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John Crispin

Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 8 years, 2 months ago





From News and Views, October 1994

In the previous issue of News and Views we reported the death of John Crispin. Here Colin Latham, former colleague and former chief engineer, pays tribute to John.


When I received a phone call from Chelmsford asking me to write an obituary for John Crispin I felt that others - more in his line of super-salesmanship on the grand scale – were better qualified than I. But it is true that I had probably known John longer than many in Marconi's. For the best part of five decades, through thick and thin, we remained firm friends and that's why I feel his untimely departure so deeply.


I first met John just after the war when I was an ex-RAF civilian instructor at the Advanced Ground Radar School, Yatesbury, and he was on the RAF permanent staff. I sold him, under pressure, two items he needed - a big mains transformer and a 12-inch loudspeaker – and I recall the pain of the hard bargain he drove before we agreed the price! Little did I know then we’d meet again, several years later, when I had joined Marconi’s and he was already established.


Remembering the affair of the transformer and speaker, it was no surprise to me when he transferred from Field Services to Sales and took the first steps toward a successful career, leading progressively to senior positions in the Company, from which he negotiated major deals.


Not known for finesse and courtesy with his peers and staff, John was nevertheless invariably respected. He had a unique knack of being almost rude to people, if necessary, in such a way that they warmed to him and relied on his promises, promises he always kept. He was a master of protocol when dealing with customers - especially from the Government and foreign parts. If anyone was a 'character' it was he! He showed enormous stamina and perseverance in all the tedious phases of bid­ding and selling under difficult circumstances. He could carry on though long days, late nights and early starts when all around were flagging. There can be no doubt that his determined efforts contributed greatly to the achievements of the Company over many years.


The passing of John Crispin has been a great shock and our sympathy goes out to his widow and family. Like everything he did, he died in the grand manner, abroad on holiday in the USA. No half measures for dear old JDC!




Comments (1)

Ian Gillis said

at 5:30 pm on Feb 11, 2016

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