Newsletter 2012

Further memories of Yatesbury

From Cyril Taylor, 26 February 2011

I was most interested in the leading article on page one of the latest association newsletter. I do not know if this refers to you or to the editor, Ken Earney. However, I am sure that you will direct it as appropriate. (My apologies. I don’t know whether or not it’s accepted journalistic practice, but please assume that any article appearing on the front page without attribution is by the editor.)

In 1946, during my apprenticeship with the company, I was called up for National Service in the Royal Air Force. During the whole of 1947 I was being trained as a Wireless Fitter, the first six months on ‘Basics’ at No. 2 Radio School, Yatesbury and the second six months on ‘Advanced’ at No. 1 Radio School, Cranwell. After training I was posted back to Yatesbury as an instructor (this was the fate of two of us who passed out top!).

For much of my time during 1948 at Yatesbury I was teaching the T1154/R1155 equipment to which you refer. Enclosed is a photograph of my T1154/R1155 laboratory which I took at that time. The photograph was taken on a very cheap camera using the now discontinued 127 film. The original negative is long-lost but I have kept a contact print for the past 62 years or so.

When I returned to the company in 1949 I continued with my apprenticeship and was then employed in Aircraft Test, first at Writtle and then at the old Skating Rink in London Road (now gone). I was working on what was then the last word in aircraft communications equipment; I think it was the AD107. A far cry from the quite primitive T1154/R1155 combination.

By the mid-1950s I had transferred to Marconi College in Arbour Lane as a lecturer and eventually principal lecturer where I stayed until my retirement in 1989. My earlier teaching experience at RAF Yatesbury stood me in good stead.

Another coincidence. After the time when Cyril Taylor was testing AD107s at New Street, I was servicing AD107/114s from our Comet 4s in the Radio Servicing Section at RAF Watton in Norfolk. I can also remember having a visitation from two Marconi Field Support engineers (I later found out they were Eddie Ratcliffe and Phil Flowerday) whilst I was in one of the aircraft, out on the airfield, investigating a problem of tripping supply circuit breakers on the system. It transpired that the diameter of the trunking installed for the cooling air supply was inadequate. Ed.