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Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 7 months ago




This page is for those bits and pieces that either don't fit exactly into any other section or spread over several or are just curiosities.


RDF or Radar?

To start with there is the background to these two nomenclatures. There are several claimants for the coining of RDF but the one that seems to have the best provenance is to be found in "Britain's Shield RADAR" by David Zimmerman on page 132 - quote:


On 23 August (1935) Wing Commander J.O.Andrews, a staff officer at the Air Ministry, reported to Wimperis (Director of Scientific Research at the Air Ministry) that the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff had requested 'a name for this system of detection  which [did] not immediately indicate its method of operation'. Andrews suggested that they use the term 'R.D.F. (a compression of R.D and D/F) to serve as verb, noun or adjective as required.' If Wimperis agreed this term would be used in all further official documents. On 17 September Wimperis concurred with Andrews' recommendation and British radar became known as RDF. This is confirmed by the earliest document which refers to the term. This document is a paper written by Wimperis on 24 September titled 'Notes on proposed methods of plotting information received from R.D.F. stations'.





RDF remained the term used in Britain until Radar, standing for 'RAdio Detection And Range', the acronym used in 1940 by the Americans as their cover for the secret work at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington in 1940 with ranging meaning distance and direction measurement, entered the RAF's lexicon in 1942 and was formally adopted in 1942 on the authority of AMO A.863/1943 of 2nd September, although the associated "Radiolocation" was not formally discontinued until as late as 25 January 1945 (by AMO A.80/1945)


The following derivation was also suggested during RAF RADAR courses in 1954/5 at Yatesbury Training Camp - Radio Azimuth Direction And Ranging.


An interesting take on CH




Offcuts & Harmonics

First of all the Marconi Roundel


Marconi experimenting with radio location in 1935


A compendium of Marconi facts and figures


Marconi House in London


Marconi Employees Manual  - those were the days


Marconi Centenary 1997

This is the only reference I can find to what should have been a considerable event. There were a considerable number of events in 2001 to celebrate the first wireless transmission across the Atlantic.


Baddow" - still leading    Story 1   Story 2


The Beginning of someone else's History



Ian's selection of acoustic detectors


MRSL Mementoes


GEC History 1


GEC Archives


GEC Computers




Diversions  of a radio telescope


Marconi Conference Centre


The Marconi Society


RAF Yatesbury Association,   RAF Yatesbury and  RAF Locking - many MOGS and others have "fond" memories of these two establishments


Royal Air Force Museum


The Radar War


Informal Radar Conference 1946


London Airport - a COI film - includes some very early radar footage


Live ATC - an eye-opener


CH Radar

This is a blog consisting mainly of critiques of books about radar by various authors with

some fascinating comments


The other side of the story 1, 2


The National Valve Museum

Another private venture recording electronic history


The Virtual Valve Museum


A fascinating article referencing a variety of electronic warfare systems


Alexandra Palace at War


A definite oddity - Bruce Neale was involved (followup on /BTNeale2.htm and /BTNeale3.htm)


Daventry Anniversary


Another version of the story


A rather quaint overview of wartime radar published in Flight magazine in June 1945


A comprehensive overview of WW2 radar production published in Wireless World in October 1945 (starts page 290)


RAF Air Defence Radar Museum - a photographic essay describing a visit to the museum at Neatishead in June 2016 by Nick Pinnock.


RAF Neatishead - a documentary film from c.1985 about the first female CO, Gp Capt Joan Hopkins.


Online Air Defence Radar Museum


A Computer Curiosity


Radar Basics - an interesting if somewhat skewed educational site




Inforapid Knowledge Portal - a very idiosyncratic compendium


List of WWII electronic warfare equipment 


A German Compendium - includes some interesting insights and Freya and Wurzburg radars


Another German Compendium related to D-Day


An interesting insight into early radar problems


Early Radar memories


An erstwhile competitor's story: The Decca Legacy also here


An interesting item about early offshoots of radar


An interesting snippet about the Pourville raid, an equally critical event as the more well-known earlier Bruneval raid


This is an equally interesting story about the people who operated radars in WW2 and the conditions under which they worked in all theatres of the war 


Another article, on  the psychological effect of directing instructions to destroy.  


Two advertisements for Marconi Wireless Telegraph radar equipment and featuring "The Hand of Marconi" (Link 1 and Link 2), found by Steve Bousfield in Grace's Guide.


An ambitious restoration.



Radar on the silver screen

At the end of the Second World War, the Air Ministry was eager to publicise the discovery of a technology that played a crucial role in assisting British forces in defending the nation against German attack: radar. A young private in the army's cinema unit, Peter Ustinov, was attached to the RAF in order to write the script and direct the film, the first of what turned out to be a substantial collection. The film was 'School for Secrets'


Pathe have released a catalogue of films including this.


A  piece from a documentary.


Pictures - general interest


 A news story about Bentley Priory


Air Traffic Control

A number of tracking websites now give anyone with a computer and an internet connection a view of controlled airspace that many air traffic controllers as late as the 1980s would have dearly wished. Here is a selection of interesting tracking and information sites for the interested traveller:


The London Heathrow Terminal Control Area
Casper Flights
Flight Radar 24
Radar Virtuel
Localiza Todo (includes ships!)
Flight Aware

Flight Stats (includes airport, airline etc. statistics)

Airport Codes (translates airport ICAO, IATA codes, eg. EGKK, LGW)



Figures in the story of radar other than those connected with Marconi in particular those comprising the original 1930s pioneers.


ACM Hugh Dowding     Two items related to his WW2 HQ  - Bentley Priory  1.  2.


Harry Wimperis


A P Rowe


Henry Tizard


Arnold "Skip" Wilkins

For the definitive exposition of the radar story see "The Birth of British Radar" joint-edited by our own Colin Latham especially the revised second edition


Edward "Taffy" Bowen


"Bill" Penley - a paper written by him, his obituary circa 2017 and a reminiscence






Comments (2)

Ian Gillis said

at 12:24 pm on Feb 10, 2016

Page and links checked - dead links to skomer.u-net and rusi.org removed

Ian Gillis said

at 9:31 am on Oct 6, 2017

Colin Hinson reports skomer links still viewable on the Wayback machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20080612022202/http://www.skomer.u-net.com:80/projects/start.htm

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