MVA Newsletter 2018 – edition number 20

Micheal Stears

From Caroline Barnes, 9 January 2018

An appreciation of the life of Michael Stears by a former Marconi colleague, Peter Bickers, which was included in the vicar’s address at Michael’s funeral in All Saints Church, Feering, on Friday 12th January.

Michael was a ‘serious, intellectual and innovative engineer who would always deliver on a job’. In the 1960s, Michael worked for Plessey and, not satisfied with just doing his ‘day job’, he wrote a paper on a novel form of wireless communication technology which was eventually adopted by the company, designed into their products and put into production by Michael and his colleagues. The performance of the equipment was at least a decade ahead of its time. Eventually it was deployed on all British Royal Navy ships and submarines and sold across the world to the Chinese, Dutch, Americans, Malaysians and other navies.

He also worked on highly sensitive projects for GCHQ in Cheltenham, although the work wasn’t always so highly technical. On one occasion, his team had to nail half an acre of aluminium sheet down on a runway, in an effort to improve a test site for the customer.

Later in his career he joined Marconi’s and became Senior Project Manager for Defence Communication contracts. One of the largest was the Command and Communication System for the Malaysian Armed forces, which required considerable travel and time in Malaysia over several years.