Bill Cooke

We regret to report the death of Bill Cooke on 17 November aged 96.  Bill was Chief Engineer, Managing Director and finally Chairman of Eddystone Radio in Birmingham until retiring in 1985.

The funeral will be on 5 December at  St Thomas’s Church, Maesglas, Newport NP20 3AT  starting at 1.30 p.m. followed by the cremation at Gwent Crematorium, Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran, NP44 2BZ.

Bill was born in Birmingham and joined Stratton & Company in 1935 as an apprentice.  With a break for RAF service during WW2, where he worked on the new technology that would be called Radar, he remained with the company until retirement.  He was promoted to Chief Engineer in 1947.  The company was bought by The Marconi Company in 1965, Marconi being part of English Electric at the time, and Stratton & Company changed its name to Eddystone Radio.  In 1976 he was promoted  to Managing Director and in 1984 became Chairman.



Jimmy Leadbitter

jimmy_leadbitteraWe regret to report the death of Jimmy Leadbitter on 14 November.

The funeral will be at Chelmsford Crematorium on 2 December at 12.30.

Jimmy was born in 1925 in Whitburn, County Durham but moved South to work for the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company (MWT) at its New Street factory early in 1942. He worked in the Marine Test department, was subsequently transferred to Marconi Marine’s installation planning department and was the Installations Manager in 1963 when the Company moved from New Street to its headquarters in the newly-built Elettra House on Westway, Chelmsford, where he remained until his retirement in 1990. That period covered the introduction of Single Sideband radio telephony and radio telex in maritime communications (Apollo, Pennant receivers; Crusader, Commander, Commandant and Conqueror transmitter equipments), several new ranges of radar equipment, the transition from valve to solid-state technology and the maritime world’s adoption of satellite technology for communications and navigation.

His department was responsible for the planning, logistics and fitting of radio rooms and radio navigational aids on ships in shipyards and ports world-wide, overseeing MIMCo technicians on long-term assignment in shipyards in the Far East and South America as well as those working from the Company’s many offices in the UK and elsewhere. Overseas agents involved in the installation of MIMCo products were supported and directed from his office. They were also deeply involved in the planning and execution of Company display stands at shipping exhibitions around the world, behind the Iron Curtain as well as in the West, including those formerly held each year at the beginning of January at the London Boat Show at Earls Court – not a good recipe for a peaceful Christmas for those involved.

He joined the MVA Committee in 1988 and was President in 1989.  He was very knowledgeable in all things to do with Marconi Marine and was almost always able to answer a query from memory.  He remained an active member of the MVA committee until earlier this year, the picture above was taken at the reunion in April 2016.