• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!

View
 

People

Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 11 months, 1 week ago

Home

 

Notice to users

All the Company personnel records were sent with the rest of the Archives to the University of Oxford so except in very particular circumstances it is generally not possible to provide information on former employees and therefore we cannot normally help with inquiries regarding family members.

 

If anyone has any information on significant figures in the Marconi roster, either in management or with an interesting career, then please go to this site to make contact with the organisers of the wikis or use the "contact owner" link at the bottom of the page.

 

A Family has members and ours is no exception so here are some examples of everyday occasions in which they were variously involved at work and at play.

 

There is an online group MOGS with access by invitation that meets for informal chats. 

 

Training

A highly significant aspect of the Marconi ethos from the very beginning was the training of staff at all levels and throughout the life of the Company this was among the best in British industry - see here for details.

 

Significant People

 

Guglielmo Marconi - Source 1 - Source 2

 

J F Moulton - lawyer

 

H Jameson Davis - Managing Director 1897

 

Major Flood-Page - Managing Director 1899

 

H Cuthbert Hall - General Manager 1901 - Managing Director 1902

 

G Marconi - Managing Director 1908

 

G C Isaacs - Managing Director 1910

 

Admiral H. W. Grant - Chairman and Managing Director during WW2 

 

F N Sutherland - General Manager 1947 - Deputy Chairman 1962 and Managing Director

 

R Telford - Managing Director - Chairman - Life President of the Marconi Company

 

C S Franklin - original co-worker 1897    Source 1 - Source 2 - Awards

 

Maurice Wright - Engineer-in-Chief - see here - also father of Peter Wright  

 

Captain H J Round - original co-worker 1897    Source 1 - Source 2 - Source 3

 

Dr J A Fleming - scientific adviser 1900

 

T L Eckersley - propagation expert 1919

 

P P Eckersley - broadcast wireless pioneer 1920

 

Gerald Istead - G.A. Isted was born in 1903 and joined the Marconi Company at Chelmsford in 1923. In 1926 he was transferred to G. Marconi's private laboratory in London. In 1929 he was sent to Italy as Marconi's personal technical assistant and participated in Marconi's microwave experiment. When hostilities broke out between Italy and Abyssinia in 1935, he was recalled to England where he joined the staff of T.Eckersley who was studying radio wave propagation, mainly at Gt. Baddow. During World War II, he was in charge of the RAF section of the Inter-Services Ionospheric Bureau based at Great Baddow. Subsequent to Eckersley's retirement, he became Chief of the Marconi Radio-wave Propagation Group. He was largely responsible for the success of the nationwide coverage of the Independent Television Authority Band 111 television service. He retired in 1969 after 46 years with the Marconi company.

 

R J Kemp - Chief of Research 1948

 

E Eastwood - Deputy Chief of Research 1948 - Chief of Research 1954

 

Christopher Cockerell also here - engineer and inventor - other contributions

 

 

Interesting Figures

Among the thousands of people who were employed by the Company there are some who have contributed significant details of their working life, also family members send in queries and a story emerges - the following are examples so far collected:

 

Input by Derek Stewart

My father (Fredrick George Stewart) joined in 1918 as a messenger and became Deputy Chief Accountant. His story is told here

 

Input by Ian Lindsley

My father (George Lindsley) who died age 90 yrs in 2000,  worked for Marconi all his life, and greatly enjoyed the veterans association, starting as a telegraph boy and finishing managing the Hackbridge Works.  He has written about his life as a telegraph boy in London and his later career.

 

Input by Roy Rodwell

My Marconi Days

I joined The Marconi Company in 1954 and spent six months training as a draughtsman in the company Drawing Office school in a hut at the company Works at Writtle, under the leadership of E.G. Lloyd, or Blod as he was called and his two assistants, ex draughtsmen. Each Friday the Company Chief Draughtsman came from his office at the New Street Chelmsford premises to visit each draughtsman to see how we were progressing. Mr. Lloyd was kindly and an interesting person and sometimes would help if we had a problem with homework that we were given at the Mid Essex Technical College at Chelmsford. At the end of six months training we were sent to work at one of the Company Drawing Offices.

