Newsletter 2011

…and now, a commercial break.

The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man (ISBN 978-1-4461-8456-1) is the title of a book published by Alison Trowell based on the writings of her grandfather, Henry (Harry) Phare 1879-1966. Harry Phare was born in Torquay at the beginning of the greatest advance in technology that the world has ever seen.  His notes and memoirs draw us into that world and paint a vivid picture of the life of an ordinary man surrounded by these extraordinary changes as they swept across Devon.

One chapter will be of particular interest to Veterans since it covers his time as a sea-going telegraphist for the Marconi Company in 1903/4 having trained at the Seaforth school in Liverpool and then working as a telegraphist on SS Tunisian followed by the SS Umbria.

Price £11.50 UK, £12.70 Europe, £14.50 USA, Canada, New Zealand from:
Alison Trowell,
The Old Vicarage,
West Hanney,
Oxfordshire, OX12 0LW.
Prices include post and packing.

The Spies Who Lost the Battle of Britain by independent film maker Brian Marshall tells the story of the scramble to develop British radar and how, in a Zeppelin spy mission, the Germans nearly discovered its secrets. It uses a mixture of archive film, recent interviews and re-enactments, and those interviewed included a number of distinguished engineers and scientists who were amongst the radar pioneers. Note that Marconi Veteran Colin Latham was one of those interviewed. It was very favourably reviewed by the RSGB’s journal RadCom, and to quote their reviewer’s concluding remark “I enjoyed it, and I think you will too.”

More details, together with clips of the documentary, at

The review of this film that was published in the RSGB’s journal RadCom can be read by clicking here.

Due thanks is given to the RSGB for permission to publish.

The First in the Field is the dramatisation of the story of Orfordness, Bawdsey Manor and Watson Watts’ team of radar pioneers, in DVD form. Written by Suffolk playwright Suzanne Hawkes, it was performed last year in various venues in Suffolk.

Based on fact using documented records of the boffins and the oral and written records of those who worked with them as assistants and radar operators, ferrymen and security guards, it dramatises the events leading up to the Battle of Britain as seen through their eyes, and the struggle to develop a working defence chain of radar stations before the threat of German invasion became reality.

Price £10 from:
The Treasurer,
Bawdsey Radar Trust,
1 Whitehouse Cottage,
Gulphur Road,
Suffolk, IP11 9PU

More information about the play at