Birth of the Signalling War: The Marconi Company’s key role in WW1

Video available
Date: Monday, 02 March 2015 19:30

Venue: Anglia Ruskin University (Mar 001)  |  City: Chelmsford, United Kingdom

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Speaker: Dr Elizabeth Bruton

Dr Bruton will talk about the vital wartime contribution made by the Marconi Company and Marconi Company engineers and staff employed by the British military during World War One. The focus of the talk will be important developments in wireless communications including radio telephony, wireless interception, and wireless direction-finding and their impact upon the war in land, on air, and at sea. This talk will also include a local element: the establishment of a signals interception station located in the Hall Street works here in Chelmsford.

Marconi B1 set on a Douglas motorcycle (image courtesy IET)

Marconi B1 set on a Douglas motorcycle (image courtesy IET)

Much of our understanding of advanced developments in wireless technologies in warfare is influenced by developments during World War Two including the development of radar as well as radio navigation systems. However, to understand these developments and the vital role played by wireless communications in warfare, we must return to World War One. World War One was truly the birthplace of signals intelligence ("SIGINT") and the wartime collaboration between the Marconi Company and the British military were a keystone in this endeavour.

Dr Elizabeth BrutonDr Elizabeth Bruton is a passionate and experienced speaker on the history of electronic communications with a special interest in Marconi. She has appeared on several BBC TV science programmes and radio broadcasts, including Shock and Awe and Melvyn Bragg’s In our Time. She is the holder of the 2014-2015 Byrne-Bussey Marconi Visiting Fellowship at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Dr Bruton holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering from Trinity College, Dublin and is an Associate Member of the IET.


Marconi Building, Anglia Ruskin University - Business School, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1RP
United Kingdom




All Dates

  • Monday, 02 March 2015 19:30