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British Industrial History

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Baynton Hippisley

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Richard John Baynton (aka Bayntun) Hippisley (1865-1956)

Born 4 July 1865

Educated at Rugby and Faraday House where he studied engineering and maths.

Became an apprentice at Thorn Engineering where he completed his training in electrical and mechanical engineering.

1898 inherited Ston Easton House on the death of his grandfather.

Gazetted 2nd Lt in the North Somerset Yeomanry

1903 Colonel R. L. Hippisley (presumably a relative) attended the International Conference on Wireless Telegraphy in Berlin, as one of the British government's representatives[1]

1907 High Sheriff of Somerset [2].

1908 Became Honorary Lt Col.

Baynton, as he was known, was interested in wireless telegraphy and worked at the Lizard in 1912 where he picked up messages from the Titanic.

1913 He was appointed a member of the War Office Committee on Wireless Telegraphy.

On the outbreak of the First World War he, together with Edward Russell Clarke told the Admiralty code breakers that they were receiving signals from the German Navy on a lower wavelength than was currently being received by the existing Marconi stations. The two amateurs were given permission to set up a listening post at Hunstanton, the highest point nearest the German coast which eventually became the basis for 14 listening posts[3]

1914 Baynton was appointed Commander RNVR; subsequently set up listening posts at Otranto, Malta and Ancona.

It was reported that because of the work done by Baynton it was possible for the RA to predict Zeppelin raids as they could hear the orders given to get the Zeppelins out of their sheds prior to a raid.

"He solved the problem of listening to U-boats when they were talking to each on the radio by devising a double-tuning device which simultaneously identified the waveband and precise wavelength. That, it is said, was essential to clearing the Western Approaches in late 1917, when American troops were coming over. Bayntun Hippisley sat in Goonhilly listening to the U-boat captains as they chatted happily to each other in clear German; he told the destroyers where to find them; the food and the Americans got through" [4] [5]

1917 Elected member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (M.I.E.E.)[6]

1918 For his wartime services, Baynton was awarded the OBE (Mil) on 3 June 1918[7]

1931 Appointed a Road Traffic Commissioner[8]

1937 Awarded CBE[9]

April 1956 Died[10]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Aug 05, 1903
  2. [1]
  3. The Times, Apr 16, 1956
  4. "Tradition and the innovative talent" by William Rees-Mogg [2]
  5. The Times, June 05, 1995
  6. Auto Biography & History Michael John Hippisley Born 18th July 1934 [3]
  7. Auto Biography & History Michael John Hippisley Born 18th July 1934 [4]
  8. The Times, Jan 15, 1931
  9. Richard John Bayntun Hippisley (1865-1956) [5]
  10. The Times Apr 11, 1956
  • Article in Hunstanton Newsletter, 2006 [6]
  • Bayntum Hippisley [7]
  • Auto Biography & History Michael John Hippisley Born 18th July 1934 [8]