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Converting H2S for use in Coastal Command aircraft


The mass production and success of H2S
Bernard Lovell Astronomer
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The H2S was manufactured, mass production, was fitted in every bomber coming off the production line and I think was... was successful in that it did enable the bombers to find their target, but I think as far as the navigators and pilots were concerned, they renamed it Home Sweet Home, because it turned out to be a wonderful device for enabling them to return home safely. I met in my old age a few people older than myself who wanted to give thanks for saving their lives. There was one case where a person had been shot up over Berlin and had struggled back to England on one of two engines, and found themselves all their navigation equipment had been destroyed except miraculously the H2S, and the navigator suddenly shouted, 'Hard to starboard', and they were about to go over the most heavily defended of the Dutch coast. And they reckon that certainly saved their lives through being able to get away from it, because of the H2S, so there were two or three questions like that, that... we had a lot of criticism during the war, but recently people have been more kind about it.

Bernard Lovell (1913-2012), British radio astronomer and founder of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, received an OBE in 1946 for his work on radar, and was knighted in 1961 for his contribution to the development of radio astronomy. He obtained a PhD in 1936 at the University of Bristol. His steerable radio telescope, which tracked Sputnik across the sky, is now named the Lovell telescope.

Listeners: Megan Argo Alastair Gunn

Megan Argo is an astronomer at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory researching supernovae and star formation in nearby starburst galaxies. As well as research, she is involved with events in the Observatory's Visitor Centre explaining both astronomy and the history of the Observatory to the public.

Alastair Gunn is an astrophysicist at Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester. He is responsible for the coordination and execution of international radio astronomical observations at the institute and his professional research concerns the extended atmospheres of highly active binary stars. Alastair has a deep interest and knowledge of the history of radio astronomy in general and of Jodrell Bank in particular. He has written extensively about Jodrell Bank's history.

Tags: Berlin, England

Duration: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2007

Date story went live: 05 September 2008