 

I went to the Centimetric Drawing Office, which was in a hut at the Writtle site. We eventually moved into a large newly-built building. On the top floor was the drawing office and on the ground floor was where the development engineers worked. The engineers visited those who were drawing and designing the units that the engineers were developing.

 

If we draughtsmen became weary of staring at our drawing boards or wanted to ‘rest our eyes’ we would turn our heads and look out at a large field that usually contained growing wheat. In the summer we saw it being harvested. It was a restful look for our eyes. [Editors note - reminds me of Bedells End]

 

I was a draughtsman for 10 years and after this time I transferred as a Spares Engineer to the Company that investigated the design of units that had over many years in service become obsolete, mainly because components in the units had become unobtainable. New components had to be suggested in consultation with design engineers and sometimes new units had to be designed to replace obsolete ones that could be assembled in original equipment. I worked on communications units, others worked on broadcasting, television, aeronautical and radar units.

 

After working in the Spares Department for 11 years, I transferred to the company Publicity Unit as a Technical Writer. This unit was responsible for the publicity of all the Marconi Group of companies. My task was with the development engineer designing publicity brochures of communication units and liaised with printers to get them printed. This was an interesting task as I often visited different printing works and sometimes saw our company brochures and leaflets we had designed being printed.

 

For many years in the Publicity Unit, I was in charge of earlier Marconi literature and documents and some pieces of equipment that had been designed and produced soon after the days that Guglielmo Marconi had come to England from Italy in 1896. This literature and equipment was housed in a small building that formed a museum at the company laboratories at Great Baddow. It was interesting work because many visitors who came to one of the Marconi companies on official business, visited the museum to see the early wireless equipment and sometimes studying early paper information about the early days of broadcasting and wireless communication. I met many people from the communications and broadcasting companies and museums throughout the world. I enjoyed this ‘museum’ part of my work and wished that I had been involved in it many years earlier in my career in the Marconi Group of companies.

 

I retired from full time work in 1994 and was pleased that I had been able to read about and in a small way, see the development and advancement of broadcasting, television, aeronautical and radar throughout the world.

 

Roy Rodwell. July 2015

 

 

Input by Martyn Clarke

W.J.R. Clark (Bill / Nobby)

This is an in depth auto biography of Bill's working life from age 14 as an apprentice rising through the ranks to be Chief Scientist and Managing Director of Baddow Research. He followed in the footsteps of his father Nobby Clark who worked at Marconi where he was an instrument maker and also a Radio Ham. A big Thank you to Mandy Wallis for lending me this document and the other members of the Clark family who agreed for this to be added to the Marconi Family

 

W.J.R.Clark (Nobby) Bio Part1.pdf W.J.R.Clark (Nobby) Bio Part 2.pdf W.J.R.Clark (Nobby) Bio Part 3.pdf

 

Enjoy the read, and comments are welcomed by the family

 

Input  by Don Halstead, August 2021

"The Navy's here!"

 

Looking back more than half a century, those of us who worked on the top corridor of A Block, Baddow, may well remember a very tall gentleman with a very pronounced limp, Commander Bradwell Turner. One would exchange courteous Good Mornings, but apart from one meeting with him (see below) I had no idea of his remarkable past until I read his obituary in 1990.

 

From The Times Obituaries, March 27 1990:

COMMANDER BRADWELL TURNER

Bold rescue of British seamen from German prison ship

 

Commander Bradwell Turner, CVO DSO, OBE, who led the boarding party from the destroyer HMS Cossack, in the famous episode during which 299 British seamen were liberated from the German prison ship Altmark in a Norwegian fjord in February 1940, died on March 21. He was 92.

 

To Turner is ascribed the memorable cry, “The Navy's here”, which announced to captives who had resigned themselves to miserable years in PoW camps that they would, after all, be seeing their homes again.

 

Like the sinking of the German pocket battleship Graf Spee two months before, the Altmark affair was an inspiring one at a time when British arms had little to show for six months of hostilities with Germany. Poland had fallen; the RAF was dissipating much of its energy dropping propaganda leaflets, and at sea losses of both merchant and war ships were mounting. Cossack's bold action, personally ordered by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, was a heartening boost to the Navy's morale, and Turner's famous cry has passed into legend.

