In this podcast, the 7th in the series, Phil Judkins describes the essential contribution to Britain’s radar defences by the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the WAAFs, where, in the 18 months before the Battle of Britain began, hundreds of WAAFs were trained, often at the Radar School at Bawdsey, to operate and manage the systems of Chain Home and the later radar systems.
With the passing of Richard Trim in September, DEHS lost an industry leader, a wise counsel and a good friend.
In June 2003 Transmission Lines, Richard described his career for us thus: –
My professional career in the British Electronics Industry commenced in 1948 with a five-year student apprenticeship at AC Cossor Ltd. I then transferred to the Secondary Surveillance Radar Laboratory where I developed airborne transponders, which, in 1957, I took to the USA for a successful evaluation of Cossor SSR. This led directly to the adoption of SSR by the International Civil Aviation Organization later that year as the main ground radar-based air traffic control aid worldwide. Upon my return to the UK, I became a founding member of the Cossor New Products Group, resulting in my first patent – for a continuously variable microwave radar antenna feed polarizer. As Chief Engineer of the Cossor subsidiary Communications (Air) Ltd I developed the FT-11B and FT-13C portable avionics test sets and the CRM 500 ILS Test for the Lightning Mk.VI Fighter Flight Line ATE. I then transferred to Cossor Radar and Electronics Ltd where I developed the CRM5 ll and CRM555 Test Sets. As Technical Manager Avionic Products at Cossor, developement of the IFF1500 and IFF1520 transponders for the RAF, the SSR 2100 and IFF 2800 microminiaturized transponders and the CRI 600 IFF Interrogator for Rapier. In 1968, I commenced the development of the CILS-75/CILS-76 Airborne Instrument Landing Receivers for the RN and RAF. In 1972 I was awarded an OBE for Services to Exports. The following year, as Director of Cossor Instruments, I was responsible for the development of the 3100 and 4100 oscilloscopes and for a range of pulse echo cable fault location products. In 1973, I was appointed Technical Director of Cossor Electronics Ltd., giving a series of lectures on SSR for ATC in Peking in 1975.
In 1976, I joined Pye Unicom/Pye Ether as Technical Director responsible for the development of computer- controlled spectrophotometry and chromatography laboratory instruments, also for pH and electro-chemistry laboratory instruments.
In 1980 I joined Racal Decca as Technical Director, Racal Decca Marine Radar Ltd, developing the Master Series deep-sea radars and a range of small boat radars, the first to have daylight viewing, raster scanned displays in colour. I was then appointed a director of Racal Decca Advanced Development Ltd, responsible for the Racal interests in the NATO NIS IFF Project.
In 1990, I left Racal to form Gilden Research Ltd, winning a DTI Smart Award for a microwave beacon project. As a result of an approach from Docklands Light Railway in 1996, I developed the SMARTSOUND Background Noise Adaptive signal processing technique, which later featured on BBC TV Tomorrow’s World programme and won a Design Council Millennium Product Award. In 1997 I received a contract from Raytheon Systems Ltd to develop a modification to the CILS-75 Localizer Receiver to make it immune to FM Broadcast Transmitter interference, which is currently being implemented.
Ave atque vale, Richard – you are sorely missed by all in DEHS Dr Phil Judkins
In the sixth podcast of the series we look at the contributions of three inspiring university scientists, who arrived later in the story, but nevertheless led important areas of radar research and development – John Cockcroft, ‘Ben’ Lewis and Bernard Lovell. Listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.
If you worked at Bawdsey or know someone that did we would love to hear from you. You can contact us on social media or via our website.
The rapid development of radar brought about by world war provided many opportunities for peacetime exploitation. From air-traffic control and police radar traps to medical scanning techniques, but perhaps the most interesting use of radar is to help us explore our solar system in the new science of Radar Astronomy. Radar astronomy has grown from the early Earth-based mapping of our nearest celestial neighbours to modern scientific radar analysis of distant moons by remote space probes.
On the 21st December there is a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter – they will appear to be very close together in the sky.
In the video below, Paul Whiting explains the development of Radar Astronomy.
It’s never been more important to get everyone supporting their favourite cultural attractions and #Museum Shop Sunday and indeed throughout November is an opportunity to showcase our exclusive products and buy something from our unique collection.
Visit our new online shop.
The lovely range of unique gift ideas are inspired by the museum’s collection
Many of the gifts are made in Suffolk and feature local artists.
Our bone china mug has a delightful drawing of Bawdsey Manor as it might have looked in 1937 when it became RAF Bawdsey. The artist is a Royal Academy prize winner Mark Beesley from Woodbridge and they are made for us by Carters in Stonham.
Janet Watson, is a local printmaker and bookbinder from Hollesley. She has crafted a unique artists notebook for us. She has used an original RAF Bawdsey stamp to print on the fabric cover, which is itself made from genuine RAF shirting. A souvenir to treasure!
For a fun idea we have a “Keep Calm and stay under the radar” enamel mug, made locally in Ipswich by Star Editions. Rather appropriate at the moment.
All of the mugs in our collection are bespoke as are the accompanying coasters. One of our volunteers especially designed the sector clock coaster to show the time at 20:18. This is the year that Bawdsey Radar Trust reopened!
Books in our shop are especially chosen to link to the radar story – from history to cookery. Something for everyone.
All of our bespoke or exclusive items are only available from us. Find the perfect gift and support Bawdsey Radar and its important story.
Today we mark the anniversary of the passing in 2019 of Eileen Gray, who served as a radar operator at Bawdsey Radar in the Second World War.
After being accepted into the WAAF, she was posted to RAF Cranwell to do what she described as: “didn’t know what she was going to do”.
Eileen recalled her role as a radar operator , rank Leading Aircraft Woman in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). She spoke of her father’s opposition to her signing up; after she had enlisted he asked her what she would be doing, and she replied that she could not tell him. His retort was that ” it wouldn’t be much then”.
Little did he suspect that in her job she would be on the front line!
Eileen explained that there was great friendship between everyone at Bawdsey, ” they looked after you”. She recalled that it never felt like a military camp, it was more like a second home and that Bawdsey was something you’d never expect in a war. “After a week away on leave I looked forward to coming back”.
We kept in contact with Eileen and her daughter Sharon, and visited her at home to hear more of her wartime memories. Eileen was ‘over the moon’ to be invited to the official opening of Bawdsey Radar and meet the Duke of Gloucester in July 2018. Here she is ‘then and now’ when we last met up, and in her WAAF uniform.
It was a privilege to know Eileen and to hear first-hand about her life at Bawdsey.
In the 5th podcast in this series, Dr Phil Judkins describes the less well-known contribution to radar development by the War Office scientists who worked on Army radar projects at Bawdsey from 1936 onwards.
Click here to listen or look for it wherever you get your podcasts.
Browse the Bawdsey Radar online shop and start your gift shopping here!
Bawdsey Radar has curated a unique range of bespoke and exclusive special gifts which are inspired by the story of radar. For example, the bone china mug “RAF Bawdsey 1937”, designed by a well-known local artist shows a view of Bawdsey Manor with the backdrop of transmitter towers, as it might have looked when Bawdsey first became an RAF station.
All of the bespoke items are made or designed by artisans in Suffolk and are only available from us.
Find the perfect gift and support Bawdsey Radar Transmitter Block and its important story