Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

Derek Griess G2GN - Silent Key
13-May-1913  -  1-Jun-2006 , Age 93

Eugene Derek Griess was born in Sheffield on 13th May 1913. He was studied electrical engineering at Sheffield University and was awarded a BSc in 1934. He was an active radio amateur in Sheffield and held the callsign G2GN from c1936. He gave a talk on antennas at the Sheffield RSGB group in 1936. This callsign had previously been used by an experimental station aboard the SS Olympic by the White Star Line.

Derek joined the Marconi Wireless Telegraphy Company in 1936 and moved to Chelmsford. He spent 6 months training at Marconi College, and after a period of attachments in Receiver Test, was appointed an Installation Engineer in 1937.

He was a member of the Chelmsford RSGB group in the 1930s regularly attending meetings. He was active on 1.7 Mc/s with a homebrew rig and he entered some contests. He was also on 14 Mc/s with a CO-FD-PA rig. He applied for a 25W permit in 1938. He was awarded a PhD in electrical and electronic engineering from Sheffield University in 1938.

During WW2 the Marconi Company was involved in installing HF Direction Finding stations around the Atlantic in British colonial countries which bordered the whole Atlantic coast. Derek was the young radio engineer (age 26) chosen for this urgent mission in May 1940. During the next five years he travelled constantly to many places around the North and South Atlantic coast from Halifax Nova Scotia and the West Indies and British Guiana in South America, across to Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast of Africa and even St Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The system played a major role in protecting Allied shipping in the Atlantic.

After the war, he remained with the Installation Department, becoming Installation Field Manager and travelled extensively, and worked on major projects such as the Sutton Coldfield TV transmitter in 1950, TV transmitters for ABC and Channel 7 in Australia in 1956, and transmitters at the HF broadcast station at Ejura in Ghana in 1965.

He kept his amateur radio licence which was registered to his address in Shrublands Close in Chelmsford until at least 1969 but little is known about his activity.

In the latter year of his career he worked for the Customer Services Department. He retired in December 1979 after over 43 years' service. Mr Tom Mayer, Managing Director, Marconi Communcation Systems Ltd (MCSL) presented him with retirement gifts on behalf of his many friends and colleagues in the company.

He died in Chelmsford on 1st June 2006.

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