Department Electra House - Potsgrove Radio Station

For the layout and operation of Potsgrove, this was virtually identical to that at Gawcott. As at Gawcott, each day each station had an SCU1 man in charge with the rank of WO2 2nd class. Norman Bowden, assisted by Staff Sergeant Cox, was the engineer in charge and amongst the personnel were included Jack Morton, Percy Jones and Jack O'Connor. They variously came from SCU1, the G.P.O. and the R.O.C. whilst from the R.A.F. Bert Weatherhead had owned a radio retail shop in Bletchley. After the war he would expand the business into many surrounding towns. The two transmitters at Potsgrove were known as Poppy and
Radio operators console
Pansy. Pansy had only one turntable whilst for Poppy, in December, 1941, Mrs. Stewart Roberts, of the administration department, was busy finding accommodation for extra engineers, some of whom were American, eventually destined for Aspidistra. By early 1942 Pansy still lacked an emergency diesel engine, making it vulnerable to break down & indeed tragedy struck on March 5th., when the Potsgrove transmitter blew up and the F1 programme had to be dropped. With repairs made, in May a multi wave change facility was then fitted to Poppy, to counter enemy jamming. As for Pansy, efforts to secure an extra turntable were being made but contrary to Harold Robins understanding, one was not available locally and would have to come from the States. To avoid this delay, Robin then arranged to have the turntable removed from the London Recording Unit. Other, less expected problems were also occasionally encountered such as an instance in March, 1943, when Poppy and Pansy were surrounded by Army manouevres, including a Czech unit. The transmitter signals would have overwhelmed the Army receivers and so most of the programmes were held over until the next day, when the troops moved off. On May, 31st., 1943, Robin agreed to erect new 90 degree dipoles at Potsgrove, for 9 and 6 megs. and in time Soldaten Sender Calais would be relayed from Poppy. Captured by the Eighth Army in North Africa, at Potsgrove a mobile transmitter and audio studio was prepared for use when the second front opened, for operation by S.H.A.E.F. It would be installed in four large British Army trucks, one each for the transmitter, audio studio, diesel generator and crew living quarters. A trailer accommodated the antenna. When complete the whole set up worked well but it was never used for the original purpose because of new changes in technology.
Click here to see a video interview of Mr. Phil Luck recalling his wartime experiences at Potsgrove.
Transmission hall for 'Pansy', a view towards workshop area
Transmission hall for the 'Pansy' transmitter
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