MVA Newsletter 2018 – edition number 20

“Not much of an engineer”

Ted Pegram – 1940 – 2017

Ted Pegram wrote an autobiographical note for his son “Not much of an engineer” (apologies to Sir Stanley Hooker of Rolls- Royce, whose book had the same title). Far too long to include in the newsletter it can be found at: http://marconiradarhistory.pbworks.com/w/page/118791537

Ted Pegram was a Baddow engineer, Chelmsford born and bred, whose entire working life was spent with Marconi’s after his father Bernard (Bert) Pegram, also a Marconi man, secured him an interview with the company in 1956 which resulted in a craft apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship completed in 1961 he joined the Research Centre Laboratories at Great Baddow and pursued a rewarding career as an engineer. He was involved initially in one of the first applications of real-time electronic display of alpha-numeric data newly employed in two control centres for the Royal Swedish Air Force, followed by the further application of these techniques in the early implementation of plant instrumentation, applications which included the Scottish Air Traffic Control Sector.

A Radar Division order for the Fight Plan Processing System at the London Air Traffic Control Centre at West Drayton used a modified version of Ted’s equipment to electronically display to the controllers Flight Progress Strips that had previously been done on cardboard strips.

Then a position as section leader in the Systems Department of Marconi Radar Systems followed, working on two major radar systems comprising static and mobile long range radars and nodding height finders, together with mobile Control and Reporting Posts and Sector Operations Centres.
In the early 80s Ted was appointed Project Engineer for a Marconi Radar contract to design and build an experimental High Frequency Over-the Horizon Radar (HF-OTHR), then from 1989 he led the Analogue Techniques Section of the Radar Research Laboratory at the Marconi Research Centre, his last posting. Its final major equipment design and build was another experimental HF-OTHR,

His last work for the Research Centre was a curiosity – the study of special aerials to be fitted to the AWACS airborne radar aircraft: a one-fifteenth scale model of the aircraft was required to test in the anechoic chamber at the Research Centre.  He built this model in the garage of his home in Wickham Bishops with the help of workshop superintendent Mel Willis, (Ted’s hobby skills must have been invaluable, the construction of a number of stringed instruments, violin, lute, and, hurdy-gurdy, see above.