Newsletter 2012


As in previous years, a number of letters are from correspondents seeking information about former colleagues for research into their family history, or for the preparation of articles, books, etc. If no contact detail appears with the letter then please direct your reply or any correspondence for the enquirer to: Barry Powell, Secretary, Marconi Veterans Association, 22 Juliers Close, Canvey Island, Essex, SS8 7EP; 01268 696342; or to the editor, Ken Earney, 01245 381235; email

Certain items on this page and distributed elsewhere throughout this issue are responses to letters or articles appearing in the 2011 edition which have already been posted during the last eleven months on the website. There is thus an inevitable but necessary duplication catering for those Veterans who have no possibility, or wish, to use the internet.

We have increasingly directed a number of correspondents towards the company archive at the Bodleian Library in Oxford to pursue their enquiries about family members or friends when we have been unable to provide an answer to their question. It was initially our experience that the Bodleian was less than helpful in dealing with such requests, but there is recent evidence that things are changing and enquirers making written requests have been successful. It is likely that the earlier reluctance on the part of the Bodleian could be attributed the incomplete state of cataloguing of the collection. The catalogue is now complete and can be accessed at
Full information about the Bodleian Library, its collections, services and how to access them can be found at:

Finally note that, throughout this newsletter, to avoid unnecessary repetition of the Association’s name in full, the initials MVA have in places been used.

Some observations on the 2011 newsletter
From VJ Bucknell, 28 March 2011

The Established Design Group Christmas dinner 1966

I appear in the top photo behind Fred Turner. It is difficult to distinguish many of the people in the lower picture, but I think the person next to the lady on the left-hand side of the table is M Southall who worked in the DO. (See page 11 of the 2011 edition. Comparing upper and lower images in Photoshop, the person to the right of this lady is obviously Bill Garvey. I now know who sent the photos because I still have them. Apologies to Roger Sweny – they should already have been returned by the time you read this. Ed)

The engineering side of Established Designs came under George Samson. I worked in the HF Comms section under Fred Turner, with Jack Cave. We were involved in solving problems on comms equipment which occurred during manufacture, and also when in use by the customer. One of the main equipments we were responsible for was the D11/D13 containers which were supplied to the army.

One of the large contracts we worked on was the supply of the many various containers to NATO when they moved from Paris to Brussels in 1966. We did the system engineering for this. It was a rush order and completed in a very short time. Another equipment handled was the VFT manufactured at Wembley. This was ‘customised’ to fit the customer’s requirement.

Sadly Fred Turner passed away shortly after the completion of the NATO order and Mr Samson retired in the late 1960s. The section was broken up in 1969 and its members sent to other departments. After a short period in Building 46 I returned to HP Test in 1970.

A Channel Islander’s musings

I was working in HP Test when Barry Bridel was there. At that time he was working in the section that tested the various units (ie drives etc) before being fitted in their transmitters. The person in charge of this section at that time was a Mr Douggie Hills, and it is very likely that this is the Douggie referred to in his letter.

Reflections on the 2011 newsletter
From Andy Sargent, 3 March 2011

The article from Barry Bridel ‘A Channel Islanders’ musings’ brought back great memories. I spent the first few months of my working life in the pit then it was off to Colchester College. My first factory placement during my apprenticeship was in 1972 in High Power Test working for Doug Hills; however, I can’t recall if Barry and my paths crossed at this time.

It started me thinking of other colleagues I met at this time and one name I recall is John Bucknell, and looking at the upper picture on page 11 ‘Established Design Group Christmas Dinner 1964’ can I suggest his name for the second from the right. Have no concrete reason for this suggestion, other than it looks a bit like him. Will look forward to the 2012 newsletter to see if I am right.

You appear to be right – see VJ Bucknell’s letter above. Ed.

Former engineer in the Broadcasting Division
From John F Joyce, 25 February 2011

I departed Marconi in November 1971 for Canada. I was very sorry to learn of the Marconi Company’s demise. When I founded my own company Jerome & Francis Co Ltd, in Canada, I copied many of its good practices.