British officer served with 4 Sqdn Royal Flying Corps in France, 1915-1917; served as instructor at No 1 Wireless School, Farnborough, GB, 1917-1918; civilian worked for Vickers Aircraft Coy in GB and China, 1919-1926; and Marconi Coy in China and Hong Kong, 1926-1941; worked for Radio Signals and Supplies Directorate in Australia, 1942-1944; worked for Marconi Coy and Egyptian State Broadcasting Service in Egypt, 1944-1946; worked for Marconi Coy in China, 1946-1947
REEL 1 Background in New Zealand and in Cornwall, GB, 1893-1903; reasons for leaving home aged 10; early employment and religious interest. Aspects of enlistment and training as wirelesss operator with Royal Flying Corps in GB, 1915: importance of amateur activity to wireless development; long and short wave transmitters pre-1914.
REEL 2 Continues: limited wireless training available, 1915; potential of wireless for artillery observation and attitude of artillery personnel. Recollections of period as officer with No 4 Sqdn, Royal Flying Corps in France, 1915-1917: uniform; promotion and gaining commission; journey to unit; unsuitability of squadron's Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c for combat; limitations of quench gap spark transmitter installed in Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c; air to ground observation using wireless hindered by lack of cooperation between Royal Flying Corps and Royal Artillery.
REEL 3 Continues: use of message bags for air to artillery observation; experiences with various batteries in Somme area, 1915-1917; personal morale during first experience of battle; obviousness of wireless operator's position attracting fire; role of wireless operator within battery; dangers of erecting aerial; trench living conditions; 1916 Christmas dinner; coping with lice and rats.
REEL 4 Continues: receiving news of Lord Kitchener's death, 6/1916; lead up to and nature of Battle of the Somme, 1916; aftermath of battle; lack of use of wireless during battle; relations with Royal Flying Corps officers; question of elitism within Royal Flying Corps and isolation of wireless personnel; untrained and inexperienced pilots. Aspects of period as instructor with No 1 Wireless School, Farnborough in GB, 1917-1918: selecting suitable recruits.
REEL 5 Continues: influence of Lord Trenchard; setting up and organisation of school; selection and training of recruits; wireless equipment, 1917 and recruits' lack of experience with it; change to valves 1918; post-war boom in wireless development.
REEL 6 Continues: relationship between development of wireless and aircraft; introduction of radio direction finding equipment to Handley Page 0/400 bomber in 1918; description of and experiments with Robinson's Coil; inaccuracy of coil; lack of field experience for wireless recruits; wartime wedding in London; recollections of Armistice Day at Flower Down near Winchester, 11/11/1918.
REEL 7 Continues: Armistice Day parade and cathedral service in Winchester, 11/1918. Aspects of employment with Vickers Ltd (Aviation Department) in GB, 1919: installing radio in Vickers Vimy aircraft flown by John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown; John Alcock's attitude towards wireless; contrast in characters of John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown; relations with Arthur Whitten Brown.
REEL 8 Continues: preparations for John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown's Transatlantic Flight 5/1919, their attitude towards use of space in aircraft, adaptations, pressure of work and shipping aircraft to Newfoundland; landing accident in Ireland; reasons for non operation of wireless on flight; comparison with Charles Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight, 1927; Captain John Alcock's death, 19/12/1919.
REEL 9 Continues: Aspects of period with Vickers Ltd (Aviation Department) in China, 1920-1926: company contract for passenger and commercial aircraft, 2/1920; arrival in Peking, 4/1920; initial impressions; warlords' internecine warfare; political chaos and subsequent holdup on flight service. Aspects of period with Marconi in Shanghai and Peking, China and Hong Kong, 1926-1941: career in Shanghai and eventually becoming managing director in Peking; advantageous political change of climate under Chiang Kai-Shek.
REEL 10 Continues: cable companies' monopoly and Chinese government desire for communications control, 1927; use of Marconi beam system to establish direct telegraph system between China and GB; his role in establishing Chinese international radio station and subsequent network of wireless stations within China; Chinese politics and rise of Communism late 1930s; Japanese attack on Shanghai, 1937 and diversion of broadcasting station equipment to Osaka, Japan; arranging secret return of equipment to China.
REEL 11 Continues: journey of equipment, 1937; his move to Hong Kong; Japanese behaviour in Shanghai; Communist progression through China; Japanese threat to China, 1941; holiday from Hong Kong, 12/1941; membership of Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force; family evacuation from Hong Kong to Australia, 1940; hearing news of fall of Hong Kong in Australia, 12/1941; loss of all possessions.
REEL 12 Continues: loss of livelihood and possessions in Hong Kong 12/1941. Aspects of period as controller with Australian Radio Signals and Supplies Directorate in Australia, 1941-1944: duties as controller of Directorate; fact finding mission to US and GB on problems of signals equipment in jungle conditions; liaison with Major General Harry Ingles, US Army Signals Corps. Aspects of period with Marconi Coy and Egyptian State Broadcasting Service in Egypt, 1944-1946: propaganda broadcasting; opinion of wartime Australian signals technology.
REEL 13 Continues: Recollections of visits with Marconi Coy to China, 1946-1947: disruption of business world; Chinese wireless service; progress of Communism; collapse and corruption of Kuomintang government; opinion of Chiang Kai-Shek's government and pressures on him; Communist threat and lack of commitment to Allies 1930s-1940s; strengths of Communist position; attitudes of Chinese people towards Communism; visit to Communist China, 1956.
REEL 14 Continues: circumstances of his world tour; visiting Taiwan and China; comparison of Chinese socio-economic conditions in 1920s and 1950s; difference in social attitude and behaviour of Chinese; contact with pre-Communist Chinese colleagues; isolation of Communist China.