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James (Jim) Browne
16th November 1949
North Shields, Northumberland

A Day in the Life of.......Me

I took early retirement from Motorola in December 2009 and enjoying life playing Golf, Walking and Gardening. I don’t tell anyone that I am 68, I say that I am 18 with 50 years experience. Very similar to my team of engineers at Motorola when asked “Hey boss what Uni did you go to”? I reply the “University of Life”. In my day we did apprenticeships and had the best of both worlds, work, training and get paid but in saying that, I did do the “Open University” later in my career.

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I was born at Preston Hospital North Shields, the middle child and only son of John Browne and Henrietta (Rita) Kiervan. My eldest sister Sandra died in 2016 aged 69 and had been living in New Zealand for nearly 40 years. My ‘baby’ sister Christine Michelle is 9 years younger and still living in North Shields. My Dad came from Dublin and my Mam’s ancestry originally came from Ireland, but she was born in the North East. My Dad served in the British Army for 12 years (1932-1945) and was in India and Iraq with 14/20th Kings Hussars during WW2. My Dad’s Dad (my Granddad) Joseph Browne, served with the Royal Munster Fusilier in Gallipoli and then WW1 in France. He was Killed in Action on 4 October 1918 just a month before the War ended. My Grandmother Christina who lived in Dublin who I never met died in 1944 aged 56. My mother also served in the ATC during the war.

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Tragedy hit the family when my Dad died of cancer of the spine aged 45, I was 9 years old and my ‘baby’ sister was only 8 months old. Our Mam struggled to fetch the three of us up but she did a wonderful job and I have got wonderful childhood memories. We didn’t have much and lived in a 2 bed downstairs Flat with an outside toilet at the bottom of the backyard. Our metal Bath hung on the wall in the yard and we religiously had our baths every Sunday, whether we needed it or not. Mam always turned us out clean and smart for school saying “It’s no good being poor and looking poor”. Me Mam’s brother Jimmy Kiervan (Uncle Jimmy) was very much part of our family life then, a great man and great footballer who was on the books of Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers before the 2WW. Uncle Jimmy served in “Monty’s” 8th Army in North Africa during the war. Mam remarried some years later to a lovely man, Dennis Gorman who was the only father my little sister remembers. Sadly Dennis died in 1980 at a very young age of 48. Our Mam died in September 2000 having battled cancer for 10 years but when she looks back and see how successful and happy her children have turned out, she can be very proud.

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I have been married to Christine for 38 years and we have 3 children. Our eldest Fiola Katy was born in Guildford, Surrey in 1983 and after University worked in London before getting a job in Houston, Texas. She moved with her job from the USA to Perth, Australia in January 2011. Fiola married Aron (whom she met in Houston) in August 2013 and they returned to UK in August 2014 and live in Manchester. They have a son, Reggie who was born on 3 February 2016 weighing 6lbs 13ozs.

Then there is Holly Louise, born in Taunton, Somerset in 1985 who lives and works for a large Insurance company in our home town of Gloucester. Holly and her partner John got married on 12th September 2014. Their daughter Sophia Louise was born 12 minutes past midnight on the 8th July 2014 weighing in at 6lbs 7ozs and is growing into a beautiful little girl. Sophia started ‘big school’ in September and our daughter gave birth a baby sister for Sophia on the 7th September 2017. Lily Ann and mother are doing fine.

Our son Glenn John Wai Lam was born in Hong Kong in 1990. We adopted Glenn at the age of 10 months while we were living in Hong Kong. He has finished Higher education and his Apprenticeship and working for Gloucester County Council in Business Administration within the Strategic Needs Analysis department.

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My working life has spanned 44 years, has been varied and took me to many places around the world. My first employer was the British Army (Royal Corps of Signals), where I served my country for 12 years as a Soldier and Tradesman. I joined as a 15 year old Boy Soldier leaving home for the first time. My units were all UK based but overseas detachments up to 12 months were to the Bahamas, Cyprus, Italy, Northern Ireland and Germany with some of the places going twice. In 1970 I was selected to do an Airborne selection course in Aldershot. After 3 months Pre-Para training I successfully completed the most hardest, physical, mental course that is “P” Company. Successful Parachute training lead me to be awarded my “Wings”, which I proudly still wear today. After leaving the army I worked in London for 6 years where I met and married Christine. I worked in multi national companies, Bechtel Corp (including a spell in the Middle East) and Shell International Petroleum before leaving there to join the civil service (GCHQ), firstly at Bletchley Park and then later, Taunton, Bude, Hong Kong and Cheltenham. After 16 years I left GCHQ and worked for SERCO as Contracts Manager at the Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) based out of Malvern. In 1999 I went to work for Motorola Networks Infrastructure in Swindon, back into an Engineering role and I was there for 11 years working up to Engineering Manager working on 2G, 3G, WIMAX and later in LTE Technologies until my retirement in December 2009.

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Places that I have lived and worked include, Bahamas, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Beijing. My business trips with Motorola included trips to, Vienna, Athens, Paris, Porto, Madrid, Malaga, Milan, Lithuania, Singapore, Johore Bahru, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuwait and Dubai. In 1970 when I finished a posting to Nassau, Bahamas I flew to Miami and took a Greyhound bus for a month and travelled around the USA, visiting places such as, New Orleans, San Antonio, El Paso, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Detroit and Boston. Further visits to the USA were to New York, Washington DC and Cocoa Beach Florida. Other places of interest I have visited include, Mexico (football tour), Israel, Penang, Phuket, Singapore, Bangkok, Pattaya and more closer to home, Spain, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Genoa, Monte Carlo, many visits to Portugal and the Algarve, Cyprus, Barbados and Budapest. You will be able to see most of the places I have visited in “My Photo Album” section of Web Site.