Wayne Roberts

Wayne remembers Mr Morton's interview conundrums and becoming an apprentice in 1964

I was interviewed in 1963 for a job in the Photographic Department of Fielding and Platt by Mr Morton the Personnel Manager.

Geoff Morton’s puzzles

The Personnel Department was situated at the back of the Time Office where Mr McCarragher the Time Clerk, would sit working at his desk, keeping an eye on those late clocking-in of a morning.

I did not get the job, nor did I get any other job that I applied for that year.  So my choices were limited.

Linden Road School where I, had thus far, completed my secondary education introduced a fifth year only a couple of years earlier and I decided, with the help of my Mum, to go back to school and join that class.

The following year I applied again to join Fielding and Platt, this time on their apprenticeship scheme.

Mr Morton interviewed me again and part of that involved a test assembling a pyramid that had been cut into two parts; he also asked me a verbal puzzle.

“The poser went as follows: ‘a lily on a pond doubled its size every day. If it covers the pond in thirty-one days, how long would it take to cover half the pond.”

I gave him the answer and he asked me to explain how I’d worked it out. I said that he had told me how to solve it when he interviewed me twelve months earlier!

A fly on a bike

But he had a back-up question, something to do with a fly on a bike!  He asked the conundrum and I sat looking into space for what seemed like five minutes.  He prompted me for an answer.  The puzzle was about time and distance and several numbers were involved.  I blurted out one of the numbers and got it right.

He knew that I’d guessed, and got lucky, but at the final interview he told me that I had the job; partly, he said, because he had not recognised me as the boy he had interviewed in 1963.

I was very pleased and, although I had other offers of apprenticeship positions with very good companies, I took what I was told was one of the finest heavy engineering apprenticeships in the UK.  In the 1960s, that meant the world.

Click here to see the 1964 Apprentice intake of which Wayne was part.

Comments about this page

  • I went to South Africa around 1970 when Fielding’s had the first lot of redundancies. I came back to UK 3 years later. I worked with Wayne and Jim Mercer on the presses also remember Tony and Fred!   

    By Bob Jackson (22/11/2015)
  • Like Wayne (I went to school, worked, played rugby and holidayed with him), I also remember the Geoff Morton interview and the pyramid. I remember our apprenticeship first day. Wayne, Mike Lane and myself riding our bicycles to work and having a bollocking off Bert as I entered the training school for stepping outside the white lines, what had I let myself in for! (I did get my own back on Bert many years later when he was working at Gardners of Gloucester on the lathes).  I will always be grateful for having an apprenticeship at Fieldings, it has helped me more than once obtain work through the years. ( I’m still working).

    By Tony Hope (10/12/2013)
  • Wow! I’m glad to see that word of the site has spread all the way to South Africa – thanks Fred! I wonder what else you remember of your apprenticeship in ’64 and people like Bert Ravenhill and Gerry Williams? And did Geoff Morton ask you similar conundrums in your interview?!

    I know that Fielding’s folk are scattered all over the world, but it’s intriguing how you came to be in South Africa – was it through a Fielding connection or job that you came to move out there?

    By Ollie Taylor (07/03/2013)
  • I have lived in South Africa for 41 years but still remember starting with Wayne in the Apprentice School. It was a superb grounding in self discipline. If you could survive the infamous block you could do anything. Our hands were black and blue from chiseling, filing, and scraping but only the most determined made it through.

    By FRED MCLEARIE (06/03/2013)
  • Thanks for adding this very entertaining page! I look forward to hearing about what happened during your apprenticeship as well as your memories of the Pipe Shop. I wonder if anyone else remembers any other of Geoff Morton’s interview questions?!

    By Ollie Taylor (06/02/2013)

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