Newsletter 2010

The Birth of British Radar: The Memoirs of Arnold ‘Skip’ Wilkins

A number of radar Veterans may well be familiar with this book by Colin Latham and Ann Dobbs, published in 2006, and may be interested to know that Colin is now engaged upon the revision of the first edition.  This time on his own, since sadly Ann, his wife and co-author, died in 2008.  I contacted him to get a little more information on what additional material the second edition will contain, and this is what he gave me:

I have now completed all the new text and obtained a number of new illustrations which, together, will make the new version about double the size of the first.

The essential core of the book – Arnold’s memoirs – remains intact but there are several new sections covering his life both before and after the war, and a description of how the UK radar chain expanded, plus a brief history of the Radio Research Station whence Wilkins and Watson Watt (and others) were recruited for radar in the early days.  The book also includes – perhaps for modern readers unfamiliar with the background of radar technology – an attempt to place Wilkins’s work in its historical setting.  His successful CH early-warning radar system for the RAF was a major milestone in established radio engineering.  It is said to have contributed to the RAF’s success in the Battle of Britain and thus Hitler’s cancellation of his plan to invade the UK in 1940.

Having completed my task of preparing Edition 2 the responsibility now rests with other DEHS (Defence Electronics History Society) members who deal with contractual matters with chosen publishers.  I can’t give you a publication date at the moment except to say that it is our intention for it to be during 2010.