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Mike Power

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MIKE POWER better known as "Blackie"
Married to Thelma 1954.  Five children. Ten grandchildren   
Now living in Hobart, Tasmania
At CONDOR May 1950 to Dec 1953.

1953      HMS Eagle and Falcon as an AA5
1954-56  HMS Seahawk (AA4) - Fireflies and Gannets
1956-57  HMS Sanderling (AA3) - Attackers and Seahawks
1957-60  HMS Falcon (AA1) - Sheetmetal shop (with Morph and Mike Ware)
!961       HMS Heron - Hunters                                                                      
1962-64  HMS Condor - Instructing Naval Air Mechanics
!965       HMS Daedalus - Conversion course to Electrical Artificer
1966      HMS Fulmar (EA1) - Mk2 Buccaneers,
1967-69  809 Squadron, HMS Hermes and Fulmar - Mk 2 Buccaneers.
1969-70  HMS Daedalus - Naval Air Technical Evaluation Centre.

LEFT RN  Oct 70 - Left the Navy on early retirement.

      "In 1970, with Britain�s economy appearing to be faltering and Australia beckoning strongly as the country of the future, we decided that it would be in the best interest of the children if we emigrated. Getting a job was the next problem. Tasmania was our State of choice, but to emigrate there you had to be sponsored.  I therefore flooded all likely sources of employment in Tasmania with my CV. There were many replies, but mostly it was 'contact us when you arrive'. However I did receive a telegram from the University of Tasmania asking if I knew anything about Maths Spectrometers. Of course I hadn�t heard of it, but it was the first positive reply I had received so I decided to tell a little white lie. I replied back that I was indeed familiar with Maths Spectrometers. I had, after all, progressed reasonably well in HNC maths and it was just the spectrometer bit that confused me.
      "Things happened very quickly then. I was accepted on a three month trial period and because I was employed out of Australia I received full removal allowances and a university house on arrival. They even paid for shipment of my old Rover!

After a six-week cruise on the Achille Lauro, I arrived at the Chemistry Dept of the University to discover that the Maths Spectrometer that I claimed to be an expert on was in actual fact a Mass Spectrometer.  Someone had cocked up the telegram.
      "The machine itself looked in a very sad state. This was the first generation of complex analytical instruments that universities were beginning to buy. It was an American instrument and the sales pitch that came with it stated that it was so simple that 'even your secretary can operate it'. Taking this at face value, the wife of an administrator was offered the job. Unfortunately, she left in tears after the first week. It was at this very fortunate moment that my CV arrived at the university.
      "I received a warm welcome on arrival and was presented with a large pile of manuals, shown where the library was situated, in case I needed more, and told that the Mass Spectrometer would be required in two months when term started. Modifications were also required for another analytical head to be fitted for a PhD student�s research project.  I set to work at once and with more than my share of luck and with invaluable help from the workshop staff, I was able to get the instrument producing data to the required specifications during the specified period.
   "At this stage Professor Bloom, our head of department, confirmed my appointment as being permanent, and with a smile asked,
'By the way Mr Power, what is this "Maths" Spectrometer that you are such an expert on?'

"For seven years I worked very closely with Professor Bloom in his environmental work. He was years ahead of his time in his battle against industrial pollution, and I was fortunate to be part of his team. Mainly through his efforts, Tasmania is now recognised throughout Australia as the Clean Green State. We worked mainly on developing methods for the determination of heavy metals in the air, water and food chain. Our studies of base-line levels required us to analyse air sampled from aircraft over the Tasman Sea and to also spend periods in isolated areas such as Cape Grim, which is situated on the north west tip of Tasmania.  We lived in a NASA caravan on the edge of a cliff while we did our sampling.
      "In 1984 we inherited a Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometer from Geology. I was fortunate again in that this procedure was beginning to take off. There was very soon a waiting period of up to 12 months to use this machine. It was then decided to create the Stable Isotope lab as a separate facility. I was promoted to Professional Officer in charge of Stable Isotope Mass spectrometry and given authority to purchase another instrument.
"In addition to other elements, the lab analysed oxygen isotopes from Antarctic ice cores, which fell as rain around a thousand years ago. The objective was to determine past temperature variations. I found it a novel experience to be using pure one-thousand-year-old water in our department's Xmas drinks! But the greatest use of it, by far, was by geologists in their exploration studies. My greatest achievement was to develop (with the help of an American Research fellow) the first fully automated laser ablation system for sulphide determinations. It was featured on
Quantum, a prime-time TV science program. I retired at the mandatory 65 near the top of the Professional Officers scale (most unusual for a MATHS spectrometer expert).



      "We live in a nice location and I enjoy walking the dog on the beach. I sometimes go to the Navy club and chat to friends over a beer. There are quite a lot of ex-RN personnel here. We have a motor home and when the weather starts to cool we join the rest of the Grey Nomads and head north to the tropics. Over the years we have travelled all around Australia and up through the centre from Adelaide to Darwin. We are very happy here, but I do miss not being able to participate in the close relationships that have formed since Alan tracked down the 49ers."