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Short Message from Paul Smith's Daughters

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:26 pm
by Steven Cole
Message received via Mike Brain

From: Margaret and Alison
"Dad very much enjoyed his retirement in Herefordshire. As well as pursuing his various hobbies, he continued as a volunteer repairing Talking Books for the Blind machines until he was unable to manage delicate electrical work. He was also able to indulge his interest in woodland and was a volunteer ranger at nearby Queens Wood. From arriving in Herefordshire until very recently he maintained daily rainfall records at the house.

About five or six years ago, when Mum began to need more support, he cared for her with tremendous love and devotion at home until she passed away in 2008.

In the last 18 months he was rather frail and missed Mum terribly but really enjoyed spending time with his great grandsons."

Funeral Details

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:47 pm
by Steven Cole
From: Mike Brain

Paul's funeral will take place on Thursday 28th January 2010, the itinerary is as follows:

13:00hrs - Church (thought to be St.Mary the Virgin)
Hope under Dinmore

14:15hrs - Hereford Crematorium

For further information, please contact the funeral directors (Bayles) on 01432-272465


Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:28 am
by Steven Cole

Paul (P.P.H.) Smith was born in Kent in 1921, and commenced a technical career in radio. During the war, one of his assignments was to Sierra Leone in West Africa where he was responsible for the maintenance/calibration of a roomful of HRO communication receivers used by the ?Y? service operators to detect the German signals and to pass them back to Bletchley Park for decoding.

After the war, he joined ASWE (Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment) at Portsdown where he was responsible for various naval projects, including the requirement for a new HF receiver which was contracted to a new company called Racal!

Racal became into being when two gentlemen by the names of Ray Brown and Jock Calder Cunningham got together to form a company to make HF communications equipment. They both left Plessey in 1950 and setup Racal with a stake of ?50 each. They used their first names to "christen" their company RAyCALder and initially run the company from Ray Browns flat in London.

Although ASWE had placed the contract on Racal, the company had a slight problem in that they had no receiver to offer!! The company were then put in touch with Trevor Wadley, a South African, who had developed the "Wadley Loop" system. A demonstration was made of the "Wadley" receiver to ASWE who were suitably impressed, and, providing that Racal could make the sets for ?300 each, then an order for several hundred radios was assured.

Development of the RA17 receiver commenced at Bracknell in 1954, although there were quite a few problems with spurious responses in the prototype models, and Paul once recounted the story when the ASWE team suggested band sawing one of the sets in half to reduce the circulating currents, which solved the problem. In production models the 1st and 2nd VFO's are in separate units, and although they are bolted side by side on the main chassis. The prototype radio with the band saw marks, used to be in Racal?s reception area at their Bracknell HQ, and Paul was very proud of his involvement with this famous radio.

Paul was at one time seconded from ASWE to Mauritius where he was the officer-in-charge, responsible for setting up a new HF radio station. He experienced great difficulties in availability of required system parts as they had to be shipped out from the UK, and of the provision of trained installation effort much of which was local labourers. However, he persisted and I understand that the HF station was successfully commissioned and he was able to return with his family to the UK.

Paul later left ASWE and transferred to an MoD post in Smith Square, London SW1, from where he subsequently transferred to the Home Office Directorate of Telecommunications in Rochester Row in the early 1970?s to join Neville Morley in setting up the new Forward Planning Section. This section was later re-named Research & Development Section where Paul?s previous experience of crypto systems, and his many contacts in industry and other Government departments, were to prove invaluable as the Directorate initiated development of ?encrypted? radios for the Police service.

The Police, and in particular the Regional Crime Squad, was experiencing significant illicit monitoring of their radio channels, as the new ?scanners? were appearing on the commercial market. Paul used his contacts at GCHQ/CESG (then based at Eastcote before they moved to Cheltenham) to provide Army type ?scramblers? interfaced to Pye Vanguard radios for Police trials. Subsequently, Racal was invited to develop and manufacture an ?add-on? Time Element Scrambler specifically for RCS use, and this protected their communications until the Racal Cougar was brought into use.

Paul was involved in Talking Books for the Blind and whilst living in Portsmouth, had maintained many items of playback equipment in people?s homes. Having commuted from Portsmouth to London for many years, Paul retired from the Home Office in 1981, and moved to Herefordshire where he was able to spend time with his wife and his hobbies ? including wood turning, gardening and photography. His wisdom and experience was much valued, and he will be much missed.

Mike Phillips
21st January 2010

Sympathy Card

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:53 am
by Steven Cole
If you want to send a sympathy card to Paul's family, please use the feedback form or email me a request for the postal address.


Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:34 pm
by Steven Cole
From: Mike Brain

I'm sorry to announce the recent death of Paul Smith, who was circa 88 years old and had been in a care home in Leominster for some time. He is survived by his two daughters. No other details are known at this stage.

Paul was based in the R&D Section at Headquarters and some of his work was published in the following Intercom magazines:

Planning Communications For Central Computers (Intercom Journal January 1972 Page 12)
Does Your Communication System Give Value For Money? (Intercom Journal June 1972 Page 20)
Computers and Fire Brigade Communications (Intercom Journal March 1973 Page 16)
Message Switching (Intercom January 1975 Page 5)
Portable Teleprinter Terminal (Intercom January 1975 Page 12)