The Northern Tasmanian Radio Club (NTARC) is saddened to report the passing of member Bryn Warrick VK7FBAW of Georgetown Radio, on Saturday 11 October 2014. Bryn was well know to our Ocean Racers and Cruisers who checked in with Tamar Radio. Vale Bryn.
NTARC is saddened to report the passing of member Bryn Warrick VK7FBAW of Georgetown, on Saturday 11 October 2014.
Bryn migrated to Australia from Wales and settled in Georgetown, working thereafter for over 40 years at Comalco, Bell Bay. He became an amateur radio operator several years ago, but had long been the ears and voice of Tamar Sea Rescue and well known to the maritime communities of Tasmania and Victoria. He became equally known for his broadcasts, on VK7RAA, of impending adverse weather conditions, delivered in that beautiful, musical Welsh accent and always beginning with, "All stations, all stations on the amateur bands...".
Somehow, even if his forecast threatened us with loss of antennas and all that goes with what the elements can throw at us, it was somehow more bearable because it was Bryn that delivered the message.
Bryn was a very private and gentle man but like many celts, that could quickly dissipate if he really got fired up. John VK7JA tells us of a time some years back, when there was particular disharmony between two groups active in voluntary coastal patrol and sea rescue work in Tasmania. The argument apparently got very dirty, with one organisation having the assets of the other frozen, pending sale.
Into this fray comes a knock on Bryn's door and a curt message, "You are to immediately to cease operation and surrender your gear!" While Bryn and the caller were still inside, arguing that point, there came yet another knock at the door. This second caller was apparently the Radio Inspector, armed with the Radio Communications Act and a fist full of departmental instructions. His message was equally to the point, "Bryn, I instruct you to keep your station on air, respond to all calls and maintain normal traffic." Bryn of course was immediately swayed by the infinitely greater logic of the RI, another well-known celtic trait, and promptly went back on air.
Not to be easily out done, the other party then tried to have Bryn’s electricity supply and his phone cut off. Bryn was not going to have that sort of nonsense either and quickly had those threats extinguished. As John reports, “Bryn could certainly command some priorities. After that, Aurora and Telstra always had him on top of the list for immediate reconnects.”
Joining Tamar Sea Rescue on 1 March 1994, around the time of his retirement, Bryn earned his marine radio operator’s licence in July of that year. He then proceeded to carry the brunt of Tamar Sea Rescue’s radio service over the ensuing years. He was appointed to the Service’s rank of Lieutenant and was their weekday operator, with the headquarters being manned only on weekends. Co-ordinating rescues, broadcasting weather reports and
warnings, conducting safety skeds or relaying messages to those beyond mobile phone range were all in a days work for Bryn and nothing was too much trouble. He regularly clocked up 96 hours each week on radio watch, often up to 12 hours at a sitting, which is certainly a very significant voluntary effort.
Later, as his health declined, another volunteer covered the first sked of the day, allowing Bryn time to get organised for the longer part of the shift. Not that it made that much difference. His base radio at home was next to his bedroom, so he was essentially on 24-hour watch. From home, he was connected to a remote VHF base on Mt Horror via a UHF radio link. This gave Bryn coverage of all the waters around North East Tasmania, most of Flinders Island and down the East Coast where comms were handed over to the St Helens Coast Guard.
He also had a HF marine and local VHF radio at his George Town residence. He also handled considerable traffic for Victorian boats, given the absence of a similar service on that side of the Strait.
Bryn’s service to coastal safety in our waters was legendary and he was deservedly popular with visiting mariners, many of whom came to visit him once ashore. Indeed, we have come across an article in a high quality USA boating magazine describing just one such visit, during which his callers presented him with a bottle Glen Fiddich, his favourite tipple. He also regularly featured in Australian yachting publications.
Extensive though his contribution to the Tamar Sea Rescue has been, probably few of us realised that it had not been Bryn’s first involvement in safety and rescue at sea. Born in 1927, he was too young to enlist for active service during much of World War 2. He joined the RAF around the end of hostilities and saw service in the India and Burma theatres – as a member of a RAF Air Sea Rescue squadron, engaged in the recovery of downed airmen at sea. Bryn clearly took to heart the motto of the Air Sea Rescue service, ‘The Sea Shall Not Have Them’. He lived and breathed it for the rest of his life.
Bryn was selected as State Finalist in the Senior Australian of the Year Awards in 2009 for his services as a sea rescue volunteer, an honour truly deserved.
He attended NTARC events when able but this had become less frequent in recent years, as age and the inability to drive took their toll. He had a fall back in May and essentially remained housebound thereafter.
Bryn was predeceased by his wife Anne in 1995 and is survived by his daughter Diane and his son, fellow amateur and NTARC member Kevin VK7FKAW. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Diane, Kevin, the rest of Bryn’s family and to his extended family both at Tamar Sea Rescue and on the broader seas. It was an absolute privilege to have known him and we are all the poorer for his passing.
“Those who go down to the sea in ships and do works in the great waters.”
VALE Bryn VK7FBAW
A Bio from his nomination for Senior Australian of the Year 2009
Sea rescue volunteer
In serving the coastal rescue services of Tasmania over the last 14 years, Bryn Warrick has clocked up a staggering 50,000 hours of unpaid volunteer work. This impressive contribution began in 1994 when Bryn initially started volunteer work with the Royal Coastal Patrol. He is now the Search and Rescue Coordinator for Tamar Sea Rescue and averages 96 hours a week manning the organisation’s rescue radio. To boats in distress Bryn is the reassuring voice on the other end of the radio coordinating rescue efforts. His presence is vital to maintenance of morale and he will often spend more than 12 hours at a time on the radio relaying between the occupants of a distressed vessel and the rescue authorities. Bryn also routinely broadcasts weather forecasts to ensure that all vessels are aware of weather developments. In Victoria there is no similar service and Bryn provides support far beyond his geographical area. He scans the airwaves all night and if any distress call is received he liaises with the appropriate authorities. At 81 years of age, Bryn’s commitment to this role shows no signs of wavering. Described by those who know him as a ‘human dynamo,’ his dedication to protecting those travelling the seas is inspirational.