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Roy Simons

Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago



Lifetime Achievements


Roy W. Simons  - OBE, CEng, FIEE, CPhys, FInstP - joined the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company in 1943 as a member of the Research Division. After an initial period developing special receivers for wartime direction-finding systems, he worked exclusively on military and civil radar systems until his retirement in 1986. He was the first Technical Director of the newly-formed Marconi Radar Systems Ltd. in 1969 and in the subsequent years he took responsibility for all Company development at both Chelmsford and Leicester, as well as for a period all Company production. Latterly he had direct control of the Radar Research Laboratory at Baddow. He was appointed OBE in 1986. He is currently Visiting Professor in Principles of Engineering Design at Sussex University.


Baddow in 1943

A fascinating personal view during wartime

A Career in Marconi

Covering forty-three continuous years of our History

Origins of Baddow

Particularly of the D&DH laboratories

A Note on Radar and ROTOR - 3 November, 1997

A very detailed account of the entry into radar followed by the extremely active development progress made during the realisation of this project

Forty Years of Marconi Radar from 1946 to 1986

Roy Simons' and John Sutherland's joint paper in the GEC Review 1998

Curriculum Vitae

Submission for proposed centenary History 

This account was written at the solicitation of Sir Robert Telford, as one of several contributions by radar staff requested by him in 1992 to guide the content of a new Marconi History proposed to be published for the centenary celebrations in 1997. Unfortunately this never happened – another casualty of the machinations within the company managements prior to that date. However, several of the accounts have survived in the archives at Sandford Mill, and with the permission of the authors, where possible, they are being included, as they were written, as personal reminiscences in our History. They should be read bearing in mind the context for which they were intended and the period in which they were produced.


Post Mortem Tributes


From Chris Simons

I’m sorry to tell you that my father Roy Simons passed away last Wednesday (20th Oct 2021) at the age of 97.

Marconi was a very big part of Roy’s life. In his youth he spent a lot of time building radios in the loft of his father’s garage business, which no doubt helped him with his application for a job in the Research Division of Marconi’s Wireless and Telegraph Company at Baddow in 1943. After developing special receivers for direction finding, he became a founder member of a department established to develop radar systems in 1949. He held many positions in the organisation and had responsibilities for project management, design, manufacturing and installation of various radar systems.

In 1965 he became Technical Manager of Radar Division, and then Technical and Quality Director of Marconi Radar Systems in 1969. In 1973 he was given the addition role of General Manager for Chelmsford when there were about 3,500 employees. In 1974 he was given responsibility for Health and Safety, and in 1976 after a major reorganisation he became responsible for all MRSL development and production in Chelmsford, Leicester and Gateshead. Further reorganisations followed, but he retained his role as Technical Director until he retired from MRSL in 1986.

After leaving MRSL he worked with the GEC Technical Directorate and the Canadian Marconi Company, and also with several Universities structuring courses, lecturing and examining. He became a visiting Professor at Sussex University in 1996.

Throughout his career he was very active with the IEE and the Engineering Council, and supported many Marconi engineers with their membership applications.

He researched the history of Marconi and the Marconi Company, and presented an IEE lecture entitled “Marconi the Father of Wireless” which he repeated many times at several different venues.

Most recently he provided background material to support the listing of the Chain Home tower at Baddow.

Strangely in 2017 I finished my career in Radar in A Block in Baddow in more or less the same area where my father started his in 1943.

This is a photo of Roy taken in the field at Baddow around 1950 which I found in an envelope containing old negatives. It shows Roy sitting in the doorway of a wartime communications cabin with some of his close colleagues (Len Whitaker, Joan Parker (later Joan Whitaker), and Jean Lelivre (I’m not sure of the spelling, but I understand that she was also known as Jean “the book”).


Barry P

Very sad news, after a very long career and major contribution to Marconi Radar, the IEE and his mentoring of younger engineers. 

I first met Roy in 1970 when he was Technical Director of Marconi Radar Systems under MD John Sutherland. The company was moving in to Writtle Road, but there were still large parts of engineering at Baddow under E-R. It was 1982 before some of us, including E-R,  eventually moved to Writtle Road. Roy was very active in the IEE and a member of the Council. He actively encouraged and supported many of us to apply for the highest level of membership which our experience justified.

Roy was Technical Director in 1982 but by that time the MD was Keith Chittenden.  He was still acting as mentor long after he left Marconi Radar Systems and I remember being invited to his home in Brentwood to discuss IEE membership in the late 1980’s.  He must hold some sort of record with the now IET, for the number of their members he has at some time proposed, supported and encouraged with their professional membership and development.

I am sure he will be affectionately remembered by Marconi colleagues with whom he worked over the years and by many others in the profession, academia and elsewhere.


Rob D

Sad news,

I was one of the many engineers whom Roy helped with their IET membership in the early 80's.


Ian B

What a sad day; although aged 97 you wouldn’t have known it from his emails. He also helped me in the early 70’s helped me with professional qualifications and was such a gentleman. Despite his seniority he always had time to talk and advise younger engineers. He will be missed


Alan M

I am very sad to hear of Roy’s death.

Roy was at Baddow when I went there from Pottery lane with Fred Kime in 1959 and he was then my Group Chief.

About 10 years later I transferred to Writtle Road from development and Roy advised me to go into system sales because I seemed to be a much better presenter of products than a digital designer and I must confess the digital age was beginning to get the better of me.

He helped me with some radar presentations I did for the general public after I retired and was always available for a chat on the phone or a visit for me to be able to sort out some historical technical details needed for these.

He was a man of many talents, including astute commercial awareness and making music on the piano.

Thank you Roy for all your help and encouragement during my Marconi Career.


John L

So sorry to receive this news. It was a privilege to work for him throughout my career.


Alan H-S

RIP Roy a true Marconi man - we worked together over a long period of time to hopefully ensure the continued appreciation of the Marconi heritage. 


Neil B

Roy was a real gentleman who always made time to advise and assist.
Sorry for your loss Chris.


Mike P

May I please add my own tribute to Roy? I met him only recently, during the last 6/7 years, as part of the informal Marconi Heritage Group. His friendship and conversation were much appreciated, covering MWT, naturally, and church music, not forgetting that he was Godfather to Julien Ryley.  Already mentioned in these postings, his remarkable memory and his detailed replies to so many queries via this site. Fully deserving the lovely tributes here.


Cyril F

A real pleasure to have known Roy over a period of years.


Malcolm M

Very sorry to hear about Roy. I didn’t interface with him during my time at Marconi Radar, but in recent years he gave me help and advice about "HF at Baddow during WW11", a period during which my father was involved in HF Direction Finding. Roy was generous with his memories and I thank him for his efforts. May he rest in peace.


Funeral details



Comments (1)

Ian Gillis said

at 4:21 pm on Feb 14, 2016

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