Voices Over Passchendaele

Voices Over Passchendaele

Peter Eckersley

Portrait of Peter Eckersley

Peter Pendleton Eckersley (1892–1963), M.I.E.E., Broadcasting Engineer

Peter Eckersley

The Forgotten First Chief Engineer of BBC and the Father of British Radio Broadcasting.

Pioneer of WW1 aircraft radio, the first civilian aviation air traffic control systems, and head of the first British radio station "two-emma-toc" at Writtle, Peter

1892 Born on 6th January in Puebla, Mexico, the third son of (William) Alfred Eckersley, a railway engineer, and his wife, Rachel. His elder brother was the physicist Thomas Eckersley; and his cousin, Aldous Huxley, English writer, novelist and philosopher.
Educated at Beadles School, he was apprenticed to Mather and Platt before entering Manchester Municipal College of Technology in 1912.
1915 Gained a certificate of electrical engineering.
1915 Served with the Royal Flying Corps as a wireless equipment officer, mainly in Egypt and at Salonika; repeatedly banned from flying as he was too important an engineer.
1916 Sent to the Wireless Experimental Station at Biggin Hill where he conducted ground breaking experimental work on duplex telephony (speech transmission) for aircraft.
1917 Married Stella Grove.
1919 Joined Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company as the Head of the Experimental Section, Air¬craft Department at Writtle, near Chelmsford.
During his time in this role, he designed the Croydon Airport ground station transmitter, direction finding equipment and air traffic control wireless systems enabling the birth and rapid growth of civilian aviation in the UK.
1921 On the merger of the Aircraft Department and the Field Station Department, he became head of the Design Department located in an ex-army hut in Writtle.
1922 Starting from the 14th February 1922, Capt. Eckersley and his team conducted the first regular advertised radio broad¬casts in the United Kingdom from the 2MT station at Writtle.
During the summer of 1922 Eckersley defined and invented the art and science of broadcasting. The success of his station, its innovations and inventions coupled with his irreverent and humorous broadcasts gains a huge audience and led directly to the birth of the BBC.