School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Wires and waves: telegraphy during
World War One
Dr Elizabeth Bruton, Postdoctoral Researcher, “Innovating in Combat:
Telecommunications and intellectual property in the First World
War”, University of Leeds and Museum of the History of Science,
Oxford.
[email protected]
Dorking & District Amateur Radio Society, 28 January 2014.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Innovating in Combat
• Aims: to help museums, archives, and public
to better appreciate the significance of
communications technologies and patents
during World War One
• Partners: BT archives, IET archives, Imperial
War Museum North, Porthcurno Telegraph
Museum, Science Museum, University of
Leeds HSTM Museum
• University of Leeds and Museum of the
History of Science, Oxford
• Graeme Gooday and Elizabeth Bruton
• Funded by AHRC
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Outline
• Telecommunications innovations up to WWI
• Security and privacy
• Interception
• Contrasting perspectives of WWI
telecommunications
• Cable telegraph network
• Frontline telephony
• Wireless telegraphy
• Wireless amateurs & Marconi
Company
• Conclusions
'Are YOU in this?', courtesy of the
Imperial War Museum.
© IWM, Art.IWM PST 2712.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Importance of Telecommunications
• Communications key feature of warfare - need
interconnected combat machinery pigeon,
messengers, telegraph etc
• Key issues: speed, reliability, & non-interception telephone brings benefit?
• Wireless used since Second Boer War (1899-1902)
• Symmetrical use of wireless & telephone in RussoJapanese War (1904-5).
• Counter-measures taken against security risks:
defensive and offensive.
• In UK outbreak of war on 4 August 1914 & armistice
on 11 November 1918 both announced by wireless
signals – Marconi
Transcript of wireless message
sent from Marconi station at
Poldhu on 4 August 1914.
Image courtesy of Burton-uponTrent Amateur Radio club.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Cable Telegraphy before World War One
1891 Telegraph Cable map. Image available in public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Telegraphy and “Cable Wars”
Left: Segment of Borkum cable. Image courtesy of Porthcurno
Telegraph Museum.
Right: Map of the action between HMAS Sydney and SMS
Emden on 9 November 1914 at the Cocos Islands.
Images available in the public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
“Cable Wars”: The attack on Cocos Islands
The two severed ends of the “dummy” cable after the attack.
Image courtesy of Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
“Cable Wars”: The attack on Cocos Islands
The destroyed wireless mast after the attack. Image courtesy of Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
“Cable Wars”: The attack on Cocos Islands
The instrument room on Direction Island, as left by the Germans.
Image courtesy of Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
“Cable Wars”: German attack on British-Norwegian cable, 1915
Left: The message left by the Germans that attacked the
Cable.
Right: The two ends of the severed cables with the
“mysterious apparatus” still attached.
Both images courtesy of BT archives.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
“Cable Wars”: Zimmermann Telegram
Left: The encrypted version of the Zimmermann telegram obtained from
Mexican telegraph office.
Right: A portion of the Telegram as decrypted ‘Room 40’.
Both images are available in the public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Telephones the Trenches
‘In the summer of 1915 the enemy did
suddenly appear to be extraordinarily well
informed of all that was going on behind our
lines. This was manifested in many ways…
Carefully planned raids and minor attacks
were met by hostile fire, exactly directed, and
timed to the minute of the attack.
One day, even, a well-known Scotch battalion
took over its new front to the strains of its
regimental march, exceedingly well played
upon a German cornet’
Major R.E. Priestley, The Signal Service in the
European War of 1914-18 (France) 1921,
pp.98-99
Wills’s cigarette card from 1915 showing
Corporal Cyril Bassett, Divisional Signals, New
Zealand Engineers, laying telephone lines at
Chanuk Bair, Gallipoli on 7 August 1915.
Image available in the public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Response: Fullerphone
• Developed in 1915 by Major Algernon
Clement Fuller
• Response (sort of) to problems with
frontline telephone communication
• Who was Fuller?
• Army Wireless Co, Aldershot in 1910:
amplification technique of “Dynaphone”
• 1915-16: Claimed unaware of the
insecurity of trench communications at
battlefront
• Invented privately in ‘cottage’: technique
of chopped up tiny telegraph signals
Fuller being awarded the Royal Signals
Institution’s Princess Mary medal 1966.
Image courtesy of the Royal Signals
Institution
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Fullerphone
• Anti-interception telegraphic device by
Major A. Clement Fuller in 1915-16
• Miniscule earth currents of signal
transmuted to ‘noise’ - very difficult to
intercept.
