Jimmy Leadbitter

jimmy_leadbitteraWe regret to report the death of Jimmy Leadbitter on 14 November.

The funeral will be at Chelmsford Crematorium on 2 December at 12.30.

Jimmy was born in 1925 in Whitburn, County Durham but moved South to work for the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company (MWT) at its New Street factory early in 1942. He worked in the Marine Test department, was subsequently transferred to Marconi Marine’s installation planning department and was the Installations Manager in 1963 when the Company moved from New Street to its headquarters in the newly-built Elettra House on Westway, Chelmsford, where he remained until his retirement in 1990. That period covered the introduction of Single Sideband radio telephony and radio telex in maritime communications (Apollo, Pennant receivers; Crusader, Commander, Commandant and Conqueror transmitter equipments), several new ranges of radar equipment, the transition from valve to solid-state technology and the maritime world’s adoption of satellite technology for communications and navigation.

His department was responsible for the planning, logistics and fitting of radio rooms and radio navigational aids on ships in shipyards and ports world-wide, overseeing MIMCo technicians on long-term assignment in shipyards in the Far East and South America as well as those working from the Company’s many offices in the UK and elsewhere. Overseas agents involved in the installation of MIMCo products were supported and directed from his office. They were also deeply involved in the planning and execution of Company display stands at shipping exhibitions around the world, behind the Iron Curtain as well as in the West, including those formerly held each year at the beginning of January at the London Boat Show at Earls Court – not a good recipe for a peaceful Christmas for those involved.

He joined the MVA Committee in 1988 and was President in 1989.  He was very knowledgeable in all things to do with Marconi Marine and was almost always able to answer a query from memory.  He remained an active member of the MVA committee until earlier this year, the picture above was taken at the reunion in April 2016.