 

On December 13, 1939, after a three-month career in which she had sunk nine merchant ships, the commerce raider Graf Spee had been brought to bay by the cruisers Exeter, Ajax and Achilles off the Rio de la Plata. She sought refuge in Montevideo where, on December 17 her captain, Langsdorff, had her scuttled. For some time the whereabouts of the seamen from the merchant vessels she had sunk remained a mystery. Then the account of a merchant marine officer who had been at Montevide suggested that they had been transferred to Graf Spee's auxiliary, Altmark, which became virtually a floating prison.

 

After the elimination of Graf Spee, Altmark hid in the South Atlantic for two months, hoping for the hue and cry to die down before making her way back to Germany. Bad weather helped her to remain hidden as she passed between Iceland and the Faeroes, but in February 1940 she was spotted by British reconnaissance aircraft in Norwegian waters.

 

Pursued by a British destroyer force she took refuge in the Josing Fjord. When the British ships went in after her they were met at the fjord mouth by two Norwegian torpedo boats whose commanders informed them that Altmark had been inspected, carried no arms, and had no prisoners on board. The Norwegians told the British that Altmark had been given permission to proceed to Germany using Norwegian territorial waters. The destroyers therefore withdrew.

 

When the Norwegian reply was conveyed to Churchill at the Admiralty he determined on bold action. He was convinced that the prisoners were on board Altmark and ordered Captain Philip Vian, commanding the British force from the destroyer Cossack, to board her and release them with or without Norwegian cooperation.

 

On the night of February 16, Cossack entered the fjord and made for Altmark. The Norwegian patrol boats stood passively by, but Altmark's skipper steered straight at Cossack, intending to ram the British destroyer. Instead the German ship ran herself aground, on which Cossack forced a way alongside her and grappled her closely.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Bradwell Turner led a boarding party which leaped upon Altmark's decks armed with rifles and pistols. Turner's men encountered spirited resistance, and four Germans were killed and five wounded in the sharp fight that followed. Some Germans fled ashore across the ice, and the ship surrendered.

 

After establishing that there were British held captive below decks, Turner ordered the hatches to be unbattened, and nearly three hundred prisoners poured up on deck from their enforced quarters in cargo holds, store rooms and empty oil tanks. Transferred to the British destroyers they made passage home to Britain and received a heartfelt welcome when Cossack berthed alongside at Leith.

 

Turner received a DSO for his part in the action and saw further service during the war. But he contracted polio soon after the war, and this curtailed his naval career. He read for the Bar by correspondence, but never practised, although he put his knowledge to good use as a JP for Chelmsford and chairman of the bench there.

 

He had left the Navy in 1957, [during his final three years serving as Naval Attache in Oslo!: DFH] and until 1972 worked for Marconi.

 

In 1980 a “Forty Years On” reunion of old Cossack ship mates recalled that memorable night which has its niche in the annals of th Royal Navy.

 

There are numerous accounts of the Altmark affair, often differing slightly in detail.

 

One from the Cossack Association can be found at https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/72/a4507472.shtml

 

Other very detailed scripts at https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2016/11/14/seizing-the-altmark/

and https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/03/26/hms-cossack-attacks-the-mv-altmark-iii/

 

I particularly like a grandson's account of his grandfather's part: https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/53/a1979553.shtml

 

Some include further details of BradwellTurner's intial six foot leap from the Cossack's deck across to the Altmark, and other details of his actions that night.

 

------------------------------------------------

 

Transcript of part of a speech delivered by Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty at a luncheon on February 23, 1940, given at Guildhall by the City of London to officers and ratings of the Exeter and the Ajax to celebrate their victory at te Battle of the River Plate:

 

“My colleagues of the Board of Admiralty and of the War Cabinet are very grateful to you for inviting us here today to share the hospitality which the City of London has extended to the brave sea captains and hardy tars who won the Battle of the River Plate. (Applause) The brunt of the war has fallen upon the sailor men and upon their comrades of the Coastal Command of the Royal Ar Force, and we have lost nearly three thousand lives in our hard unrelenting struggle which goes on night and day and which is going on now without a moment's respite.