• Claim for telegraphic ‘Fullerphone’ to
Royal Commission on Awards to
Inventors, 1920
• Claimed £21,899 – but only awarded
£3,500, due to limited originality, &
patent benefits
• Instead made OBE 1922 and CBE 1941,
promoted to Major General
Fullerphone mark III (1916-1917) with
earphones.
Image available in the public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Wireless Telegraphy – Marconi Company
• Marconi company innovations in wireless
point to point communication: 1897 & 1900
• 1914: British Marconi Co. patriotically offers
wireless operators & training to services.
• Company allowed government ‘censors’ to
monitor all wireless communications – codebreakers in Admiralty’s secret ‘Room 40’.
• Impact on long-distance wireless stations?
• No upfront demand for payment. in summer
1915 Marconi’s General Manager complained
“not one penny-piece has yet been refunded
to us.” BT Archives POST 30/4162
Marconi Wireless Station, Poldhu,
c.1910.
Image available in the public domain via
Wikimedia Commons
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Wireless Telegraphy – Marconi Company
Map of routes of Zeppelins made by Marconi direction-finders on English east coast, 1916,
Marconi Archives, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Image courtesy of Bodleian Library, Oxford.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Marconi Company case for reward?
• Key role in intercepting hostile
communications, and “direction finders”
tracking German navy and airships
• Marconi Company entered legal dispute
with UK government over unpaid patent
royalties in 1920.
• Protracted discussions on six-figure royalty
claims: devolved to a private adjudication.
• Marconi Company: discreet deliberations
1922-8 c.£500,000
• Soon to form Cable & Wireless
Temporary wireless direction-finding
station on the cliffs of Hunstanton,
Norfolk, c.1915
Image from the Marconi archives,
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
But what could wireless amateurs do
during wartime?
• “Listen in” – wartime wireless
interception and signals intelligence
• Russell Clark and Richard Hippisley
• Henry Norman MP
• Wartime Service
• Leslie McMichael
Richard John Bayntun Hippisley (1865-1956)
Image from Mate's County Series (1908) and
available in the public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Hunstanton Wireless Station, Norfolk
A postcard of the
Lighthouse and Marconi
Wireless Station at
Hunstanton, early 20th C.
Wireless station is to
the left of the mast.
Image available in the
public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Hunstanton Wireless Station, Norfolk
Wireless Direction-Finding Station at
Hunstanton, early World War One.
Image available in the public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Hunstanton Wireless Station, Norfolk
Former power station for
the Marconi wireless
station at Hunstanton as
it is today.
Image courtesy of
RightMove.co.uk.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Henry Norman, MP (1858-1939)
• Born in Leicester and educated abroad
• MP for 23 years
• Knighted in 1906
• Pioneer in radio telegraphy
• 1914: First President of Derby Wireless
Club, founded in 1911
• “Listening in” begins before outbreak of
Portrait of Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet,
war
taken from The World's Work (1914).
Image available in the public domain via
Wikimedia Commons.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Hubert Leslie McMichael (1884-1951)
• Generally known as Leslie McMichael
• Background in electrical engineering (and
laundry?)
• Served in Wireless Instructional Section of
RFC and RAF
• 1919: Demobbed and begins business in
Hampstead, supply ex-military stock
including radio valves
• June 1920: Establishes L. McMichael Ltd
• Directors are Leslie McMichael and Rene Klein
Leslie McMichael, callsign
G2MI.
Image courtesy of RSGB.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Conclusions
• Case study of battlefield
telecommunications interception as
driving technical innovation
• Security and practicality: telegraph,
telephone, and wireless telegraph
• Wartime innovations such as
Fullerphone not an immediate nor
straightforward response to wartime
needs
• What were the just rewards of invention:
Financial, reputational, decoration?
• What place for telecommunications in
` Great War commemorations?
“Through” 1917 Francis Martin, Royal
Engineers .
Image courtesy Royal Signals Museum
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Conclusions – not just distant
examples
• Local example: Lt J W Russell MC DCM
MM RE, Dorking
• Served on Western Front in Signals
Company of Royal Engineers during
World War One
• Most decorated bell-ringer in Surrey
Association during World War One,
possibly most decorated bell-ringer in
World War One
• Subject of guest article on our project
website by David Underdown,
` National Archives
Peal band at Farnham, 25 May 1910, muffled peal
of Bob Major to mark the funeral of King Edward
VII that day. Russell is in the doorway at the back
of the group.
Image courtesy of David Underdown and Surrey
Bell Ringers Association.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Thank you!
Acknowledgements: Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) for
permission to use many of the images in this presentation.
e: [email protected]
w: http://blogs.mhs.ox.ac.uk/innovatingincombat/
@WWITelecomms / @lizbruton
Download

PowerPoint slides - MHS Blogs