DEREK POOLEY (GRADE 7 - HEADQUARTERS)

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Bob Barron
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Re: DEREK POOLEY (GRADE 7 - HEADQUARTERS)

Post by Bob Barron »

I was very sad to hear that Derek had passed away. I first met Derek in 1982 when I came to work as a CWT in site planning section in the Frequency & Site Planning Group at Horseferry House. Derek was the SWE in the frequency planning section but following Graham Mewett's retirement he was appointed as Grade 7 and head of the group.

I had a number of very happy years working with Derek and travelled with him to meetings throughout the UK and on many occassions to Europe to negotiate access to spectrum and coordinate post WARC frequency assignments with neighbouring administrations. The novelty and necessary complexity of our own assignment plans to avoid internal interference made coordination with neighbouring countries to allow equal access to spectrum much more difficult to achieve as we had so little room to manoeuvre. Meetings that started early morning would often continue into the night as we trawled through channel by channel agreeing trade offs on both sides, re-working plans until we had an agreed version we could come home with.

Derek was a great mentor and a good friend who was well respected not just amongst DTELS colleagues but throughout the many Whitehall departments with which he worked daily. I believe his career started in the radio department of the Post Office and he subsequently worked in the Ministry of Post & Telecommunications and the Home Office Directorate of Radio Technology (which later became the Radiocommunications Agency). Many years after his retirement colleagues at RA would often ask after Derek and relate fond memories of their time working together.

Derek had his own tales to tell too, especially his experiences at the World Administrative Radio Conterence (WARC) where he was a key member of the UK delegation. WARCs were always big occassions many years in the planning and lasted several weeks. I remember Derek telling me that it was the custom of certain countries to field members of their royal family to lead their delegation and how he had once been introduced to a prince! The resolutions of the 1979 conference of course had profound implications for the directorate, and the rest is indeed history.

This reminds me of one day at Horseferry House when a colleague took a call on Derek's phone as he was busy with a visitor. She called through to him from the next room. "Derek, it's the Duke of York. He wants to ask why he can't use certain frequencies in his helicopter". "Yes, of course it is" came a chuckle. Air/ground frequencies were a hot topic at the time and a difficult problem to solve. This was surely a leg pull? "No, no I think it really is him you'd better take it". And indeed it was.

Derek was an accomplished negotiator and dealt expertly with the many challenges that faced DTELS during the difficult and risky exercise to introduce a new assignment plan for the emergency services often standing his ground when confronting the many competing demands for spectrum external to the directorate. Much of this behind the scenes activity went unseen by most of course, but he was always protective of our own users requirements and Derek was well regarded by police and fire service representatives.

Derek looked after his staff and each year we would all go to his house in Kent for a summer barbeque. Christmas was also a happy time too. In fact much like DTELS generally FSPG was both incredibly hard work and a fun place to be at the same time. In our part of the organisation this was largely due to Derek's good nature and leadership.

Shortly before Derek retired in 1991 attention was turning to planning for eventual replacement of the analogue "WARC" schemes. Derek and I were detailed to go to the US for a week to meet counterparts there to exchange ideas and to learn about how trunked radio systems worked in a public safety environment and what the spectrum implications might be. We both decided to add on a weeks leave. Derek decided to pay to take Tanya on the trip and suggested I did same for my wife and children too. So whilst Derek and I were off meeting officials at various locations, Tanya, Christine and the two children were sightseeing in their own hire car. Each evening we all met up again at the next motel enroute. Occassionally just in time for happy hour. That was good planning. We spent a total of a fortnight in California which included a full weeks spread of meetings scheduled throughout the state with the local frequency coordinators and FCC officials, visiting amongst others the busy LAPD HQ and saw a control room built on springs to resist earthquakes.

I am glad that Derek had an active retirement. I know he had many interests outside of work including travel and home video. I have some great memories of working and socialising with him. Christine and I send our sincere condolences to Tanya and family.

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Steven Cole
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Correction from Steven Cole

Post by Steven Cole »

The original post dated 16th April 2020 listed Derek Pooley as a Senior Wireless Engineer (SWE) at the time of his retirement. This was changed today as it is believed Derek was promoted to Grade 7 at some point during the 1980's to head up Frequency Planning Group.

Steven R. Cole
21st April 2020

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Steven Cole
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From John Leary

Post by Steven Cole »

The following was sent in by John Leary:

“I was extremely saddened to learn through the DTELS web site that my Horseferry House colleague Derek Pooley had passed away. I had the pleasure of working closely with Derek in the 1980’s when he headed up the Directorate’s Frequency Planning Group and I was involved in WARC fixed equipment Procurement and later in WARC Roll-out Planning. In particular we collaborated as Home Office representatives on the ACPO Land based Search and Rescue Committee Chaired by Mr Frank Morritt who was the Deputy Chief Constable of the North Yorkshire Police Service.

As members of Mr Morrit’s Committee we travelled all over the UK talking to the civilian volunteer ground based Search and Rescue teams to establish what they needed for reliable communications and what was required to facilitate communications with Military Search and Rescue Helicopters. The work of the Committee culminated in a comprehensive report (the recommendations of which were all accepted) which then led to agreement on the channel assignment and system arrangement for Land Based Search and Rescue in England and Wales.

Derek was an expert on Regulatory and Frequency Planning matters but had the interpersonal and communication skills to explain complex matters to non technical civilian volunteer Search and Rescue team members. His contribution to Mr Morritt’s committee was significant and central to its eventual success. When dealing with Police and Fire frequency planning issues or requests for additional frequency assignments he was always fair but not likely to give way if standards of service from co-channel occupancy were likely to be compromised from any proposal that you put forward. On a personal level it was a delight to be in his company, particularly when away from home and socialising with the other members of Mr Morritt’s committee.

Derek was a colleague who I liked enormously and appreciated on both a personal and professional level. My most sincere condolences go out to his wife and family”.

John Leary
21st April 2020

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Steven Cole
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DEREK POOLEY (GRADE 7 - HEADQUARTERS)

Post by Steven Cole »

It is with regret to announce I received an email from Tony Redshaw to say that Derek Pooley died yesterday from a heart attack whilst walking the grounds at home. His wife Tanya has kindly written to me with the following brief details:

"Derek was 84 and retired from the Directorate in 1991. He lived in Five Oak Green near Tonbridge Kent until the last 3 years when he moved to Eastbourne. He had many fond memories of his work life and led a happy active retirement living life to the the full. I am sure he will be deeply missed by all those he knew."

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