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  The story of RADAR, of its acclaimed inventor, its use in wartime giving the Allied Forces the upper-hand against the Axis Forces, and its subsequent use since WW2 in a whole hosts of functions and facilities, militarily and commercial, is well known.

  In the third decade of the 1930's several European minds had established a firm scientific understanding of the principles involved, but for all pragmatic reasons, the British scientist and inventor Robert Watson-Watt is acknowledged universally as being the inventor of a working system and thus the inventor of Radar. He was knighted for the invention in 1942.

  Much has been written about radar per se, some of it relevant to the royal navy, but to get a full understanding of how it affected Britain and specifically the navy, we must turn to our own scientists working in Admiralty

  Fortunately, the history of Establishments which were to become known as the ASWE [Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment] were recorded for posterity and from it we have produced several pdf files covering their scientific experiments. Our first tells the story of the development of Radiolocation, and with only a couple of years before WW2 started, the British naval authorities were doubting the wisdom of RDF, choosing to spend their time and allotted budget on other matters of warfare.

The following text has been copied from the "D/F OUTFITS" over in the Radio and Wireless Telegraphy section of the site:-

  No organisation can tell 'our' story better than our own scientists and engineers who worked for ASWE [Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment] and of course many other places of excellence. Their story is not in the public domain, although one astute man by the name of O.L. RATSEY did bother to get his pen out to leave for posterity a 'wonderful' composition which he called "AS WE WERE", the AS WE representing ASWE. "AS WE WERE" had a title which read "Fifty Years of ASWE History 1896-1946", and it has a Section on Direction Finding fully relevant to our needs which is from 1918. The composition was copied many times and issued in an A4, blue coloured, hard-back cover, with punched pages held in place by a four-ganged spring clip. Regrettably, the copying of this composition was so prolific that many copies, including ours, is often difficult to read, and sometimes needs to be re-processed before being re-produced. The modern computer technique of OCR [optical character recognition] is also out of the question because of the poor quality offered to the associated scanning device.

  We have undertaken the reprocessing function [of some of the pages] as a mark of respect to these men of ASWE even though we have neither sought or received approval to use the composition. I am sure that they will not be offended by seeing some of the composition here in print, and after all, 1946 is a long time ago. This will bring their time and work back to life!

Before we begin, O.L. Ratsey published this poem on the front page:-

"I summon up remembrance of things past
And seek their forms now vanished from our sight
But sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
The work of men hid in death's dateless night.
After S.S. xxx "

and dedicated his work "To The Men of the hour and of all the hours". He was generous in his Acknowledgements, and since we are going to quote verbatim, it is fitting that we too reproduce the list - we owe them a great deal.

Further Reading

From Ratsey's compilation, comes other files of great interest.

ASWE Part 3 Radar

RDF continues in these two files

ASWE Chapter 12 Part A
ASWE Chapter 12 Part B

Chapter 13 deals with centimeter wave radar in the period 1941-1946

ASWE Chapter 13

And chapter 14 with post war radar developments

ASWE Chapter 14

Other 'Radar' Files

RADAR from the first set until the end of WW2
RADAR Branch 1945
1940's Research and Development
1957 RADAR data
RADAR deck landings blind
RADAR display rooms
WW2 RN Surface RADAR part A
WW2 RN Surface RADAR part B
WW2 AFO's and CAFO's for RADAR and WT Branches - Part One
WW2 AFO's and CAFO's for RADAR and WT Branches - Part Two
WW2 Symbols, Markings - Get it right !
Transition from 79B to 279B - 79 first set in the R.N., in 1938
Type 79 modified

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