On this page we publish interesting stories that we have gleaned from researching our historic archive. Click on the links to read the stories behind them.


GeneralVE DayVE Day in Malvern1945
Church Walk ExhibitionSkynet satellites1969
Church Walk ExhibitionQueen Elizabeth the second sends first email. Link to larger image.HM Queen Elizabeth II sends Email1976
Scientists Come To MalvernHM King George VI Visits TRE1944
Scientists Come To MalvernKing and Queen visit TRE1944
Church Walk ExhibitionDIY Television1946
Church Walk ExhibitionDefford Satellite Communications1985
Church Walk ExhibitionRadar Beacons1942
Church Walk ExhibitionRRFU marks 50th Anniversary of RAF1968
Church Walk ExhibitionMALMAG1985-2010
Church Walk ExhibitionElsie Searchlight Control1940-1945
Church Walk ExhibitionArthur Marsh1942-1949
Church Walk ExhibitionH2S Radar1942
Church Walk ExhibitionAir to Surface Vessel (ASV) radar1942-1945
Church Walk Exhibition1942-45 Leisure Activities for TRE Malvern Scientists1942-1945
Church Walk ExhibitionTRE Film Unit1942
Church Walk ExhibitionTRE Malvern Transport Section1942-2002
Church Walk ExhibitionTRE at Malvern College1944
Church Walk ExhibitionBlind Landing1945
Church Walk ExhibitionVE Day in Malvern1945
Church Walk ExhibitionD Day1944
Church Walk ExhibitionCanberra Over Gloucester1952
Church Walk ExhibitionOboe Blind Bombing1941
Church Walk ExhibitionRapier1960-2000
Church Walk ExhibitionNorth Site1960
Church Walk ExhibitionTracking Insects1968-1998
Church Walk ExhibitionUK Air Defence1954
Church Walk ExhibitionSurface Acoustic wave Technology (SAW)1970
Church Walk ExhibitionBig Fiona German Trials1979-1981
Church Walk ExhibitionManpack Satellite1981
Church Walk ExhibitionDemonstration of entangled photons1990
Church Walk ExhibitionAlgol 681970
Church Walk ExhibitionBBRL1943
Church Walk ExhibitionPICAO Parade1946
Scientists Come To MalvernApprentices’ Carnival1962
Scientists Come To MalvernCrystal Growth1950-1980
Scientists Come To MalvernWorld’s First Atom Smasher1946
Scientists Come To MalvernRadar on a Pyramid1942
Scientists Come To MalvernScientists come to Malvern1942
Scientists Come To MalvernAmateur Dramatics1953
Scientists Come To MalvernDesigning Radar in Malvern College1945
Scientists Come To MalvernIntegrated Electronic Circuits1952
Scientists Come To MalvernRadar Test Bed1985
Scientists Come To MalvernProtecting the Bombers1944
Scientists Come To MalvernSeeing Heat1960
Scientists Come To MalvernThe Touchscreen1965
Scientists Come To MalvernTRE Automatic Computer,”TREAC”1952
Scientists Come To MalvernMetreological Radar1966
Scientists Come To MalvernJamming Enemy Radars1982
Scientists Come To MalvernTelecommuncations Flight Unit, TRE Defford1950
Scientists Come To MalvernGuarlford Listening Post1943
Scientists Come To MalvernThe Hall of Magic1944
Scientists Come To MalvernHewitt Camera1963
Scientists Come To MalvernLiquid Crystal Displays1973-1982
Scientists Come To MalvernMalvern Women Volunteers1942-1945
Scientists Come To MalvernTropospheric Scatter Dish1966
Scientists Come To MalvernRadio Astronomy Research at Malvern1962
Scientists Come To MalvernShake Rattle & Roll1961
Scientists Come To MalvernDish used to detect Sputnik1957
Scientists Come To MalvernMalvern’s Stratospheric Chamber1965
Scientists Come To MalvernArmy Tactical Satellite Communications1979-1980
Scientists Come To MalvernA ‘V1’ Flying Bomb1944
Scientists Come To MalvernRRE designed the radars in the Vulcan1942-1993
Scientists Come To MalvernLancaster dropping “Window”1944
Scientists Come To MalvernTRE at the “The Monastery”1944
Scientists Come To MalvernTRE Engineering Unit (EU)1943
Scientists Come To MalvernTracker for Russian Satellites1967
Scientists Come To MalvernSwords into Ploughshares1946
Scientists Come To MalvernViscount over Malvern1968
Scientists Come To MalvernA Computer comes to Malvern Vale1952