 

The brilliant sea fight which Admiral Harwood conceived, and which you executed, takes its place in our naval annals, and I may add that in a dark cold winter it warmed the cockles of the British heart. (Applause) To the action off the Plate there has recently been added an epilogue. The rescue last week by the Cossack and her flotilla (Cheers and applause) under the nose of the enemy and amid the tangles of one-sided neutrality (Laughter) the rescue of British captives taken from the sunken German raider – your friend, the one you sunk – their rescue at the very moment when these unhappy men were about to be delivered over to indefinite German bondage proves that the long arm of British sea power can be stretched out not only for foes but also for faithful friends. (Applause)

 

And to Nelson's immortal signal of a hundred and thirty-five years ago, “England expects that every man will do his duty” there may now be added last week's not less proud reply, “The Navy is here!” (Prolonged applause).”

 

 

 

So far as I remember, I only once formally met the Commander. He was the Security Advisor/Consultant/Whatever at Baddow. As such, I once had to inform him that some classified document (identity now long forgotten but perhaps associated with Fur Hat) had gone missing.

 

He listened gravely. When I had finished he laughed and commented, “Obviously what we need is a stormy night off Ushant”. He went on to explain that at some point during his career a serious problem had arisen, in that a barrel, or barrels, of rum had been consumed without the necessary authority. The Navy insisted on everything being accounted for in great detail. Eventually it was reported to higher authority that the spirits had been washed overboard off Ushant – together with several pairs of officers' binoculars. “That was a very helpful storm,” grinned the Commander.

 

Now, I knew nothing of Turner's involvement with the Altmark. But in recent years I have sometimes wondered about that rum. Apart from the routine daily ration of rum or grog, the only other reason for its consumption would have been to “Splice the mainbrace”. Such an instruction was the prerogative only of the Sovereign or a member of the Board of Admiralty. Is it possible that Captain Vian …?

 

I believe I heard no more about that missing document. So my grateful thanks, Commander!

 

Input  by Don Halstead, August 2021

LIEUTENANT COMMANDER RICHARD (DICK) RAIKES
who once waved 'au revoir' to a magnificent bunch of black faced villains ...

Dick Raikes, after a notable career in the Royal Navy, worked in the Marconi Publicity Department from 1947 to 1972, for much of that time as its Manager, assembling a great team that included Peter Baker, Pam Reynolds, Dan Boyle and Jackie Earney.
 
What follows draws on Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Raikes and various other sources.

Lt Cdr Richard Prendergast Raikes (1912-2005) was an officer in the Royal Navy notable as the commanding officer of the submarine HMS Tuna that launched the canoes during Operation Frankton [see the Cockleshell Heroes - DFH] in 1942.

The son of an Indian Army Officer, until he was ten he was brought up in Wales by his grandparents and three aunts. The aunts had seven brothers who had been awarded eight DSOs and four MCs in World War One. One became a general, another an admiral.  Perhaps then it was inevitable that Raikes entered Dartmouth aged thirteen in 1925. Subsequently he served in HMS Warspite as a midshipman in Malta, rising at dawn to exercise Lord Louis Mountbatten's polo ponies.

He became a submariner in 1933 and served in several craft, including HMS Clyde in the Mediterranean. Amongst other adventures, after two hours shunting practice at Haifa station he found himself in command of an armoured train protecting a key railway line.

Raikes passed the dreaded Perishers course in 1940 and in 1941 took command of HMS Seawolf, which was then based at Polyarnoe in the Arctic for a year. The only English film he was allowed to show ashore to the Russians was Snow White, but he was intrigued to find in the local library a first, unexpurgated, version of Burton's Arabian Nights. On patrol in March 1942 Raikes sighted the Tirpitz. Too far away to attack, his enemy-locating report enabled the carrier Victorious to launch an attack. For 'daring enterprise and devotion to duty in successful patrols in Seawolf'  he was awarded the DSO.

In August 1942 Raikes became commanding offcer of HMS Tuna. In November orders were issued for Raikes' part in Operation Frankton. The orders stated that “a small party of approximately twelve officers and men will be disembarked from the submarine in the vicinity of the mouth of the Gironde estuary. The party will paddle up to the Bassen-Bordeaux area in Cockles Mark II, where they will carry out a limpet attack on the blockade-runners in the port.” The orders continued laconically, “The party will escape overland to Spain.”

The saga of the Cockleshell heroes is very well known and documented on the web and elsewhere so will not be expanded on in this brief note: but see below for a transcript of Raikes' official report on Operation Frankton.

