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British Industrial History

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William John Bray

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(William) John Bray (1911–2004), telecommunications engineer

1911 born on 10 September at 198 Walmer Road, Kingston, Portsmouth, son of William James Bray, an engine room artificer, and his wife, Emily Eliza, née Clothier.

WWI The family moved to Yeovil but afterwards returned to Portsmouth

Attended Portsmouth southern grammar school.

1927 became an apprentice in the naval dockyards. In his spare time he built a spark radio transmitter and later made a copy of John Logie Baird's ‘spinning disc’ television receiver.

1932 Attended the City and Guilds Engineering College, London, having won a Royal and Whitworth scholarship

1934 ACGI

1935 Gained MSc (Eng).

1935 Bray joined the Post Office

Appointed assistant engineer at Dollis Hill in the radio experimental branch where he undertook important experimental work on radio transmission, helping convert the Post Office's transatlantic and other short-wave radio links to single sideband operation and building the multi-unit steerable antenna.

1936 Married Margaret Earp

Post WWII Bray worked on the design and development of microwave radio systems. One of his early tasks was to develop the TV licence detector van.

1954 he became head of the Post Office's inland radio branch. One of the inland radio branch's key achievements was the design of London's Post Office Tower, which became the centrepiece of the Post Office's high frequency telecommunications and broadcasting network.

1961 Head of the Post Office's new space communications systems branch. Oversaw the rapid construction of the satellite earth station at Goonhilly, on the Lizard peninsula.

c.1963 Returned to Dollis Hill, as deputy director of research

1966 Appointed director of research.

Led the design and construction of the Post Office's new research centre at Martlesham Heath in Suffolk which was opened in November 1975.

1975 Retired from the Post Office.

2004 Died in Ipswich

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of William John Bray, ODNB