David Michael Ferigan – 10th January 1938 to 26th April 2024

Dave F has passed away aged 86. In October 2015 we published the following article following a party to pay tribute to him. Many aspects of his life were covered in tribute at the funeral and this post has been updated with an addendum. The Radio Branch sends its condolences to the family.

Dave F - 311015RE Signalling Community Pays Tribute to Dave Ferigan – from a Bulletin dated 31st October 2015

On Saturday evening, 31st October 2015, members of the RE community of wireless operators, radio operators and signallers and their partners held a party at the King Charles Hotel in Gillingham to pay tribute to Dave Ferigan (aka “Dave F” – G3ZYV).

Recently surviving cancer and in his late seventies, in his life Dave gave 17 years service to the Royal Engineers as a civilian instructor, teaching radio operators.



This time was spent developing and teaching communications training at the signals wing in Chattenden Barracks, near Rochester in Kent.  The period covered the latter part of the cold war, the Falklands campaign and others when the army were substantial in numbers.  Subsequently training for military radio communications and electronic warfare was at its peak.  The first battlefield computers started to appear and Clansman radio was reasonably new and mostly serviceable.

His wife Pam and son Sean, will tell you this was a pivotal time in Dave’s life, his service continued right up until shortly after the signal training wing re-located to Minley in Hampshire – where it is now the Command Support Branch of the Royal Engineers.

Status – Legend

Being the only civilian instructor at “the wing”, Dave earned the utmost respect from everyone; fellow military trade instructors, students and military staff, so much so that he became something of a legend.  He managed to achieve this status with just about every level of the command structure, with both the TA and regular soldiers who passed through the wing.  The course photo below, one of several hundred of Dave, shows him with a B1 Signals course circa 1987.

Circa 1987

Circa 1987 – Front second from left

Daves Stomping Ground

Daves Old Stomping Ground in 2004 (Showing Bob Russell)

Dave developed and participated in many of the training exercises – spending a lot of his time either on the roof of the building or in the “den” where he taught students and staff the art of building and testing antennas and running the exercises.  Versatile, he was equally at home teaching any of the subjects in the trade syllabus, but back in the eighties and nineties, he was also solely responsible for teaching the morse code right up until it went out of service.  The number of students leaving the wing with passes in this difficult subject shows Dave’s exceptional patience and teaching ability.

(Ed.  – What I find inspirational about Dave is his quiet, good humoured, determined and infectious brand of teaching.  As many of his close friends and colleagues will tell you he is a social character who keeps an open door for anyone who wants to share in his exploits and antics.) Plus he has this amazing head for heights.

Moving on…

Dave made sure that when the wing moved from Chattenden, all of the facilities were improved or recreated on arrival, negotiating and creating an impressive array of antennas and classroom facilities.  Without his expertise the messaging systems of the period used by the corps would have been less effective; Dave’s whole communications philosophy is to get the message through, securely by whatever means available. A great knowledge of electronics and improvised communications skills underpins this and Dave presents this as an art form.


(Thanks Ian)

One day because of the state of the M25 Dave decided commuting from Gillingham to Minley was no longer worthwhile and retired to a life of fishing in the English Channel.  This “working retirement” lasted for fourteen years.  These days he spends his time on the amateur radio bands.  He still passes his skills on to the local radio club and with his family at home in Gillingham, he regularly receives members of the RE community.


David Micheal Ferigan was born on the 10th of January 1938 and Died on the 26th April 2024.  His life was celebrated at Medway Crematorium on 7th June 2024.  In his later years Dave fought off cancer and heart disease until he passed away after an accident at home. 

The Radio Branch was present at the funeral to hear tributes from Ade and Sean covering many aspects of his life including his extraordinary power to multi task and some of his near misses.  

“So remember me as I used to be, not as you saw me last.  And keep me close in memory, in your present and our past”


Pictures:  Sean Ferrigan,  Branch Archive


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4 Responses to David Michael Ferigan – 10th January 1938 to 26th April 2024

  1. ChrisW says:

    I was lucky enough to have known Dave as a friend, work colleague and fellow radio amateur for many years. He was instrumental with my entry into amateur radio and later with fine tuning of my CW ability to get my A licence.
    Many was the day we would disappear up to the “Den” at lunch time to work the world on the bands or climb the tower to fine tune the antennas!

    I will miss our debates on the pros and cons of coaxially fed antennas versus open wire feeders!

    My thoughts are with your family my friend…

    Chris W

  2. Jim Miller says:

    I would just like to wish Dave all the best. He was a great inspiration towards me getting my Amateur radio licence and a mind of knowledge. I would often sit in the shack at CTW (Gib) and listen to him making sweet music on the paddle and hold a conversation with him at the same time, truly a legend.

    Jim Miller (M0CMP)
    Station manager for G3XRE

  3. Dave & Chris Barker says:

    Best wishes to Dave F from Dave & Chris Barker…. (we now live in Florida – it’s a tough life). Great memories of the Sigs Wing xx

  4. Dave & Chris Barker says:

    All the best to Dave F from The Barkers. We now live in Florida (it’s a tough life). Happy memories of times spent in the Sigs Wing. xx

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