By mid-1943 Raikes was exhausted, and was transferred to shore duties as a member of the personal staff of the CinC Coastal Command. Promoted to Lt Cdr in March 1943 he attended the Trend committee which oversaw the U-boat war. In 1945 he was involved in Operation Deadlight, the scuttling by the Royal Navy of surrendered U-boats.

Medically discharged in 1946 he initially wanted to go into the hotel trade and for a time worked as a waiter to gain experience. It became evident that he would not be able to raise the capital to own his own business, but it appears that a hotel guest, aware of his writing skills, pointed him towards Marconi – and the rest is history!


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Report submitted to Flag Officer Submarines by the Commanding Officer, H.M.S. Tuna

OPERATION 'FRANKTON'
Preliminary trials in INCHMARNOCK clearly showed that it was unlikely the whole operation would take less than an hour to complete without damage to the boats. 30 minutes to assemble boats. 45 minutes to disemble boats. [For disemble, read disembark? DFH]

It was tentatively decided, therefore, that I should try to surface in about position 45° 27' N – 1° 33' W to assemble boats on fore casing at full buoyancy; then trim down and approach the GIRONDE, finally disembarking in about 45° 27 N 1° 23 'W. This would only mean being stopped for about 45 minutes. This position was considered to be the closest possible from my point of view, and the furthest possible from the point of view of the Military Force, to the GIRONDE. It was obvious that in this position, the earliest possible night was 6th/7th, to allow for a one mile error in position and still get far enough up the GIRONDE before the end of the flood.

The night of the 6t/7th proved impossible, as I was completely unable to establish my position with sufficient certainty and it was imperative to be dead accurate. This was unfortunate as conditions were quite perfect, a nice mist coming down immediately after dark.

I spent the whole of the day of December 7th working Northward along the coast and finally obtained an accurate fix at 1345. Air activity by ME 110s, ME 100s, Arndos Ju 88s, Dornier 18s, throughut the day was intense, and the surface was oily calm with a long swell.

At 1800 a patrol trawler was heard and seen and it appeared to me that he was patrolling a line 130°  - 310° running nearly through our intended position for disembarking.

It was then decided, to the evident delight of the O.C. Military Force, to try to disembark close to the coast and near the R.AF's badly laid mines. I don't think those mines could have been laid in a more embarrassing position, as they seemed to interfere with every possible plan of action from the very start. This plan quite evidently required extreme accuracy in navigation even allowing for the rather touching faith of the authorities in the accuracy of the positions given by the R.A.F. - a faith which I did not share. Further this plan required coming to full buoyancy four miles off the coast and ten miles from the R.D/F station and doing the whole operation in one, cutting out the approach at low buoyancy. But the most important considerations were that in that position the boats had a fair tide for an extra hour, and that our position would be dead accurate.

Surfaced in position 45° 22' N – 1° 14' W at 1917. Sea was flat calm. Patrol boat was in sight but about four miles away. It was a beastly clear night. Commenced the operation at 1937.

All boats were out on the upper deck by 1945, only one being damaged while coming out of the hatch. Trimmed down and disembarked the remaining five.

When the first boat was in the slings searchlights suddenly started sweeping the sea from POINT de la NEGARDE and all down the coast, but there was no light opposite us. There was an uncomfortable feeling that this reception may have been due to the R.D/F station plotting us, and this feeling was strengthened by the fact that the trawler was evidently closing. The last boat was water borne (Position 45° 23' N – 1° 14W' W at 2020 and I consider now this time was remarkably fast, and reflects great credit on Lieutenant Bull and his upper deck hands.

2022 waved 'au revoir' to a magnificent bunch of black faced villains with whom it has been a real pleasure to work, and, withdrew to the south and west.

(sgd)  R.P. RAIKES
          Lieutenant in Command.
          H.M.S. TUNA

 

Input resulting from a query received.

About a year ago we helped a Canadian journalist with a story about a vintage typewriter that had been owned by Marconi manager Rod Mackley. The story is now completed and very interesting - and quite complimentary to us: "a highly-organized website created by the former employees of Marconi Radar Systems."

 

An essay is available at this link

An audio version is available here  The Continental Wanderer: Tales told by a Typewriter. 

 

 

 

Home 

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.