Started in 1925 - Retired in 1968
J.P. Brooman retired
after more than 42 years of government service.
(Transport Canada Vol 19 No 2 Mar-Apr 1968)
Mr. Brooman and his wife were honored at a reception at the Clark Memorial Centre in Ottawa where fellow employees presented Mr. Brooman with a gold watch and a photo of the TSL staff, and his wife with a travelling case.
"I started out in radio working after school and for a full year in a radio store in Oakville, Ont.," recalls Mr. Brooman. "We made everything then, including condensers, tube sockets and resistors; building radios was not just assembly."
"Anyway," he continued, "wireless was the big thing then so I took a course in operating and in 1925 joined the old Department of Marine and Fisheries at the ripe age of 17 years."
"I think I was the youngest operator in the service for nearly a year. I served my time on the old Lurcher Lightship with the old half-kilowatt spark transmitter and converted crystal receiver, and on the Canadian Ice Patrol with the Canadian Government Ship Mikula."
"We were working 56 hours a week on the coast stations then and six on and 12 off for 11 months straight could get a little tiring at times," said Mr. Brooman. "One of the compensations was that we were living in prohibition days yet we could buy rum for $25 a five-gallon keg delivered."
"In 1927/28, I spent a year at Belle Isle that was one of the toughest years in the department, I think. Isolation was isolation then. We ran short of food, one operator got beri beri and another anaemia and the cook was sick so all told it was a bad year."
"Incidentally, the operator who relieved me that year died at Belle Isle and they had his body packed in ice for about three months before they could get it off.
"After that, I spent most of my time at Chebucto Head and Camperdown until 1938 when I was transferred to Ottawa after Air Services was set up," recalled Mr. Brooman. "I worked for about four years on installations and finally settled down in the Test Room (now the TSL) where I remained until I retired."
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