6 Responses to Stories

  1. winifred wharam says:

    I have just been reading about the Radio Shack in Guarlford and there is a possibility you wouldn’t be interested in what I have to say. After the War was over my family had nowhere to live, so they became squatters in the Radio Shack. There was my Parents Ernest & Violet Clarke, myself and I think three or four other siblings, I could be wrong – we ended up being a big family, another three were born after ,we were lucky enough to have a new council house in the village

    • winifred wharam says:

      I forgot to mention that I now live in Western Australia

      • Mike Burstow says:

        Hello Winifred,

        Thank you for posting your story. It is an amazing story too! Are any of your siblings still alive and in the UK? I would be pleased to learn of any further memories.
        The radio shack was used to listen to German radio signals from Northern France. TRE was particularly interested in any radio traffic connected with German radars and later with their Vengeance Weapons V1 and V2 which were launched from France.

  2. Alan Stackman says:

    Nothing to do with Malvern but I served as a RAF ground radar fitter 1956 – 1965. The radars in use were T7 T13 T14 T80 T82 FPS6 FPS3

  3. Ron Henry says:

    Dear Mr Jarman

    Your email has remained unanswered because no MRATHS committee member had any knowledge whatsoever of what you wrote about. My eye has now fallen on it and I’m one of the very, very few surviving ex-RRE staff who was involved – albeit peripherally, in my case. I’ve always been aviation-fixated and have also been an ‘Aeroplane’ reader since Issue 1.

    I joined RRE in Sep 1960, aged 17 1/2, as a very junior member of the scientific staff. I spent a couple of fairly uninspiring yrs in Guided Weapons Dept and then got myself transferred to Airborne Radar Dept. My senior boss was Gerry Steer who had a team of about 8. He had joined the establishment during WW2 and was well known in the airborne interception radar (AI) world. In the mid-50s he had been the project officer on the AI MK 20 programme and had also overseen its adaptation into a tail warning radar when an improved TWR was needed for the Vulcan and Victor – hence the radar’s codename ‘Red Steer’. It went into the Mk 1As.

    ISTR that it was a Thursday or Friday when the Firebar went into the lake. At tea break Gerry said that he’d been told that he would be having a long working weekend in Berlin! On his return a few days later he told me and my contemporaray, Noel, that we would have to move, straightaway, out of our small lab-cum-office. Two or 3 not-very-large wooden packing cases very soon arrived and were taken into the room. From that time, it became a behind-closed-door operation/investigation on which I remember only 2 people working. One was a senior member of the team and the other was one of his contemporaries from a nearby team. There may have been occasional visitors from elsewhere in the dept and also from ‘outside’ – it’s all a long time ago. I’d be very surprised indeed if there weren’t some ‘voyeurs’ from RAF TechIntAir.

    I remember well the departure of the ‘loot’. It had been put back into the cases which were nailed closed and carried outside to a waiting RAF van which was crewed by two regular RAF policemen – both armed! Total overkill, I’ve always thought. Noel and I then got our room back. It was fairly untidy with a good deal of wood-straw packing material strewn about. Noel and I searched the room thoroughly to see if anything had been left behind. I found a short length of EHT (ie high voltage) cable, a valve base (I mean a radio valve of the glass tube type), a small, broken-off, piece of an aluminium casting, and some small lumps of dried Stosensee mud. I kept these items for many years. That was the end of the story. It was never jointly discussed by the team.

    R&D for airframes, engines and aircraft radios was assigned to RAE Farnborough and it’s my personal conviction that components from those Firebar systems would have been investigated there. Tech reports on all of the investigations would certainly have been written but were undoubtedly classified ‘Top Secret’ and are most unlikely ever to be released into the public domain (pd). I did come across published material which is likely to be floating around somewhere in the pd. You may know of the RAF flight safety magazine ‘Air Clues’? It used to be available at RRE. Sometime after the Berlin Wall had ‘fallen down’ I found an article, written by an ex-RAF Gatow guy, about the Firebar. I remember it included mention of Gerry Steer’s name. I did take a copy of it, but it’s disappeared – I must try to get another copy.

