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William Walter Bradfield

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William Walter Bradfield (1879-1925) manager and director of Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co and Marconi International Marine Communication Co

1925 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM WALTER BRADFIELD, C.B.E., was the eldest son of William Bradfield, late of the General Post Office, and was born in London on the 18th March, 1879.

He received his engineering education at Finsbury Technical College, and in 1897 joined Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co., Ltd., at that time called The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Co., Ltd., as assistant to Senatore Marconi, and was thus associated with Marconi wireless telegraphy almost from its inception.

He was engaged in wireless demonstrations on Salisbury Plain in 1897, and assisted in the erection of the Needles (Isle of Wight) wireless station.

In 1898 he conducted a wireless service between Ladywood Cottage, Osborne, and the royal yacht "Osborne," when the late King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) was confined to the yacht with an injured knee.

In the same year Mr. Bradfield installed Marconi apparatus in the first British battleship to be equipped with wireless. He also had charge of a demonstration on board the U.S.A. battleship "Massachusetts."

In the following year he assisted in the installation of Marconi wireless apparatus on the Borkum Riff light vessel and Borkum lighthouse.

In 1901 he had charge of a demonstration for the French Government, of wireless working between Calvi (Corsica) and Antibes in the French Riviera. He was also responsible for the installation of the famous wireless stations at Siasconset (Nantucket Island) and on the Nantucket light vessel.

Mr. Bradfield was appointed chief engineer of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. of America in 1902. During his tenure of this office he attended the second International Radio Telegraphic Conference which met in Berlin in 1906.

He returned to England in 1908 as deputy manager of Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co., Ltd., and of the Marconi International Marine Communication Co., Ltd., and in 1910 became manager of both companies.

In 1917 he was elected to the board of directors of both companies. During the war he devoted his entire energies to the support which the Marconi companies gave to the Services, and it was for this war service that he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. For over a quarter of a century he was concerned with the development of wireless, particularly in connection with shipping, and it may be fairly stated that he was largely responsible for the efficiency of maritime wireless services and the high standard which they have now reached. In both business and social life he revealed a character which gained for him innumerable friends. His delightful personality endeared him to both business friends and colleagues, and his death leaves a sense of more than usual loss in those with whom he was associated.

He was elected a Student of the Institution in 1897, and a Member in 1920. He was also a Fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers (America), and an Associate of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

He had been in failing health for some time before his death, but could not be persuaded to leave his work until the end of 1924, when he went to Switzerland for treatment; it was, however, too late, and he returned to London, where he died on the 17th March, 1925.

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