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School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
The Role of Radio Amateurs in World
War One
Dr Elizabeth Bruton, Postdoctoral Researcher,
“Innovating in Combat: Telecommunications and intellectual property in the
First World War”, University of Leeds.
Twitter: @WWITelecomms / @lizbruton
[email protected]
Leeds Café Scientifique, Tuesday 3 December 2013.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Innovating in Combat
• Elizabeth Bruton, Postdoctoral
Researcher, “Innovating in Combat:
Telecommunications and intellectual
property in the First World War”
• Aim of the project is to help museums,
archives, and the wider public to better
appreciate the significance of
communications technologies during
World War One
• 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
• Introduction
• Amateur Wireless before World War One
• Wireless Society of London
• What could wireless amateurs do in
wartime?
• Henry Norman, MP
• Russell Clarke and Colonel Richard
Hippisley
• Leslie McMichael
• Postwar developments – broadcast radio
• Conclusion
Transcript of wireless message
about outbreak of war sent from
Marconi wireless 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
Introduction
• Early August 1914: World War One
• Wireless telegraph: valuable and
dangerous tool
• Amateur wireless sets sealed up
• End of story?
• No!
• Signals Intelligence and wartime work
Instruction to the Sectional Engineer of Post Office
Telegraphs, E A Pink, to take possession of wireless
telegraphy equipment, dated 1 August 1914.
Image courtesy of Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Amateur Wireless before World War
One
• Wireless Society of London
• 6 June 1913: Rene Klein writes to English
Mechanic
• 5 July 1913: Establishment of London
Wireless Club
• Summer 1913: GPO introduces one guinea
charge for all wireless licenses
• 13 September 1913: First AGM of London
Wireless Club; changes name to Wireless
Society of London – national not local Three of the founder members: Rene Klein (seated),
• 1922: RSGB
L F Fogarty (left), Leslie McMichael (centre) and Frank
Hope-Jones (right) who became the first Chairman.
Image courtesy of RSGB
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Early Members of Wireless Society of
London
Includes
• Henry Hope-James
• A.A. Campbell-Swinton
• J. Ambrose Fleming
• William Duddell
• W.H. Eccles
• Henry Jackson
• Oliver Lodge
• Sylvanus Thompson
Alan Cambell Swinton.
Image courtesy of RSGB.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Wireless Publications
Left: First cover of The
Marconigraph (1911);
Right: The four-color cover
of May 1913 Wireless World.
Both images are available in
the public domain.
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
What could wireless amateurs do during
wartime?
• “Listen in”
• 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
• Revival of wireless amateurs post-war
• Wartime expertise crosses over into peacetime
• Wireless amateur have key role in development of broadcast radio
• 1922: Different radio clubs and societies including Wireless Society
of London merge to become RSGB
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
FACULTY OF ARTS
Acknowledgements: Radio Society of Great Britain
(RSGB) for permission to use many of the images in
this presentation.
Thank you!
e: [email protected]
w: http://blogs.mhs.ox.ac.uk/innovatingincombat/
@WWITelecomms / @lizbruton
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