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In his early days in the TA Ken was definitely a “Folkestone Fusilier”, spending most of his annual camps there.
Of course it could have been the camaraderie in the mess away from home that had most appeal – Mike Bartlett (Don’s son) Don was ever the best of company at any event and in any circumstance.So the change of Corps and size were not exactly popular with anyone in the Group.The fact that we became a recognised strength at Grantham was due entirely to Ken’s supportive leadership, his planning, inspiration, professionalism, determination and his tact and diplomacy.Ken did not shy away from the task of taking the Group from the comfort and support of Mill Hill and its postal empathy to the unknown that was Grantham, and being part of a very large TA organisation.At the same time he had to downsize the Group, from four to three Regiments and take manning from 75 officers and 750 soldiers to 55 and around 550 – and improve military skills!He was a terrific entertainer with his tales and his singing of anything from light opera to naughty ditties – but without any rude words. He would tenaciously pursue a correct and just cause with all his guile and energy.
“Having a bit tonight” meant “rolly polly” – which was whatever you wanted it to be! In the toughest days Ken was a man to be working for as he never let his team down, nor would he accept a less than satisfactory solution.With the 1992 reorganisation Ken was promoted to Director and General Manager SWSW and moved to Gloucester.He returned to Manchester for his final appointment as DGM Royal Mail NWNW before retiring finally in 1998.My enduring memory of him is in the old Mess bar at Mill Hill, climbing onto the bar, turning his back to the crowd & performing a back somersault, to land on his feet in their midst!What a glorious & memorable character, who we all remember with deep affection.A Lancastrian who joined the Post Office after leaving grammar school Ken’s career progressed through postal operations grades and he became Manchester’s youngest ever Assistant Head Postmaster in 1973 (at the age of 34).