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Harold Lister Kirke

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Harold Lister Kirke (1895-1955) of the British Broadcasting Corporation

1955 Obituary [1]

IT is with regret that we have to record the death, on August 25th, of Mr. Harold Lister Kirke, C.B.E., who was formerly assistant chief engineer of the British Broadcasting Corporation and one of the pioneers of the very-high-frequency system of broadcasting.

Harold Kirke was born in London in 1895.

He served, in the First World War as a commissioned officer in the Royal Fusiliers and later in the Royal Corps of Signals.

After being demobilised he joined Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd., and was one of the early collaborators in the pioneering broadcasting system from Writtle, near Chelmsford.

In 1924 he joined the British Broadcasting Corporation as a development engineer. A year later he became head of the Corporation's research department a post which he held until 1949, when he became assistant chief engineer. Ill health forced him to premature retirement in 1952, but not before he had helped to lay the foundations for broadcasting at very high frequencies w1th frequency modulation a system of which he was a keen advocate.

It will be recalled that it was in 1950 that the first experimental v.h.f. transmitting stat1on was built at Wrotham, about 20 miles south-east of London, and that, after some five years of development, the Wrotham station was officially opened on May 2nd last, as the first step in the B.B.C.'s scheme for v.h.f. coverage of Britain. Mr. Kirke was a Fellow of the British Institution of Radio Engineers, the Physical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.

He became an associate member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1935, and a member in 1939. He served as chairman of the Institution's Radio Section in 1944 45, and he was a member of the Council of the Institution from 1947 until his retirement in 1950. Mr. Kirke received the honour of C.B.E in 1947.

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