    You asked which parts were examined in UK rather than Germany, and did the examination really help in countering Soviet equipment? The a/c wreck temporarily became UK property by ending up in the Brit Sector, so it became ‘ours’ to investigate. I think that secure UK-owned facilities in West Germany to make a good scientific investigation and analysis of anything recovered would be nil. I can be fairly confident that it was parts of the -28Ps AI system which came to Malvern. Yes, in my opinion, it would have helped counter Soviet equipment.

    I don’t have the Aeroplane article to hand, but I remember that it did get one thing wrong by bringing Pershore airfield into its story. The two main RRE sites were located in Malvern; Pershore airfield, 22 miles away, was the Aircraft Department. Its functions were to support flight ops and maintenance and modification of RRE’s fleet of aircraft (40 a/c when it opened in Sep 1957, and less than 20 when it closed in 1977). Although there was a Radar Labs building at Pershore, it was mainly used by contractors’ teams and very little experimental work was done there. The Firebar parts certainly never went to the airfield.

    If you are interested in finding out what was achieved with RRE’s large fleet of Canberras, I can thoroughly recommend ‘Black Box Canberras’ by Dave Forster 😉

    Your sincerely

    Ron Henry

    • Hi Ron & Mr Jarman (et all)

      Ron Henry says: July 1, 2017 at 12:35 “Although there was a Radar Labs building at Pershore, it was mainly used by contractors’ teams and very little experimental work was done there.”.

      To add a little more information about the Pershore site at the very end ….

      We were the small Marconi Avionics R&D & trials team at Pershore at the end.

      We were the last ones to leave the site !

      We then moved into a brand new building in an Unexploded Bomb forest near the Bletchley Park site and the ex MI6 Whaddon Hall site within the airfield in Thurleigh (Bedford) to finish our research (the research was wound up in 1980 when the possibility of feeding new mathematics from our research from the x2 model our radar into the production a1 model became impossible .. because at some point you need to freeze the production model design!).

      We were doing some of the world’s very most advanced Kalman prediction R&D in the world (although theoretically Marconi Avionics was just a MOD contractor, it was a really huge multi £Million contractor, doing work that in previous years might have been done by the MOD directly.

      So we were doing that very advanced R&D right there in Pershore and then obviously in Thurleigh (Bedford) when Pershore closed – while the much larger teams of pure mathematicians, computer scientists, and electronic engineers carried on with the production versions of Foxhunter back at main the Marconi base in Borehamwood.

      So our small Marconi Avionics Team did Radar Field Trials & further developed and tested the X2 Model of the Tornado Fighter Radar (i.e. The Foxhunter Radar) for the MRCA (Tornado) fighter version. We were in a ground based hut but we did real flight trials against Canberra targets navigated by our own navigators, with RAF pilots.

      Our final research team was just two computer scientists and just one visiting mathematician (i.e. excluding the much larger team in Borehamwood doing the production models). The team continued the development and advancement of the X2 model Radar Data Processor (RDP) in a little hut in teh Pershore site on Elliot 905 & Elliot 920 ATC computers. We were a tiny but highly significant mathematician and computer scientist team (I was a Quantum Mechanics Pure Theoretical Chemistry Graduate) and we were developing world leading state of the art tracking and prediction algorithms based on Kalman State-Space Filters and Predictors and our duty was to test and make mathematical advances and feed these improvements back to Borehamwood.

      Personally: I joined Marconi Avionics in 1974 and I left Marconi in 1980 and set up my own Military AI R&D software company after these X2 trials finished in Bedford. My companies then supplied AI hardware and software (as MTR AI Compilers) to GCHQ etc and my companies still do world-advanced AI R&D into “Sentient AI Entities” based on the work and aspirations of Alan Turing.

      Regarding the Foxhunter Radar project size: The electronic engineering team was much larger than the software side, and at Borehamwood it was about 100 graduates, and in Pershore and Bedford (Thurleigh) on the final R&D there were only five or six of us in total.

      Hope that all helps …. Brian Serafini (The Inferix Project)

      PS … there is a weird coincidence that I have often wondered about having moved from Whaddon (Bedfordshire) to Cheltenham … it is that Whaddon (Bedfordshire) is where MI6 was originally located in Bedfordshire near Bletchley Park and the Airfield and then when some parts of MI6 moved and then became GCHQ in Cheltenham they were located in an area called “Whaddon”. Surely that can’t be coincidence? Does anybody know if the MOD named the area in Cheltenham as “Whaddon” ?

      kbo Brian Serafini.

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