciated by them is remembered with gratitude and affection by those who had the privilege of working with him. I remember him with gratitude and affection and my most sincere condolences go out to his wife and two daughters.

John Leary


Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:03 pm
by Steven Cole
It is with regret to announce the death of Jimmy Woodmansey who died peacefully in his sleep on the 8th of August 2014 after a stroke the previous October. He was 88 and had been married to his wife Dorothy for 66 years. No other details are known at the time of this posting.

It is thought his deep involvement with the 'frequency change programme' in his latter years at the Directorate is something that many will remember him by.